Unrailed! Review by Gañan
With the recent rise in videogames of the competitive, PVP, survival genre, it’s hard to find chill, simple and fun little games for when you’ve got a couple of free hours to play but don’t feel like stressing out with those kinds of competitive experiences. This game fills that void, and it fares quite good amongst other similar indie coop games such as: Overcooked, Out of space, Catastronauts, or Monaco, to name a few. The game revolves around the train, you’ve got to build tracks to reach the next station in time, or the train will end up Unrailed!… see what I did there?
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The goal of the game is to keep the train going as far as you can. For every station you reach, the speed will rise a bit, not much at the beginning, but in no time, you’ll be rushing to place the tracks in front of the train, screw up the placement and waste those precious materials, all while being yelled at by your teammates.
To achieve the endless goal of reaching the next station, you’ll dispose of your trusty axe and pickaxe, and a bucket that tends to stay as hidden and far away as possible so you won’t be able to find it in a time of need when half your train caught fire. Between you and up to three more players, you must chop wood, mine iron, and use it on the different wagons the train offers to: make tracks, auto-gather resources, auto-mine, get a compass, get light at night, and a long etcetera.
On the lower difficulties, the resources are plentiful. You don’t need to worry about running out every so often, but once you crank it up to med/hard, oh boy, will you need to save those precious resources for more challenging times: you find yourself walking amongst sky-high piles of wood and iron, unexpectedly cross a river at night and when the sun comes out you find yourself in a barren waste with no trees nor iron deposits, having left your previous island behind with all those fat stacks lying around, unreachable. The difficulty of the game is not only the train’s speed and its tendency to derail if left unwatched. But also the screen’s movement with the train, locking behind you anything that doesn’t get picked up and moved forward along the tracks, including your three tools, that if you lose will most likely mean you’ve lost that round without them.
I’ve tried out the game by myself, with one and with two mates. The beauty of Unrailed! is that by adding more players, it doesn’t mean it makes it easier. It just swifts some difficulty from the resource managing side, allowing for a more “relaxed” experience, but it makes it harder individually to get stuff done as there is only one pickaxe, one axe, and one bucket. You might want to open that new way through the forest, but another player uses it to gather some wood closer to the train, so you’ll have to wait your turn. When you play with your mates, the hard part of the game isn’t derailing the train. It’s an efficient and proper use of resources. If you decide to play alone, a bot will join you, and you’ll be able to control him with the emote wheel.
Every time you reach a new station, you are granted with screws: one per station, one per secondary mission per station (e.g., only one player can use the axe, build less than X tracks, …) and a hidden, hard to get to yellow screw somewhere in the level per station. With these screws, you can upgrade your suicidal train with the abovementioned wagons and stat upgrades for existing ones.
The only persistent unlocks for the game, as when you derail, you’ve got to start from the beginning, are character skins. By reaching more stations, you will unlock new player skins, some new models, and some recolors of other already unlocked ones.
Music and graphics:
The music is nice, not bad, but nothing memorable either. Sometimes it stops altogether, leaving the game a bit empty. The characters make different sounds when bumped into, but there’s no voice acting whatsoever.
Graphics-wise, the game looks good, an 8-bit style that some people instantly hate for they are reminded of old games and think that this must be a crappy, bland game… WRONG! Graphics don’t make or break a game, but they tend to help.
Nothing announced so far.
A solid indie coop game as it is with some more content on the way, according to the devs, a trustworthy studio (Daedalic Entertainment), that keeps you glued to the keyboard thinking “just one more station” until you check the clock and its 2 am, again. Best played with a couple of mates, as most of these games are, but playable alone or with randoms thanks to the simple emote system.
- Original approach to cooperative games.
- Huge replayability thanks to the random map generation and secondary missions.
- Fair price.
- Playable alone, with randoms or friends.
- Ranges from easy to extremely challenging.
- Great “one more turn” sensation when playing it.
- Might be hard to find players outside peak times.
- If played always alone, you miss a big part of the coop side.
- The music is kind of bland and turns off randomly.
- The controls are fairly more comfortable on controller than keyboard and mouse.
Written by Gañan
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