We Just Played Off-Road Drive

We pick the mud out of our tires and prepare for some off-road excitement in Off-Road Drive.

Imagine you're trapped in the woods--just a man and his jeep. It's raining hard, and the closest thing you've got to a road is a patch of mud. What do you do? If your answer is "panic," then you need to spend some quality time with Off-Road Drive, an off-road driving game from publisher 1C Company. At first blush, Off-Road Drive looks like a rough-and-tumble arcade racer with an off-road setting, but after we spent some time with it, we found it leaned more on the simulation side.

With such vehicle names as Mud Bogger and Crocodile, you know you're in for a good time.

Each of the four tracks we played was laid out like an obstacle course. The challenge was knowing what technique to use to overcome each obstacle. To plow through a deep mud puddle, for instance, we needed to activate our vehicle's four-wheel drive to gain more traction. While driving over an uneven bed of rocks, locking the main and axle differentials let our wheels spin at different speeds, depending on which ones were gaining traction at that moment. In all cases, placing well in a race meant not only racing fast, but also racing smart.

However, despite our best efforts, we more often than not got stuck. In our most desperate hour, it was time to use the winch. The winch is, essentially, a grappling hook mounted to the front of your vehicle used for hauling it up and over difficult terrain (such as a vertical cliffside). We used it to great effect in overcoming the game's primary villain: fallen trees. Off the track, we could pop into the garage and tweak the performance of our vehicles in three categories. Changing our tires and altering the suspension affected our vehicle's performance on different terrain types. Changing our skin, of course, affected how awesome our ride looked.

The game supports the Xbox 360 gamepad, mouse, and keyboard, as well as a variety of steering wheels.

After spending some time with Off-Road Drive, we came away all the wiser in the ways of off-road navigation. From Russia to Thailand, the game will having you tearing up the wilderness all across the globe in numerous competitions. You can start honing your own survival skills when Off-Road Drive is released later this year.

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