Slugging through the mud in SpinTires

I finally set aside the time and went on a 4-wheeling adventure in SpinTires and I have to say it was extremely difficult, very slow going, wrought with danger and I didn’t complete a single objective. However, the time spent was very enjoyable and full of unpredictable moments that made me laugh and shake my fists in the air.

First off, what is SpinTires? It’s basically an off-road adventure of orienteering and logging. The goal is to retrieve a load of lumber from Point A and drive it to Point B. Sounds pretty simple except that Point B is at the end of a windy, muddy track and the correct route may not even be visible on the map until you do some scouting in one of the other vehicles. If the idea of crawling through the mud or traversing impossible terrain doesn’t sound like fun, then SpinTires is not the game for you.

The first goal is to remove the "cloaking" that covers most of the map in darkness. I started off in the little Jeep you’re supplied with on the first map. I jumped in and went for a glorious ride, bouncing along the road when it was dry and creeping my way through the thick mud. It took me a few minutes and a few tries to figure it out, but I got the hang of the winch and used it dozens of times to pull myself out.

Finding these "cloaking tornadoes" was a hell of a lot harder than I expected. In order to reveal them, you actually have to drive inside one and considering some of the terrain they lurk in, it’s a harder task than it seems. I damaged my truck on the big rocks and got insanely stuck in grass that turned out to be quicksand. Not to mention I got stuck on down tree trunks and flipped the damn thing over multiple times because the high side of the road was dry, yet the low side was mud. Curse you center of gravity!

I did manage to get a couple of these cleared away, but I spent more time going down the wrong path than I would care to admit. I swear, that trail looked like it went somewhere!

Overall, I managed to flip the truck over a dozen times and even tipped the logging truck over wherein I dumped the entire load I was carrying. I also managed to drown both sets of vehicles more than once and had to play International Rescue to retrieve the vehicles I abandoned.

I’ve only played a few hours so far, but here are my impressions.

The graphics and vehicle detail are great! You really get the sense you’re out in the back woods with the early morning fog, the chirp of the birds, the knock of the woodpecker and the rush of the river. If you want to go 4-wheeling, but don’t want the hassle and expense of wrecking a real truck, this will be a fun adventure.

There is a lot of unexpected twists and turns and finding the right spot to ford the river can be a challenge. I thought I found the perfect spot where it was only a foot deep with calm water. Jokes on me! Turns out it was several feet deep, consumed my truck to the roof while the current grabbed me and drug me along. My truck took on water damage which ruined the engine and shut off the winch. Curse the bad luck at being stuck in the middle of the river with no way to escape.

While I think the game is quite entertaining and enjoyed the exploration and unexpected paths I took, this game clearly isn’t for everyone. It’s slow going and you need a lot of patience to stick with it – some times there’s just too much damn mud. If offroading isn’t your thing, this game won’t appeal.

You will quickly find there is very little to do except gather up logs. That is truly the objective – park the truck correctly and get the logs loaded. If you want a more hands on approach, you can operate the grappler and load the logs yourself.

The game comes with a rather high price tag too, which is unfortunate because of the niche appeal. This game would be well placed as a $15 title so wait for a sale if you didn’t get it in the latest Steam sale.

Based on the comments and some other feedback, there seems to be some stress between community, developer and publisher. This game got quite a bit of support on Kickstarter with the promise of lots of features and full modding support. I saw the mods in action during the "Tech Demo" and they were a lot of fun to mess with and easy to install. But that modding ability hasn’t quite worked it’s way into the final game and there is quite a bit of back and forth about it. Based on a couple of comment, there might be only one dev at the helm.

SpinTires is a fun playground, but it’s a bit lean on content. Picking up and dropping off logs will only entertain you for so long. If the devs add more challenges, get the mod support worked out, add more maps or offer tools for community generated maps, this game will have a lot of replay value.

Bonus feature – no gymkhana

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Oh damn, I’ve made a slight miscalculation in my driving abilities with a load full of logs

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No need to panic, I have this well in hand

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Ok fine, so you had to come pull me out, did you have to bring such a conspicuous truck?

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Ah back at the garage for a couple of quick repairs and some fish removal

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We’re all packed up in the SpinTires family truckster

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Huzzah! We found the beach!

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It was not my fault that I got hung up on the tree and plunged into the river.

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