Archives by Day

May 2024


Platform(s): PC
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Bonus Stage Publishing
Developer: Hanki Games
Release Date: 2024/2025


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Preview - 'Sledders'

by Cody Medellin on April 11, 2024 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Sledders is a realistic, extreme snowmobiling simulator where you can ride in deep snow, turn by shifting your weight around, and trust the real-world physics in every turn and nook.

Snowmobile games haven't been a thing since the PS2/Xbox/GameCube era, when the rush died down for extreme sports games. Even then, the vehicles were used like stand-ins for cars, as every game concentrated on the racing aspect and threw in a basic trick system for good measure. Since then, any game featuring a snowmobile has used it as a means to ride up a mountain before going back down with skis or a snowboard. Sledders is a game that aims to bring back the focus to the snowmobile, and we checked out the Steam Early Access build to see how things are going.

The main menu provides a good idea about how much progress has been made on the title thus far. There's a free ride mode, an online mode, a few options to change, and that's it. The good news regarding online is that there are plenty of people riding around on the official servers and on their own hosted instances. While we haven't seen large servers get filled up with tons of people yet, we also haven't seen any lag or people warping everywhere. Considering that online play is one of the selling points of Sledders, the performance in this area is encouraging.

Free Ride mode is pretty simple and self-explanatory, and there are already some elements present. There are four maps at this point, and they're quite different from one another. Some have an abundance of trees, while others feature roads and lakes. The snow is also different, with some featuring harder packed snow and other featuring softer stuff that your snowmobile can easily sink into. All four maps share one common bond: size. Try traveling from one point of the map to another in a straight line, and it'll take quite some time to reach an invisible barrier that stops your progress. It's pretty big and somewhat comparable to a mountain in Steep, but there's more of a focus on driving on somewhat flatter lands versus steep hills.

Complementing the large maps is a physics system that leans more toward simulation than arcade. Pushing the throttle at full tilt is a quick way to get yourself doing horizontal donuts in the snow and not moving an inch further. Doing a slow enough build-up is the way to go, but it also depends on the type of snow you're in. Steering isn't just handled by the front skis, but your body lean also influences it, so there's a pretty big learning curve if you've never ridden a snowmobile. Based on what we've seen when playing online, some people are also having a tough time coming to grips with the physics. Others have a good enough mastery of the controls that they can effortlessly go from deep power to skimming on top of lakes and then back to solid land. This is the type of game where you'll need to take a good chunk of time to learn the nuances of snowmobiles and feel greatly rewarded when you can finally ride without needing a quick respawn button.

With all of the positives in place for Sledders, there is one noticeable omission at this juncture: objectives. Much like the skateboarding games from a few years ago, like Session and Skater XL, the Early Access build is solely focused on the experience of riding in the snowy backwoods. There are no objectives in place, and there aren't any tools to help you create objectives. The complete freedom to ride has some appeal, but it might not appeal to those who want some structure. However, there are plans to add goals so it's more in line with traditional video games.

At the moment, Sledders is great for those who crave some snowmobile riding in the off-season and for those living in places where the conditions aren't right for it yet. For everyone else, it's better to keep an eye on Sledders to see if and when the game will provide a more guided experience. The game is receiving updates at a good pace, so the hope for a winter 2024 release seems realistic.

More articles about Sledders
blog comments powered by Disqus