Expeditions: A MudRunner Game Review – No roads? No problem

Published: 29 February 2024 Updated: 29 February 2024

► A different take on the driving simulator genre
► Out March 5th on PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo
► TLDR: 7/10

Seven years on since we first saw the MudRunner name, developers Saber Interactive have relaunched the title as a spin-off to the popular off-roading series. It’s the first new game since SnowRunner in 2020 and looks to focus on the exploration and navigation side of off-roading, rather than heavy haulage.

On paper, it sounds like a neat expansion of the brand especially when the endless cargo haulage missions of SnowRunner can be tiresome. However, despite the name, this new game is far closer to SnowRunner than it is to the original Mudrunner and is not, as some fans may have been hoping, a return to the more hardcore simulation feel of the original. Read on to find out more…


Three locations at launch, plus 20 vehicles

From launch, players will be able to choose from 20 vehicles to tackle terrain in Arizona, the Carpathians and, for the prologue, Little Colorado – thus making a total of nine separate maps. Those used to the vast expanses of SnowRunner may be a little disappointed with these numbers – especially the vehicles – but planned DLC launches should bring the number up over time.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game portable bridge

Something that’s immediately obvious about the maps and vehicles is the lack of actual roads and the resurgence of Scout vehicles. In SnowRunner, the maps where criss-crossed with roads of varying quality, while the cargo-hauling approach meant that Scouts were of limited use – not so in this game. Therefore, expect to spend less time driving around in big 16-wheelers and more in nimble 4x4s. Vehicle categories now run across Scout, Off-Road and Heavy Truck with full customisation for all.

New, more rigid mission structure

Rather than delve straight into a vast map peppered with tasks and contracts, Expeditions (as we shall now refer to it) makes you pick an expedition and vehicle (s) from your garage to carry out said mission from the main menu before launching into the map at a pre-determined base camp or outpost.

Once you’re in, you can complete the expedition, plus explore and carry out additional tasks and contracts on the map, but you can’t bring in any additional vehicles or start any new expeditions. In order to do this, you need to exit back into the main menu, then launch a new expedition and load the trucks back in.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game cockpit view

What this does is create a much tighter objective structure with frequent prompts of where to go and what to do next and relieves some of the tedium that could sneak into SnowRunner. However, what it also does – rather disappointingly – is remove a large part of the immersion. Why you couldn’t just use the base camp to accept expeditions and kit-out your truck (rather than exiting to the main menu every time) is a mystery.

New truck abilities and expedition modifiers

In order to make sure you’re properly equipped for each expedition, the game allows you to add certain abilities and specialists to your arsenal. The former includes kit such as an echo sounder (to judge water depth), jack-screw (returns your vehicle the correct way up), anchor (for winching in sparse areas) and a drone. Meanwhile, the latter takes the form of team members that can grant benefits like earning you more money, reduce damage and grant additional fuel at outposts.

They’re welcome additions that add help replace some of the logistical considerations you lose without having cargo or trailers. What’s more, some of the truck abilities can be swapped out in map at your various camps and outposts, meaning it’s not as inflexible as the vehicle choice once you’re in the map. Outposts can be upgraded to add further supplies such as fuel and spares.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game portable bridge

On the negative side, there does not appear to be a way to save preset loadouts for each truck – meaning it needs to be done manually on each deployment. Also, the additional team members aren’t fleshed out beyond a Pokemon-style trading card stating their abilities, while some truck abilities – such as the jack-screw – take away some of the jeopardy associated with rolling your ride in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention there’s no animation to accompany the truck righting itself.

Tweaked driving physics and gameplay

Bar the absence of roads and trailers, the core driving experience of Expeditions feels very close to SnowRunner. On controller, the steering can be tricky if you build up a little too much speed and there’s still plenty of potential to get stuck. However, despite the lack of proper roads, the environs somehow feel less uncompromising while vehicle stability also appears to be improved.

There’s a modified in-game UI where the mini-menu layout has been changed, allowing room for devices and inventory, as well as a new feature that allows you to modify tyre pressures on your vehicle.

Expeditions: A MudRunner Game rescue mission

We’re not wholly convinced by the map designs yet – there’s a distinct lack of imagination in places – and it’s a shame that this will likely only be fixed by upcoming DLC. Taking away roads and civilisation might sound good on paper, but it can lead to moments where you genuinely can’t see how to get from A to B.

Speaking of which, co-op gameplay functionality is possible yet it’ll only be available later this year as part of a free upgrade. And, for those that would rather not pay for anything, modding is back and should add greater variety to the game’s vehicles and maps.


Expeditions: A MudRunner Game doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, yet it represents a neat pivot away from the fun, but sometimes frustrating, SnowRunner formula. There’s more structure and quicker rewards, while the opportunity to explore the wilderness still carries huge appeal even if the map quality and selection of trucks could be better.

Additions such as being able to lower tyre pressures, use binoculars and send a drone into the sky also add another element, while planning the best specialist and equipment for each expedition requires thought. It’s a real shame, however, that switching from one expedition to the next requires you to launch in and out of the in-game map for no apparent reason.

Our main concern for this title, however, is how the existing players – loyal to the OG MudRunner and SnowRunner will respond to its slightly more arcade style of gameplay. After all, tipping over while hauling 4 x metal beams deep into a map with no garage was hugely frustrating, yet the challenge was what kept people coming back. Without that, the core experience may not hold the same appeal for hardcore sim enthusiasts.  

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By James Dennison

Head of automotive video for CAR magazine, its sister website Parkers.co.uk and Motorcyle News.