Admittedly, I’m not massively familiar with the Mudrunner series outside of a few hours of play, but the idea of experiencing its intense and strategic off-road driving in virtual reality really appealed to me. There’s nothing quite like it on the Meta Quest platform either, and whilst I’ve played plenty of virtual reality racers, Mudrunner VR is definitely one of the more unique driving experiences that I’ve had with the headset.

Check out some screenshots down below:

If you’re unfamiliar with Mudrunner, it’s a driving sim that sees players completing objectives across a bunch of treacherous and, of course, muddy environments. You’ll drive a variety of all-terrain vehicles to help you complete these objectives (which consist of things like helping broken down vehicles, transporting cargo, or surveying the land), but with the game embracing a more realistic approach where you have to consider things like your vehicle weight, size, position as well as the terrain with just about every risky manoeuvre you make, it’s one that demands a lot of patience and planning if you hope to succeed. It’s very methodical in its approach to gameplay, but it all adds to the appeal of the experience and makes it incredibly satisfying to play – even when things go wrong and you find yourself completely messing up the job (and believe me, this happens a LOT).

Given that you’re playing in virtual reality, all of the driving of Mudrunner VR takes place from inside the vehicle, with players having to utilise things like switches, set their handbrake, pull at their gear stick, check their mirrors to track their surroundings, and so forth when driving. It’s very immersive, so much so that it was hard not to feel gleeful when driving. You’re also able to control your steering by manually holding and turning the steering wheel, but honestly? I’d advise against it. With Mudrunner VR demanding precision in just about everything you do, it can feel too clumsy for players to competently perform each task. Using the controller is much more straightforward and helps alleviate some of the inevitable frustrations that will come with the manual controls. It is worth noting that you can’t put your head out of the window when driving to check the terrain though, which is a bit disappointing. It would actually tie into the gameplay in a way that makes a lot of sense given how much you need to monitor your surroundings when driving, so it’s a real immersion-breaking oversight.

“It became incredibly satisfying to play, with each new objective I faced feeling like its own little puzzle that I’d have to figure out.”

You’ll also have to head out of your vehicle to perform a multitude of tasks, whether that’s when completing objectives, filling up your vehicle with fuel, opening up gates, or traversing the environment (you’ll have to attach a winch to trees in order to pull your vehicle up some terrain which never stops being satisfying). Unfortunately, the game is limited to teleportation traversal only, which can break immersion during these sequences. It might not seem like a big deal given that most of the action takes place behind the wheel, but there’s enough going on outside of your vehicle to make the lack of smooth locomotion feel restrictive for experienced virtual reality gamers.

There’s actually quite a big learning curve to Mudrunner VR, with my earlier attempts to complete missions proving FAR from successful. Fortunately, there’s a Story Mode on offer that’ll teach you the ins-and-outs of the game, with the mode leading players through the environment, guiding them along with their tasks, introducing different vehicles, and giving a basic idea on how to approach everything. There are a lot of different systems at play in the game so it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed at first, but I certainly felt more than comfortable after a few hours with the Story Mode.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It all makes for a really fun experience too, with Mudrunner VR getting better the longer you spend with it. I’ll admit, during my first hour or so of playing, I wondered whether the game was right for me – especially with all of my earlier failures that’d see me damage my vehicle, get stuck in the mud, or even completely topple the vehicle in my worst moments. When I got used to it though? It became incredibly satisfying to play, with each new objective I faced feeling like its own little puzzle that I’d have to figure out. I mentioned earlier on in this review that each task you complete requires patience and planning, but it’s so damn rewarding when a plan plays out perfectly that you’ll be left with a big grin on your face when driving. There’s plenty of content on offer too, and when you’re done with the Story Mode, there’s also the Free Play that’ll keep you busy for a long time.

It looks decent too, and whilst the texture detail can be a little lacking in places, it’s made up for with the impressive visual effects when bursting through mud and getting your vehicle into a right old mess. I didn’t encounter any real performance issues either, and whilst there were a few little stutters in one or two places, there was nothing that affected the gameplay. The only real issue that some players might find is that the environment is a lot smaller than they might be used to in the series, but it’s something you’d probably expect given the scale of the experience.

Mudrunner VR Review

Mudrunner VR has a bit of a learning curve, but its off-roading driving gameplay still makes for a fun and rewarding experience that feels unique to the Meta Quest platform. I’ll admit, my early hours with the game were a bit of a nightmare, but when I figured the mechanics out and found myself behind the wheel of more powerful vehicles, I had a blast as I navigated the landscape and overcame every challenge it threw my way. Sure, it has some missteps (most notably with the lack of smooth locomotion and some other small issues), but Mudrunner VR certainly stands out as an impressive virtual reality take on the popular driving series.

Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Saber Interactive
Platform(s): Meta Quest 3 (Reviewed), Meta Quest 2