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I don’t know much about Alaska, and I know even less about driving a truck, and yet by the time I wrapped up previewing Alaskan Road Truckers, I had a pretty strong desire to get back out there. The vibes of driving a truck through miles and miles of road, surrounded by dense forests, impossibly tall mountains, and the chilly wilderness, are pretty good. There’s a wonderful juxtaposition of the harsh Alaskan terrain and the cozy cabin of a truck. Being able to turn around and see my bed, my microwave, my frozen pizzas – I found it quite pleasant.

Alaskan Road Truckers isn’t the most technically impressive realisation of the American wilderness I’ve ever seen, but it never took me out of the experience. There’s plenty of consideration put into the points of interest on the map. With gas stations and supermarkets all within a reasonable distance of one another, the world doesn’t feel crowded or barren. Everything feels just right in a way that makes me wish the game leaned a bit further into the ‘route planning’ aspect of it. The idea of drawing my own route to ensure I am avoiding obstacles and managing my resources really excites me, but that might be a different style of game. In Alaskan Road Truckers, I didn’t find any challenge in it. 

Once I hopped into my truck and began to deliver my first trailer of cargo, I remembered what games of this genre excel at; comforting routine. There’s a peacefulness to driving through a well-realised depiction of Alaska. The world isn’t going to surprise you much, but it’ll still give you something to think about and admire. And once you learn how to back up a massive trailer without completely jack-knifing your rig, the experience can even be downright thrilling!

Although driving your truck is the main activity in Alaskan Road Truckers, the game’s interactivity goes beyond that. Like many simulation games, there is a “do-everything” approach in Alaskan Road Truckers. From plugging in the electrical cables of your truck into your trailer to turning on the truck cabin lights, being forced to consider all of your tools and being self-sufficient helps play into the solitary truck-driver narrative that brings the game together.

Typically, Simulation games include genre trappings of ‘survival’ mechanics, like hunger /warmth management, day-night cycles, and finance-based progression systems. Alaskan Road Truckers is no exception, but there’s a bit more thought put into it than I usually see from a usual ‘Simulator’ game. With the promise of passing seasons being featured in the full release of the game, and hopefully an updated map with locations a bit further apart, Alakan Road Truckers has the potential to be a really great simulation experience.

While I did experience quite a few technical issues when previewing Alaskan Road Truckers, (the build I played was clearly marked as a Beta!), I still wanted to come back to enjoy the game for what it is. I would be more than happy to pop on some Creedence Clearwater Revival, check my review mirrors, and truck across “The Sourdough State”.

Alaskan Road Truckers is currently set to release October 19th. Thanks to Green Man Gaming Publishing for the preview key!

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VIAimages via Alaskan Road Truckers on Steam
Managing Editor of MiniMap. Contact me: Jeremy(at)minimap.com.au