SnowRunner | game review
Exactly what it thinks it is - no more, no less
Game summary: Equipped with over 40 of the biggest, baddest vehicles around, it’s up to you to overcome the unforgiving elements in 12 huge maps across three regions – Michigan and Alaska in the U.S., and Taymyr in Russia. (Xbox.com)
SnowRunner is a game that seems perfectly suited for Game Pass (how I played it) or, if you're on PC, taking advantage of the two-hour 'window' on Steam to try it out and get it refunded if it's not your thing. The reason I say that is because even the game acknowledges that you've pretty much experienced the totality of the game play after the introductory area.
I'm not joking either. After carrying out a few tasks, a message comes up to pretty much spell out that you've been through the game play that exists and what lies ahead are more variations on a theme rather than anything new and exciting. It's a bit double-edged sword really - on the one hand, I respect the developers for admitting that so early on, but it does also act as somewhat of a disincentive to continue.
It's not that I hadn't enjoyed my time with SnowRunner either, but more that what I had experienced hadn't been enough to wow me and keep me playing. I did try out a snowy area to see what it was like and realised that the game was right, so pretty much gave up then and there - this game sets out to do one thing and does it well enough that people who enjoy it will get countless hours of fun from the game.
A slight side note: I didn't grab any pictures from the snowy area I went to because I thought I would just start the game up and grab a couple closer to the time of writing this post. Unfortunately, there was an update that required basically downloading the entire game again, which I didn't really want to do just to grab a few screenshots as review image possibilities. I don't know if all updates for the game require downloading the entire thing again, but I really hope not.
As for the game itself, it does look pretty good, but like the rest of the game, there's nothing particularly special about its looks. That really does carry over to every part of the game, including the controls, which work perfectly fine - any issues with your traversal will feel like your fault and not the game dicking you over - but it's very much a case of getting the job done to a satisfactory level and nothing more.
I really don't want to sound unenthusiastic about SnowRunner, as I didn't have any issues with the game itself at all while playing it, but it does feel like a very niche title for those who would seek out this kind of terrain-battling driving game in the first place. I would definitely recommend taking a try-before-you-buy approach, because you'll know whether or not you like the game by the time the tutorial tasks are over.
SnowRunner is perhaps the greatest gaming example I know of being exactly what you think it is - nothing more, nothing less. There's not really enough here to entice those mildly curious to keep playing, but it lets you know up-front exactly what you're in for, so you can't really complain if you do stick with it - if you enjoy the opening area, you'll most likely enjoy the rest of the game too.