Spin­tires

Spin­tires is the Soviet truck simulator of your wildest dreams.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - By Andy Kelly

Have you ever dreamed of driv­ing an old truck through the Rus­sian wilder­ness? Then dream no more: Spin­tires is here. It could only ex­ist on PC: a simulator so niche it makes Mu­nich Bus Simulator look main­stream.

You guide Soviet off-road ve­hi­cles across large stretches of un­for­giv­ing countryside. It’s a gru­el­ing bat­tle against the el­e­ments, nav­i­gat­ing your lump of rusty metal across rick­ety wooden bridges, dense forests and swollen rivers.

But the real star of the game is the mud. It is, with­out a doubt, the best sludge in games. Your tires dig into it, and it de­forms re­al­is­ti­cally. The heav­ier your ve­hi­cle, the more it sinks, and the more likely you are to get stuck. It’s a game of feet, not miles—of drag­ging your bouncy flatbed through just one more ex­haust­ing mire of mud and rocks to reach the safety of a garage.

Even­tu­ally, you will get stuck, and that’s where ve­hi­cle-switch­ing comes in. Sim­ple ob­jec­tives ex­ist, such as pick­ing up and de­liv­er­ing lum­ber, but the jour­ney is where the real chal­lenge lies, and you’ll need some help to heave your over­sized load across the un­com­pro­mis­ing land­scape. Af­ter ac­ci­den­tally bury­ing my lum­ber truck in a thick slurry, I pulled up the map, switched to a nearby truck with a winch and yanked my­self out. So to speak.

Your garage is filled with ve­hi­cles to plow through the mud in, in­clud­ing nim­ble Jeeps that can weave be­tween trees, un­cov­er­ing the ‘fog of war’ that ini­tially ob­scures the map to re­veal wider roads and trails for your big haulers to squeeze through. There are trucks with ar­tic­u­lated trail­ers, and big chunky ones that look like they’ve been rust­ing in the Ch­er­nobyl ex­clu­sion zone for the last 30 years.

The ve­hi­cles feel gen­uinely heavy and un­wieldy. The physics is ex­cel­lent, cre­at­ing a nice dis­tinc­tion be­tween the big rigs and the smaller trucks. You’ll hear your en­gine heave and groan, its ex­hausts belch­ing black smoke as it strug­gles to es­cape the sticky gunk. Rocks are kicked into the air by your tires, saplings bend when you rum­ble over them, and wa­ter froths as you ford rivers and carve through pud­dles.

But as amaz­ing as the physics and de­formable mud are, that’s all the game has go­ing for it. The mis­sions are unin­spir­ing. How long you’ll stick with this de­pends on how com­pelling you find those muddy, pon­der­ous drives be­tween ob­jec­tive mark­ers. It’s an achingly slow, fid­dly game, and needs a lot of pa­tience.

Still, en­durance is what Spin­tires is all about, and there’s a lot of sat­is­fac­tion to be had in best­ing the bru­tal Rus­sian ter­rain in your hardy lit­tle Soviet truck. But only af­ter a lot of rolling over, get­ting lodged in soggy riverbeds, and run­ning out of fuel in the mid­dle of nowhere. I love that games like this ex­ist. It’s why I love PC gam­ing. But as en­dear­ingly bizarre as I find Spin­tires, I can’t say I re­ally ever en­joyed it.

Ac­ti­vate your dif­fer­en­tial lock to power through thick mud.

A beau­ti­ful sun­set shin­ing on some beau­ti­ful mud.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be able to winch my­self out of this one.

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