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Review: MudRunner VR

Until MudRunner in VR my only experience with the franchise was with SnowRunner, which I did enjoy playing and gave me some idea what to expect in MudRunner. I had now been working through treacherous conditions, but did it translate to VR well?

Release Date: May 30th 2024
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Saber Interactive
Price: £14.99
Reviewed On: Meta Quest 3
* Access Provided For Review *

Planning and Precision

The game will see you driving multiple all-terrain vehicles, as each job along your way comes a little more difficult due to the conditions of the muddy roads – and they really do get treacherous. The jobs you will be facing is a good mix of transporting cargo, surveying areas and rescuing broken down and stuck vehicles.

Of course the game is going for realism with it being a simulation game, meaning you are going to have to have to take into account things like the weight, positioning and size of vehicle before even taking the terrain into account. Making you have to take every move and turn on your journey not only perfectly but well planned. With the way its been designed, it really does give the sense of achievement when completing each job perfectly but, also brings the frustrations when mistakes are made – which shows how well every aspect of the port has been made for virtual reality.

With this being in VR your only point of view is first person and when driving you will be getting the view from inside the vehicle, which is what you would expect from the medium. This means you will be utilising your wing mirrors when trying to make those precise turns especially when towing other vehicles behind you. This also allows the team to make everything inside the vehicle manual from starting it up, putting on the handbrake, flicking switches to activate things and changing gears – which is perfect for the immersion of the game.

Where everything on the vehicle side is very immersive, this is then broken when doing the tasks outside of the driving. Which will see you refueling, opening gates, attaching winches and some traversal of the terrain, however, this all do with teleportation to set points of interest. With how well everything in managed on the driving side I think the lack of smooth locomotion stands out more than ever – I really feel like this should have been an option the team included.

One thing you need to be aware of is there is quite the steep learning curve when it comes to MudRunner, and as you start playing it expect to make a lot errors and have early frustrations. Although I would recommend giving it time, as aforementioned the sense of achievement when it all starts come together is fantastic – and it feels like a different game to the one your first impressions might give you.

It Gets Treacherous

My first impression from the trailer for MudRunner, I was very concerned as it all looked sparse and flat to me. However, when inside of the HMD it does look a lot nicer than it did on the trailer, although I still feel it is lacking in places when it comes to texture detail. What did impress me is how well the terrain gets ripped up and when getting out your vehicle to check out the mess you are in, taking a look at the terrain never fails to impress.

The team at Saber Interactive have done what they needed to when it comes to audio. Giving you environmental sounds when outside of the vehicles, and the sound of the engines, warning sounds and music while in the vehicles. With the engine noises suiting the current push to get through the type of terrain, keeping you fully immersed in the well designed driving mechanics and simulation.


The Verdict

MudRunner has made a successful port over to Virtual Reality, bringing with it the step learning curve that the flatscreen version is known for. When you start playing you have to expect a number of failures and frustrations as you get used to how it all works and when each feature of the all-terrain vehicles are best used. At first I was struggling with the game and sometimes letting the aforementioned frustrations get the best of me but, as soon as I got used to what to activate and when it did start to feel very rewarding – so it’s certainly one worth giving time to before deciding its not for you. The way the terrain rips up and the mess you can get yourself into is very impressive for the mobile chip being used, however, I did find at points when getting stuck and tearing up the terrain there was some performance slow down on the Quest 3. Even with its few issues, the MudRunner series is a welcomed addition to Virtual Reality, and a perfect option for someone looking for a simulation fix which is different to anything else on the platform.