Congratulations, you’ve purchased SnowRunner on Nintendo Switch and are ready to take on the challenge of the great outdoors! Welcome to the trucking industry — we have cookies, mud cookies, so eat slowly. And the coffee is river water; don’t drink it, trust me. Right there are already two essential tips that are going to keep you straight on this new adventure. But there are quite a few more things you’re going to need to keep in mind in order to get the best out of your experience. This beginner guide will give you six essential tips for playing SnowRunner as a newcomer, whether on Nintendo Switch or another platform.
1. Scout out new maps.
The very first vehicle you’re going to drive in SnowRunner is a Chevy pickup. This is your introduction not to just to the game, but to the Scout class of vehicles in general. These little puppies don’t have the girth or muscle to carry any heavy loads, but they are essential to making your actual trucking objectives far easier. Every time you enter a new area, the map will be blanketed in a “fog of war.” By using the scout vehicles to find watchtowers, you’ll gradually break the fog and unlock new missions, upgrade locations, vehicle locations, and more.
By taking advantage of the small size of scout vehicles, you can traverse through the thickest forests and steepest cliffs. By using their agility and the power of the winch, you should survive. Frankly, getting to some of these watchtowers might as well be missions in themselves. While finding them won’t get you paid, they will gain you some XP, which is important.
(Bonus tip: Revealing the map is also good for finding where the blocked roads/paths are, and it would be wise to then follow by completing those small missions first to make future missions a lot easier.)
2. Upgrades are your best friends.
Decking out your vehicles with brand new parts is not just for vanity in SnowRunner. Progression is slow and steady, and upgrades play a big part in that. The vast majority of new vehicle aprts are locked away behind Driver Rank requirements. This is why gaining XP is so important, and you can get more in a lot of ways. In addition to the aforementioned watchtowers, look for trailers and vehicles scattered around the map and complete missions.
Despite having the title SnowRunner, the game itself will recommend you stay away from the snow-covered maps until you’re further along. You can definitely attempt to dive right in head first, but you’re gonna get frostbite. Your starter trucks are in no shape to go anywhere fast on mud, let alone snow. Thus, Tires are arguably the most essential upgrade. Most trucks come with Highway tires pre-installed, which are simply terrible for anything off-road (and most of SnowRunner is off-road!). Therefore, make either Off-Road or Mud tires your go-to upgrades for every truck. The Chained tires are best for the snow. Beyond tires, your Winch is also a good thing to upgrade, namely on scout vehicles.
However, the problem with scouts is that they are easy to tip over. That’s why buying the Autonomous Winch is a good choice, as it’ll allow you to use the winch even if the engine is shut off from a rollover. Some trucks can be outfitted with All-Wheel Drive and Differential Locks, which greatly help with off-roading capabilities. Additional supplies for repairs and extra fuel can also be attached to some trucks, which are great for helping you go the distance. Finally, the Snorkel is another good idea for the surprisingly many times you’ll be traversing water-laden areas.
Now that you know what to buy, there’s also a good way to buy.
3. Learn the (surprisingly forgiving) SnowRunner market.
SnowRunner probably has the most consumer-friendly in-game market ever. I say that because anything you buy, you can sell for the exact same price. Some parts are also interchangeable between trucks. So, for example, the aforementioned autonomous winch you buy for one scout truck can be disabled on your first truck and then enabled on another. So, you may not necessarily have to buy more than one unit of the same upgrade.
If there’s an upgrade you no longer need, such as those scummy highway tires, then sell it. If you find a truck out in the wild and recover it, compare it to the stats of the trucks you already have. If they’re not better, then sell the truck you found (if you don’t need it) and then you’ll gain a huge lump sum of cash quickly. You can then use the extra money to deck out your existing truck with any upgrades you have access to.
On a similar note, any trailers you find must be manually taken to different Trailer Stores on the map in order to be sold for some quick extra cash (if you don’t need them). For a start, there are about two sellable trailers parked to the left side of the first Garage you’ll have access to (located on the Black River, Michigan map).
4. Study the terrain.
Pay close attention to your path ahead. Don’t just mindlessly try to plow through everything. SnowRunner has distinct terrain types, including wet mud, dirt, grass, rocky earth, asphalt, ice, powdery snow, and muddy snow. Sometimes one section of the road will be obviously more muddy/rough, so hug the other side. Other times, a patch of ground may look decent but can be deceptive, such as flat mud near a river; chances are you’ll get stuck in it. So, study the terrain and plan ahead to save yourself having to find a way out of getting stuck.
An obvious SnowRunner tip is to use your map to plan ahead. You can zoom in very close, and doing so you’ll soon realize the map is basically a 3D image of the entire game world. So, you can make out where small bodies of water are to avoid, gaps in thick forests you can maneuver through, etc.
You can drop an unlimited number of waypoints one after the other to build a direct path from your current location to the desired destination. But don’t rush!
5. Speed kills and spills.
You’ll often spend so much time going slow in SnowRunner that the rare moments you do get to rip up the terrain may give you a false sense of security. You’ll likely regret it pretty quickly when you smack into a tree, guard rail, or even a random stone that’ll flatten your tire (and yes, that can happen).
So, try to take things at a moderate pace, especially when you have cargo on board. (Your truck’s weight and balance are greatly affected by carrying additional cargo, trailers, and add-ons.) If your truck tips over, then you’ll lose the cargo.
You’ll be able to recover it only if you have a crane attached to the damaged truck or another truck with a crane. In any case, it’ll be a lot of time wasted trying to save both your truck and the cargo. However, that said, having a buddy system isn’t always so bad…
6. Take advantage of a dual-truck strategy.
You’ll quickly learn that you can use one truck to save another with the winch. But, you can really get creative and make use of a dual-truck strategy in more ways than just rescue missions.
For instance, you can pack cargo onto one truck, and then another, and then winch them together; this will effectively double your cargo-carrying capacity. (The engine of the secondary truck can be started after you attach the winch.) This is a great strategy for anyone who prefers single-player sessions, though remember you can always team up with other players online.
Another good use of multi-truck action is using one of your trucks as a mobile “service” vehicle. (Heavier trucks have proper add-ons for this, but scouts can do it too in a more limited capacity.) You can use this service truck to carry extra fuel and supplies for repair.
Hopefully, the handful of tips and tricks in this guide will get you up and running quickly as you brave the virtual wilds of SnowRunner.
This is a large game with a lot of content, and a surprising amount of strategy is involved when it comes to playing in the most efficient way. It can be frustrating and mind-boggling sometimes, but that’s all part of the experience. Because it’s so open, everyone’s playthrough will be different. So, use these tricks how you see fit and just have fun!