MudRunner VR Review

• written by Krist Duro
MudRunner VR Review

MudRunner VR not only preserves the essence of MudRunner but also enhances it in ways that make for a compelling and thoroughly engaging VR experience

MudRunner VR on Meta Quest takes the acclaimed off-road driving simulation to an immersive level, providing a gripping experience that pulls you into the rugged, untamed wilderness like never before. This version capitalizes on the strengths of VR, offering a fresh perspective on the challenging gameplay that fans of the original game have come to love.

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An image showcasing the game described in this article.

The core gameplay of MudRunner VR remains true to its roots. You navigate a variety of all-terrain vehicles through treacherous landscapes, from dense forests and muddy swamps to rocky hillsides. The objective varies from just a specific destination and extracting stuck vehicles to attaching a trailer and transporting it to its destination while managing the vehicle's condition, fuel levels, and the ever-changing environment. The tasks require strategic planning and careful driving especially in the higher difficulty settings such as "Realism", as every decision can lead to either triumphant success or disastrous failure. The sense of scale and the physicality of the tasks feel much more significant in VR, making every mission a test of skill and patience.

MudRunner VR has currently two mode, Story and Free-Play. The story mode includes a series of connected missions where you drive around unique all-terrain vehicles as you collect weather data, extract stuck vehicles using the winch, fuel other vehicles to then drive said vehicles and transport cargo or generators to specific locations in order to prepare your village for an upcoming massive storm. The Story mode is quite good as it constantly introduces new vehicles and tasks that keep things fresh beginning to end. Once you are done with the Story, you can then start playing the Free-Play mode. In this mode, you load in one of the environments with a couple of predetermined vehicles at your disposal and you have to complete a lot of tasks similar to the ones in Story mode. Imagine it like a sandbox-lite mode, where you have total freedom on how you tackle the tasks that you are given.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Transitioning from the flat version to VR, MudRunner VR on Meta Quest introduces a level of immersion that profoundly changes the gameplay experience. The VR perspective places you in the driver's seat, offering a first-person view that enhances the realism and intensity of navigating treacherous terrain. The ability to look around the cabin, interact with different switches or gear knobs and check side mirrors to assess tricky situations add a layer of depth that simply isn't possible in the traditional version.

You are there inside the vehicle, using the tablet to plan the perfect route, steering and finding the best vector through the muddy roads, activating the "All Wheel Drive" and "Differential Locking" when you need them the most while always keeping an eye to the fuel and vehicle health gauges is incredibly immersive and absolutely brilliant.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

The sense of presence provided by VR makes every journey through the wilderness feel like a real adventure. The tactile feedback from the controllers, combined with the head-tracked perspective, allows for more intuitive control and interaction with the vehicle. The challenges feel more immediate and personal, and the satisfaction of overcoming difficult terrain is amplified. The game does an excellent job of conveying the physicality of driving through mud and over obstacles, making you feel every bump and jolt. Don't get me wrong, it can be infuriating at times, especially when you are just a couple of meters away from your final objective and your vehicle either breaks down or you are out of fuel, but this is the good kind of infuriating.

I have two minor suggestions I'd love for the developers to tackle in an upcoming patch. First, I would appreciate a free locomotion option. While the current teleporting mode does the job, it feels too restrictive. Second, the length of the gear shifters needs adjustment. This game is meant to be played seated, but if you're sitting on a comfy couch like I did, reaching and operating the shifters is almost impossible without finagling your way by recentering your view. Longer shifters for the gear, AWD, diff lock, and handbrake would significantly improve couch play. Additionally, if any developers are reading this, consider adding an old-school steering knob for one-handed steering on larger vehicles and the ability to roll down the window to pop my head out and see when backing up a massive trailer.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

The presentation in MudRunner VR is also impressive considering this is a standalone Quest game. The detailed environments and realistic weather effects are rendered beautifully, creating an atmospheric experience. The mud physics, a hallmark of the series, feel great in VR too, with the sloshing, splashing, and the vehicle's interaction with the terrain appearing more lifelike. Performance is great too, with a rock solid and smooth framerate that lower the risk of motion sickeness down to basically zero. The audio design complements the visual immersion, with the roar of engines, the squelch of tires in mud, and the chill music in the background enhancing the overall experience. This game, man, it is such a vibe.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

In conclusion, MudRunner VR on Meta Quest is a standout adaptation that elevates the original game's thrilling off-road challenges to new heights. The immersion and realism brought by VR make it a must-play for fans of the series and newcomers alike. It not only preserves the essence of MudRunner but also enhances it in ways that make for a compelling and thoroughly engaging VR experience. Yes, MudRunner VR is an essential purchase for any Quest 3 owner. Thanks for reading!

The game was reviewed on a Quest 3 via a promo copy provided by the publisher. MudRunner VR is available on Meta Quest.

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