Over the years we’ve seen many different types of survival games whether it be surviving in a zombie world like 7 Days to Die, surviving in the cold wilderness in The Long Dark, and more. Trying to keep a train alive may seem like a weird idea but that’s exactly what publisher Daedalic Entertainment and developer Indoor Astronaut have gone for with their new game Unrailed! Grab your friends and your mining tools because you’re going to need them to keep this train running.
In Unrailed! there is but one goal: keep your train running on the tracks for as long as you can. This game can be played by yourself but it’s much more fun to grab some friends to play with you. You can play with 2-4 players cooperatively either locally or online or if you’d rather compete you can split into two-man teams and play against each other.
Jumping into the gameplay you’ll find that this is a game that keeps you on your toes. The players have to build the train tracks themselves and the train won’t wait on you to do it. To build the tracks you have to gather resources using either your axe or pickaxe. The axe is used to chop trees that will give you wood while the pickaxe is used for collecting stone. Once you gather the materials you need you have to put them on the carriage of the train which will then give you the track pieces to lay down. If you don’t lay them down fast enough though the train will be derailed and then it’s game over.
Starting off the train doesn’t move very fast so you should have time to gather what you need to get that track laid down. As the train moves along it will reach train stations and at these periods you are allowed to purchase upgrades for the train and new carriages for it. When you move on from that station the train will pick up speed and this continues to be the case for each subsequent station that you reach meaning that it gets harder and harder to keep it going the longer you play. Some of those upgrades that you buy can be really helpful though as you’ll be able to slow down the train, craft things faster, reduce overheating issues (more on that below), and more.
It isn’t just laying the track down that you have to worry about either as some other things will pop up that need to be dealt with. One of those things can be your engine overheating which will require you to get water with your bucket to throw on it to cool it off. Bandits will appear to steal your stuff so you’ll have to chase them off to prevent them from doing so. Then you have rivers that you’ll need to build a bridge over for the train to cross. All of these things can be challenging enough to deal with when your train starts moving faster but then you’ll find yourself in a new environment and face even more challenges. A snowy environment causes your movement speed to slow while a desert environment makes it more likely that the train’s engine will overheat. Unrailed! is simple in its concept but becomes quite challenging and stressful the longer you survive.
For most of my time playing the game I played it with my wife but I did try out the solo mode for a little. You get a bot to work with you when playing alone and have the ability to give it orders on what to do. It worked fine but having to take time to issue orders via controls will never be as effective as being able to communicate with a real player and so I highly recommend playing in co-op if you can. The versus mode in the game is 2v2 and gives each team its own train. My problem with this mode though is that it’s a race to see who can get their train to the station first. If the mode let you compete until one team’s train derailed first that would’ve been much more entertaining. The way it is now it just gets old kind of fast.
The blocky voxel art style in Unrailed! is colorful and charming and fits the simple concept that the game has going for it. The camera in the game does make it a little hard to see resources and your tools at times though so I wish it was a bit better. The sound effects and music were fine but nothing really memorable so I didn’t notice them that much while playing. Those interested in the trophies will find 46 of them in total including a Platinum. It’s a pretty challenging list that will keep you playing for many hours if you want to add the Unrailed! Platinum to your cabinet.
While it is rather simple overall, I think fans of cooperative experiences will want to give Unrailed! a shot. The concept is a lot of fun and it will take some good communication between you and the other players to get your train as far as it can go. With options for both local and online multiplayer there is no reason for you and some friends not to hop on this train.
*Unrailed! is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and coming soon to Xbox One. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Simple game concept that anyone can pick up and play
- Charming voxel art style
- Really fun to play with friends locally or online
- Several different modes to jump into
- Versus mode isn't quite what I wanted out of it
- Camera makes seeing things tricky sometimes
- Doesn't have a lot of depth for those seeking that