SPINTIRES™
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Spintires doesn’t offer a compelling story or over the top action, but if you can appreciate a challenging game with a slower pace you will have fun. Navigating muddy terrain using enormous trucks is certainly an unique experience and while there is only one objective the true joy comes simply from playing with big trucks in the realistic mud.

Gameplay: Slow paced and intense, but very enjoyable and satisfying.

Graphics: Large maps and very detailed vehicles.

Sound: Very peaceful

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SPINTIRES™

Developer: Oovee® Game Studios | Publisher: Oovee® Game Studios / IMGN.PRO | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Adventure / Racing / Simulation | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Large, heavy trucks and soft muddy ground are usually a recipe for disaster, but somehow the developers, Oovee Game Studio turned this recipe into a very successful Kickstarter project. I am very glad that they did too as messing around with all-terrain Soviet vehicles turned out to be a lot more entertaining than what I ever imagined.

Spintires gives offers you five maps to choose from and then allows you to get on with the fun. Each map is themed around a certain area, such as the coast, hills, plains, river or volcano and is quite sizeable. You are given an initial selection of vehicles which are you free to switch between and a map that displays the location of the nearest lumber yard. The goal is to drive to the lumber yard, load up your vehicle with wood and then deliver your cargo to an objective point. Initially the other areas on the map are “cloaked” and you have to drive your vehicle to certain marked spots to uncloak everything. Doing so is highly recommended as it allows you to better plan your routes. While exploring each level and uncloaking the map you might also encounter other vehicles which are unlocked as you drive close to them. You’ll have to earn them though, as usually they are damaged or out of fuel requiring you to get to them with one of your refueling trucks or tow them to a garage before making use of them.

While delivering lumber might sound like a simple or even boring objective the copious amounts of mud on each level ensures that there are few dull moments. Just reaching a lumber yard without running out of fuel, getting stuck in mud, stalling your engine in a body of water or rolling the vehicle is already an impressive feat never mind hauling your cargo across the treacherous terrain. If you play in “Casual” mode you can still rescue a vehicle to the nearest garage if things go pear shaped, but in “Hardcore” if a vehicle becomes stuck you have to go rescue it with one of your other trucks. All vehicles come equipped with a winch which is essential for navigating the rough terrain or towing broken down trucks back to a garage. If you opt for “Hardcore” mode you’ll find that fuel consumption is also higher which forces you to find fueling stations or upgrade vehicles with extra fuel storage capacity.

The terrain in Spintires is really unforgiving and blindly driving your truck into a patch of mud can spell disaster. Vehicles can get damaged by the terrain, but most of your troubles come from the thick mud which is everywhere. The game features real-time deformable terrain so as you get stuck in mud and spin your tires deep grooves will form. Even if you manage to winch yourself out or get back on solid ground these grooves will remain and make return trips or navigation with smaller vehicles that much harder. After playing on a stage for a few hours there is usually little terrain left that doesn’t look like quicksand.

Due to the size of the trucks and the perilous terrain your progress will typically be quite slow. The slower pace might not appeal to people that want to indulge in off-road driving where they can race around at breakneck speeds, but it does make for a very intense experience. During my first few hours with the game I got stuck or rolled my vehicle at almost every turn, but despite some initial frustration, it was always entertaining to figure out how to get myself out of each mess. I’ve encounter patches of road so bad that I literally had to winch my truck from tree to tree just to get through, but once I became familiar with using the differential lock and all wheel drive things started to look up. Progress in Spintires requires hard work and planning, but it also means that emerging victorious is that much more satisfying. You are going to have to make full use of the ability to swap between vehicles on the fly as some serve better as scouts while others can be used for support roles such as refueling or rescuing. The game also features a multi-player mode where you can team up with three other friends online and help each other out on the large maps.

Spintires is not a very colorful game, but the muted color palette matches the setting and vehicles. Each of the trucks on offer is intricately modeled and the third person camera allows you to see every bit of detail. There is no cockpit view and the camera can be a bit fiddly to operate, but this is something that you learn to cope with while playing. There’s not much more to the maps than mud and trees, but overall the visuals are good and the terrain deformation very impressive. There have been games that feature some impressive mud before, but never like this. The game also has a day and night cycle, so if you think that getting stuck in the mud in broad daylight is bad, wait until the sun goes down and visibility drops down to almost zero!

The audio consists of the sounds your vehicle makes as well as some ambient background noises. It all sounds very peaceful and the lack of soundtrack gives the game a very calm atmosphere. If you really have to have music while playing you can always use an online radio station or play your own songs, but personally I found that the lack of soundtrack enhanced the atmosphere. The controls can be as simple or complicated as you want them to be, so if you want to change gears manually using a mouse you can do so. Personally, I played the game using an Xbox 360 controller, which worked quite well, although I did resort to the mouse for some of the trickier winching operations.

Spintires is very enjoyable, but it can also be an exhausting game to play. There were times where I literally had to abandon a map after hours of playing because the terrain was too churned up to make any more progress. Lumberyards with multiple overturned vehicles and logs scattered everywhere also turned out to be a common sight in my games. Despite all the frustration and setbacks I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun playing the game though. The camera can do with some adjustment and I would have liked to see progress on a map retained if you start a new map, but overall there is not much that I can fault here.

This is obviously not a game that is going to appeal to everyone as it doesn’t offer the thrill a minute gameplay experiences people might be used to, but it also turned out to be surprisingly fun for such a niche title. The openworld gameplay and great selection of vehicles means that even if you never manage to get a single load of lumber to your objective you can still have lots of fun trying. This is the type of game where you can ask different people who played the same map with the same vehicles and hear different stories about what they did and what happened to them.  Spintires is also a game that can benefit a lot from new content as all the basic elements are already in place, so it is definitely a title to keep your eye on.

*Review originally published June 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Window 8
  • Processor: Intel® Pentium Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c Compatible
  • Additional Notes: Game is compatible with: Gamepad Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. Confirmed Steering Wheel support for Logitech G25/G27 – Other models have not been tested; This game is 32-bit application
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Window 8
  • Processor: Intel® Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c Compatible
  • Additional Notes: Game is compatible with: Gamepad Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. Confirmed Steering Wheel support for Logitech G25/G27 – Other models have not been tested; This game is 32-bit application

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