Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game Review – The most enjoyable struggle

I have always been interested in detailed simulations in which a man fights and overwhelms nature. Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game is an exciting example of a particular sub-genre of driving simulations, and it offers unrelenting fun in overcoming obstacles.

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Minimalistic in story but very detailed in execution, Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game put a healthy dose of challenge in front of me without ever becoming frustrating. I found myself immersed in my tasks of delivering goods as soon as I learned the ropes.

Gameplay

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

This type of game (which I like to call Spintires) is based on a straightforward premise: you drive your vehicle from point A to point B without any road between those two. You start every mission from your home base, where you can choose between dozens of vehicles and equipment. Vehicles are categorized by size, power, carrying capacity, and fuel consumption.

Where this game excels is the impressive physical engine and the level of detail developers put into the ways your vehicle works. As a delivery driver, it is up to you to tackle the unwelcoming nature. The amount of control you have over your vehicle is impressive, as well as the vehicle's damage model.

To overcome the landscape configuration, you can manage the differential lock, all-wheel drive, and even the level of air in your tires. If you drive recklessly, you will damage your vehicle, and if you drive around too much, you will spend your gasoline. Some accessories, such as drones and binoculars, can help you explore the area. Others, like a winch, can help you pull yourself out of trouble.

Overall, Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game offers an impressive level of detail for such a simple premise. Yet, this game is way more approachable to casual players than its predecessors.

Rating: 5/5

Related: Best Trucking Games for PC

World and Lore

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You have three extensive areas to explore: Little Colorado, Arizona, and the Carpathians. Each of them has a distinctive land configuration with recognizable landscapes. The common point for all three areas is that there is not a tiny bit of asphalt in between them. You can catch a glimpse of some beautiful natural sights while stressing over your delivery.

The story in Expeditions is next to non-existent, which is still an improvement compared to the previous games in this series (which didn't bother with the story at all). This game differs a bit by adding the delivery aspect, so your wandering around the muddy landscapes has some purpose. Not only do you drive around the muddy trails, but you manage your own delivery company, upgrade your vehicles, and hire staff.

It is almost admirable to see how Expeditions focuses almost purely on its gameplay, but I can't help but think how great this game would be with some overarching storyline in the vein of Wages for Fear. The story is there to interlink the missions in one coherent line, but it doesn't take a lot of attention from the game's main selling point.

Rating: 4/5

Visual Design

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Ever since the first Spintires game, this series earned its reputation as one of the best driving simulators. The main reason for that is the fantastic mud engine, which revolutionized the way vehicles move and behave on dirty roads. Whatever you do with your vehicles will leave a visible trail in the area. However, all other aspects of Expeditions' visuals are equally impressive. Each area is represented in beautiful detail, and I really enjoyed driving around the dusty and scorched American desert, as well as the thick forests of the Carpathian area.

The only aspect that needs improvement is the representation of vehicles' damage (or the lack thereof). Although the damage you have done to your vehicle affects its performance greatly, it doesn't show on the vehicle model. I became aware of that after I managed to roll my truck down the mountain and saw that it still looked brand new, although it had lost half of its functions. A flaw like that sticks like a sore thumb in an otherwise great-looking game.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Sound Design

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Concerning the sound, all the vehicles are represented with authentic engine effects, which can change with upgrades or damage. Sometimes, I deliberately went pedal to the metal to hear the engine roar. Soundscapes of the areas you're driving through are also done very well, and they complete the impression of wild nature that the graphics showcase.

The music is there but completely put on the sidelines. The main reason for that is probably so we could hear the environmental sounds better. The music just plays out in the background, and it is almost completely unnoticeable, which is certainly a plus. Additionally, voices are completely absent, but this is to be expected as there isn't much of a story or dialogue. In any case, I was not bothered by it.

Rating: 4/5

Verdict - The pure joy of getting stuck in the mud

I never thought I would appreciate playing the game about one of my least favorite situations from real life. Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game is just a really well-made game that represents an amalgam of truck simulation, off-road racing, and managerial simulation. However, the biggest selling point of this game is the most enjoyable struggle of pushing your vehicle through the most challenging areas. And that is the kind of fun I missed having.

[Disclosure: A free copy of the game was provided to PGG by the publisher for review purposes.]

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About the Author

My name is Nenad Grujić, and I'm a Staff Writer for Pro Game Guides since November 2023. My specialties are fighting games, action adventures, RPGs, driving simulations and anime games. I've been writing about video games since 2012, and I worked for IGN Adria, Blue Moon Game, Emulation Galaxy, and many other gaming sites. In my free time I like to study martial arts, watch movies and TV shows, sing karaoke, and make fandubs and AMVs.

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Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game Review – The most enjoyable struggle

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