When it comes to Snowrunner, what I really want to tell you about is the back window of the starter truck. I appreciate this is not a normal sort of thing to come away from a game with, but isn’t that just Snowrunner in general?
Anyway: most of the time the back window is just a back window. Through it you get a partial view of the truck interior – the dash, the seats, a guy at the wheel trying to stay in control. But then the truck jounces and rolls and lists and yaws and that window catches the light a certain way. Suddenly, the texture! The glass is not just something you look through but something you look at – it’s covered with a fine layer of sprayed mud, tiny particles of the stuff, and it almost looks like someone’s tried to wipe all the grot off it before moving on to better things.
Details matter in Snowrunner. They matter because, like Spintires, the origin story of this strange and wonderful series, you have time to notice the details. It’s not that you’re up close as such, but more that the landscape moves past you at about two miles an hour, and that’s when things are going well. This is a game about being stuck right in the moment – often a moment in which you’re stuck, right, in the mud. You get time to see the breeze in the trees, the speckles of the earth, and the smear on the surface of a window.