I’ve always enjoyed driving games. Up until about a year ago, those driving games where focused on fast cars and racing. Sometime mixed with some exploration, such as the open world game Forza Horizon. However, since April thats all changed. I’ve spent most of my time playing Snowrunner… an off road truck driving, exploration and haulage simulator.
Snowrunner is the successor to “MudRunner”. MudRunner was a levels based driving game. Your explore each level to find a source of timber, then drive trucks around to deliver the timer to timber mills. It had about a dozen maps and each map would maybe have 5-10 deliveries. It was always timber and the trucks where pre-designed.
SnowRunner took the basic concept and expanded on it. Rather than isolated maps, maps where joined together into regions. The game shipped with three regions (Michigan, Alaska, Tamara) and since then two more regions (kola & Yukon) have been added. Each region covers a massive surface area. It’s possible to spend weeks exploring the maps to find all of the different areas.
SnowRunner also expanded on the types of cargo and types of truck. Rather than delivering timber, you could now deliver pipes, bricks, wire, and metal beams among much else. Across the maps where dozens of missions each with a specific requirement to deliver a specific cargo to a specific place.
In essence, the game could be described as muddy postman pat. It seems to suit my autistic brain perfectly.
SnowRunner is generally pretty straight forward. Trucks travel slowly and favour gentle careful driving rather than anything very quick. The gameplay is pretty relaxing. There are technical bits, but for the most part you follow roads and muddy tracks and complete small tasks. There’s a nice element of logistics and planning. Working out how to complete each mission and what order to do things in.
It’s wonderful. It seems to be the perfect size task, it’s neither boring nor exciting. It keeps my brain busy, which oddly gives me time to think about and process everything else. I often drive along listening to podcasts or audiobooks.
2020 has been a challenging year and there is a lot going on in the world. Having a safe, interesting fantasy land to delve into has done my mental health the world of good. I can vanish online and spend a few hours doing simple task and progressing towards some goals.
While the gameplay is easy, there are times when completing a mission may require a lot of planning or problem solving. Other missions are very straight forward, but involve hours of driving or pre-planning. For example, in one mission i had to drive a large fuel hungry truck across three map tiles without any fuel stops. I achieved it by driving several smaller trucks and fuel trailer out along the route. In effect, i added my own fuel stations and fuel delivery infrastructure.