From time to time it’s good to take a break from the norm and play something different or in this case, unusual. Spintires: Mudrunners is a peculiar game – all things considered – it shouldn’t work. What could be less entertaining than wrestling with huge vehicles as they play stuck in the mud?

Yes, you read that correctly. You jump into the cab of huge all-terrain vehicles. Your task… to drive them through thick mud with only a map and compass to guide you. There are 19 different vehicles to drive, each with their own unique equipment. There are five environments that are open sandboxes for you to play about in and numerous challenge maps to best.

The beauty of Mudrunners is the physics engine. Barreling through muddy terrain isn’t exactly taxing, but throw in some tricky hazards and a physics engine to be considerate over and soon that massive vehicle you’re driving becomes a force to be reckoned with as wheels slide and spin, struggling for purchase as the massive load bares down into the squelchy mud.

This doesn’t prove too troublesome to start with, but retrace the same path and the ground becomes a mash of tracks that can soon have you stuck in deep mud with nothing but spinning tires – hence the name of the game – there is a winch that can be used to latch onto nearby trees to help pull your vehicle out of trouble, but often you’ll be left floundering about if you don’t pay enough attention to the environment.

Things can get even more tricky when you throw in three other vehicles via co-op. Loading up one another’s vehicles is fun, while the extra pair of wheels is most convenient when one of you needs winching out of the mud – or water.

It’s not just about playing in the mud though. The aim is to unlock bigger and better vehicles and do this you must deliver logs to stations. Only by upgrading each vehicle’s load capabilities can you make the transport of logs more efficient but more load equals more problems when traveling over tough terrain

Before heading off to get wheel deep in mud, it’s worth stopping by the challenge mode, which picks things up from the tutorial while kicking things up a notch. Each challenge not only has an objective, but several bonuses to strive for that will test your driving skills and force you to adapt and drive less frivolously. I found the challenges a lot of fun to best and I preferred them to the somewhat tedious campaign task of ferrying logs from point A to B.

I particularly enjoyed the Jeep style off road course, which was pretty darn challenging – slow and steady – but heart poundingly difficult. It’s this part of the game I found the most exhilarating, particularly having driven some off-road courses in a Jeep Wrangler in the real world.

For the most part, Mudrunners is a rather relaxing game, although I recommend you put on your favourite tunes via Spotify, the dull tones of a droning engine gets really boring really fast. Graphically the environments look great, as do the third person views of the many vehicles – but interiors are lacking and none of the wing mirrors work, which can be a real pain in the ass when trying to back up a load.

The task of a Mudrunner may sound simple enough, but with uneven ground that can easily leave you and your heavy load stuck in the mud or a fast turn toppling what you’re towing, the life of a mudrunner is far from easy and it’s when you get overconfident or cocky, is when things Inevitably go wrong and don’t even get me started on reversing a rig, which is a lot harder than you may think.

Thanks to Xbox for supporting TiX