Expeditions: A MudRunner Game preview - a gear death experience

Vehicle and character sat on top of a mountain
(Image credit: Focus Entertainment)

Many of the best simulation games have strict rules that players must abide by, and Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is no different. Set in three wild locations of Little Colorado, Arizona, and the Carpathian mountains in central Europe, players explore vast landscapes in physics-based offroad vehicles to complete tasks like gathering resources and transporting materials, all in the name of science. 

After collecting a few starting tools like a winch and a hydraulic jack and storing a bucket load of fuel, I was ready to forge a path into Little Colorado to install radio modules that would improve the signal at my research base. It was a 1000-meter round trip with minimal treacherous terrain and barely any water-logged areas; what could go wrong? 

Those words rang loud in my head as I immediately toppled my TUZ 16 Actaeon truck on the first corner. Without any tree nearby to latch my tow onto, I was stuck like a turtle on its back, helplessly flailing my wheels around, putting the handbrake on and off in some futile attempt to regain control. 

After a quick and shameful restart and learning an essential lesson in restraint and control, I set off again on my mission. This time, I took it nice and slow, carefully taking corners and being aware of every stray branch and sharp-looking rock. Eventually, I reached the top of the hill and placed the radio modules down, completing my mission; a job well done, sort of. 

No spoilers 

Vehicle driving into a shallow river

(Image credit: Focus Entertainment)

The aim of Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is delightfully simple: traverse areas of natural beauty during scientific research missions and, crucially, ensure you have all the suitable kit, vehicles, and personnel to do so.

I actually managed to drive up a near-vertical mountainside with sheer willpower and a very helpful winch

There are tons of research missions for you to complete, which range in difficulty. There are six expeditions to explore in Little Colorado and 41 in both Arizona and the Carpathian mountains. While many of these involve the same main aim of collecting materials or conducting research, you almost always have to go about them in different ways.

A truck is all you need to take on the wilderness in Little Colorado, but you may also need to invest in some hydro components, such as a car snorkel, which pulls air from higher up so you can drive through deep rivers. Thanks to the swampy river beds and thick mud, there's a good chance you'll need one. On the other hand, you’ll want the DON 71 buggy in Arizona and the Carpathians due to its ability to make light of scaling steep cliffs. I actually managed to drive up a near-vertical mountainside with sheer willpower and a very helpful winch. 

Away from your vehicles, there are also options to upgrade your campsite with research structures and trade sites; these allow you to stock up on goods and swap scientific materials. It’s also vital to beef up your staff to ensure you have the right knowledge for each mission. Some tasks, such as the Prologue Apex Europe expedition in the Carpathians, require specific expertise provided by various scientists and researchers. In this case, I recruited Connor Eriksen, a logistician. 

Slow and steady

First-person driving through a river

(Image credit: Focus Entertainment)

While there are a lot of brilliant moments in Expeditions: A MudRunner Game, like the beautiful scenery and impressive driving physics, this simulation game may not be for everyone. 

The accurate physics will undoubtedly attract hordes of players who love rigidly realistic simulation games, like the SnowRunner and previous MudRunner titles, but it may also be its downfall. For example, the game’s physics is so precise that it transforms every slight elevation into a terrifying vertical climb. This punishing reality means you must be painstakingly accurate and usually slow in your ventures. 

The stop-start nature of this isn’t the most thrilling or calming, so my only advice to those who want to adventure into Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is to take some deep breaths, slow down, and always use your winch when you run out of options. 

If you’re a fan of solo adventures then be sure to check out the best single-player games as well as the best story games that are available to play right now.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.