Sunday, 22 June 2014

Raucous Reviews: Spin Tires!

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In Soviet Russia, truck DOESN'T drive you!

If there's ever been a more muddy, dirty game than Spintires, then I'm the Vice President of American Samoa. There's so much mud, dirt and muddy dirt in Spintires, ready to be chewed up by your fat tires, but also ready to make your journey a long and hard one. In Spintires, your objective may seem simple, collecting logs and delivering them to the designated area, but there's a huge amount of variables you need to combat in order to get there, including fuel, cargo damage and, of course, the brown stuff.

All those variables add up to a challenging game, to say the least, as I found myself stuck in mud on the first mile of most tracks, but that's probably because I've never played a full-fat driving simulator like this. With every truck you drive, you can customize it's tires and what supplies it carries, plus you can turn on and off advanced functions like Locked Differential and All-Wheel Drive to help you navigate the muddy Russian woods. In every level you can also choose between different trucks, so if you want a huge beast of a cab or just a nippy little jeep, Spintires has got you covered. This is definitely a game for the driving purists, and casual gamers used to arcade drivers like Burnout and Ridge Racer will be thrown in at the deep end here.

Speaking of thrown in at the deep end, Spintires offers no interactive tutorial to ease you into the game, only a set off instructions accesible in the menu that, while helpful, are pretty overwhelming. But, then again, Spintires is meant to be a hard game, and the lack of tutorial level is a just a part of the experience. Figuring out what you're supposed to do is one half of the game, especially including the fact that you only have a map and compass to guide you to objectives, instead of a GPS. Add in the fact that you'll have to find a fuelling station somewhere along the way and Spintires becomes a very immersive, puzzling and hard game, but in a way that you feel massively rewarded whenever you successfully deliver your undamaged cargo, with fuel to spare.

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The rewards aren't only mental, but also physically in the game. Depending on how much cargo you deliver, how much fuel you have left and how damaged your cargo is, you're awarded Skill Points, which can be spent on  improvements for your trucks, or even to buy new trucks! From a bigger cargo hold to a turbo charger, there are tons of upgrades to buy, all of which can make your journey a little easier.

Sadly, because of a terrible internet connection, I was unable to test out the cooperative multiplayer, but from what I've seen, it looks pretty cool. You and up to 3 buddies each drive their own truck, with each of you doing different duties, e.g one player holding freight, one scouting the trail up ahead etc. Also, because of a 4 year old laptop, I'm unable to truly evaluate the graphics, but (Once again) from what I've seen, this dull, dreary forest looks beautiful, and the mud and water particles look crazy good.

Still, despite my bad laptop, Spintires still runs at a solid 30fps, with no stutters noticeable at any point in the game, meaning that pretty much any PC can run Spintires. Animations are fluid and not-at-all clunky, but I'm not sure I can say the same about the controls. While the PC controls are absolutely fine and are easy to use, the controller support feels pretty disjointed. The lack of a controller text tutorial doesn't help, and the fact that the menu and map can't be used with a controller means that you'll be switching from controller to keyboard a lot, so don't bother using a controller.

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Despite the lack of good controller support and tutorial level, Spintires is still an extremely fun and rewarding game, and it's amazing how Oovee Game Studios created this with only £60,000, quite a small budget when you're talking about developing a game. The gameplay can be a little frustrating at times, but Spintires is all about working with limited supplies, and getting out of tough situations. If you're looking for a pure driving sim that's different, Spintires would be the first thing to roll off of my dirty, muddy tongue.

Pure driving simulation
                                                                                                 No Tutorial Level
Amazing physics
                                                                                                 Bad Controller Support
Great Skill Points System

Cool Co-Op Mode

A huge thanks to Agnieszka Szostak from IMGN.PRO for sending us a review code!

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