Slow Roads

Developer: anslo
Play at

Reviewed on PC (Web)

Quick Impression: Though it lacks depth, this driving simulator is perfect for a quick spin – and did I mention it’s free and can be played in your browser?

Have you ever wanted to be a lunar bus driver? Now, thanks to Slow Roads, you can fulfill your dreams.

I stumbled upon Slow Roads by way of a post on Hacker News. The latest in the burgeoning field of relaxing driving sims, Slow Roads uses procedural generation to create scenic vistas for your weekend joyriding pleasure.

By default, you’ll drive a car around planet Earth. Even though the graphics are relatively simple by 2022 standards, they do a good job of conveying the feeling of climbing rolling hills and zipping around narrow country roads.

Destination unknown

Most impressive to me are the bodies of water and the way they fit naturally into the terrain. The digital lakes and rivers bring to mind the mighty Mississippi, down to the guardrails that prevent you from accidentally rolling down the steep banks and plunging in to the water below.

Vehicle options include car, bus, and motorbike. You can also change the season as well as the time of time. Drive at night and you’ll barely be able to see beyond the cones of your headlights. It’s an authentic experience, although it comes at the cost of obscuring the lovely scenery.

And as I mentioned above, deep space driving is also on the table. You can cruise across the Moon, Mars, or Venus. Although these humongous rocks seem to be simple palette swaps of one another, there are cool little details here and there, like the sight of our bright blue home planet hanging out along the moon’s skyline. Maybe if I keep driving long enough I’ll find the flag that Armstrong and Aldrin planted, too, but I won’t hold my breath. (Well, unless I lose my space helmet.)

Sunset riders

At present Slow Roads is a limited experience. If you try offroading, you’ll quickly discover its limitations. But few games provide such a lovely, peaceful recreation of real countryside driving, and because Slow Roads is free and runs in your browser you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. You can go for a quick cruise or turn on autodrive and use the game as a screensaver.

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