Posted: October 29
Most offroad racing games have you racing around a relatively smooth dirt track that maybe has a few jumps. This game has some tracks like that, but where it really shines is when the smooth track ends at a huge pile of rocks and the only way forward is up and over.
You have quite a bit of control over the vehicle with the ability to use lockers, adjust air pressure, switch between high and low gear ranges and a winch. Knowing how and when to use these systems is essential to finishing most of the tracks, thankfully a tutorial is provided. The graphics and climbing physics are impressive and there is a nice selection of vehicles, although a little more customization would be appreciated.
This game has some fairly significant issues however. The driving model works quite well at low speeds (including simulating how easy it is to get stuck in deep mud) but breaks down at higher speeds on the smooth sections of the track where the vehicle has no sense of weight and slides and bounces around unrealistically. When you do get stuck without a nearby tree to use as a winch anchor, the lack of a reset button means you have to restart the race which can be extremely frustrating with the length of some of the events. The game does at least reset you if you roll the vehicle or fall off the track.
In all the events you're racing a ghost ai which often feels cheaty when it effortlessly floats over a mud pit that you're stuck in up to your axles or hovers over broken rocks that hang you up at every turn. When it's not cheating it's not particularly smart and is relatively easy to beat.
Unlike most offroad games, there is no free roam mode. The tracks are very detailed with lots of interesting obstacles, but you're confined to a relatively narrow corridor that resets you back on the track if you stray outside the boundaries. Sometimes these boundaries aren't very clear so you'll miss a turn and end up off the track with a time penalty. At least you have the option to set up an empty multiplayer server and drive around the tracks by yourself to better learn them and to test out the vehicles. I haven't found anyone else who has this game to test out multiplayer with so I can't comment on how well that works.
For awhile this game appeared to have been abandoned with the devs being MIA but a recent update just a few days ago added additional language support so there is hope again that some of these issues will be fixed.
Despite all these issues, I still had a lot of fun simply because there aren't many games that actually simulate low speed rock crawling and scrambling (besides possibly spintires which I'm waiting for a good sale on). I can hesitantly recommend this game as long as you can live with the issues and you can find it on sale, with the number of unresolved issues I wouldn't be able to recommend it at the full asking price.
poor vehicle handing at speed
no way to get unstuck without restarting race
no free roam