Spintires is the Soviet truck simulator of your wildest dreams.
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.