Everybody loves a quality indie title and that is exactly what you get with Indoor Astronaut’s Unrailed! Heck, I even found it more enjoyable than some AAA titles that are currently on the market. It just goes to show that you don’t need the flashy realistic graphic to make a truly engaging and fantastic game experience. The lovable art style and fast-paced gameplay will keep you hooked and playing for hours whether that be by yourself or with others online or locally. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a PC copy of the game and this review will cover my overall opinion on Unrailed!
The game doesn’t have a storyline, more of an agenda, which is for the players to collect wood, iron and water. You use the wood and iron to create track so that the train can travel between stations and the water is used to cool down the train to prevent it from overheating and catching on fire. Unrailed! is probably one of the most simplistic games on the market and yet is up there with my top recommended games for 2020.
Unrailed! is as easy to pick up and play as it is to get your head around the mechanics, simply use WSAD to move, Left Shift to dash and space bar to pick up and drop things. When playing locally, you use the same keyboard as the other player, but they use the Up, Down, Right and left arrows to move, enter to pick up and drop things and then Right Shift to dash. The only thing I noticed with this is that you have to have enough space around your keyboard so that both players can seat and play comfortably. With my office chair being on the bulky side it was a bit difficult trying to get both parties around the same keyboard but eventually, we managed to come to an arrangement but it sadly had me sitting on a fold-out chair. The players have a pickaxe, axe and bucket which are all the tools you need when playing Unrailed!, use the axe to chop down wood, the pickaxe to mine iron and the bucket to collect water. Here is the catch, there are only one each of these tools, which means only one player can carry these tools at a time. Communication is key to success as well as managing your resources to make sure that you never run out of track.
Once you have chopped some trees down and mined some iron you can take these to your crafting wagon so that it can make track for you and your fellow players to lay the way to the next station. Along the way, you’ll come across bolts that when collected can be used to upgrade your wagons or even your train, just by getting your train to another station you’ll be rewarded with bolts. Use these wisely as they are limited but can be used to make your lives easier than certain wagons can hold more resources, light up the night and give you directions on where the next station is. When you upgrade your train, you get access to new landscapes, there is a Snowy one, desert one and a Grassland one, to name a few, each with new challenges and dangers. You can come across Camels, Yetis and Cows that can clog up the map and make it harder to get from station to station or you can come across bandits and otherworldly creatures that will steal your resources and dump them off the map. These add to the already stressful gameplay because when you’re running out of track and are frantically running around trying to craft new track, having a bandit rob your resources or a camel get in your way isn’t the best scenario for your team or yourself.
To make matters even worse, the train will keep moving, so if you run out of track the train crashes and its game over. So not only do you have to manage your time, communicate with your team you have to make sure the train doesn’t derail. You get a small delay when it’s about to leave the station but that isn’t even enough time to take a sip of your tea. The game is non-stop right up until the train derails or you save and call it a day. Personally, I love playing with other players, my other half, her sister or random people online, it just makes it easier to manage and get the whole team working like clockwork. You can play on your own but you have an AI player who does its own thing up until you tell it to do something or tell it to prioritise certain tasks. I find this way too stressful and makes me feel like I’m back at work trying to micro-manage someone which is funny but ultimately has me pulling my hair out when it comes to carrying track but doesn’t lay it or doesn’t know where to put it. It’s quite comical but I can only take so much of it. One of my favourite features with Unrailed! is the way you navigate the menus. It’s like a little mini-game in itself. You use your avatar to run between menus and buttons then when you want to select them you simply stand on them or select them. I know it doesn’t sound that amazing but it’s different than normal menu navigation and it’s something that I enjoyed.
Graphically Unrailed! is very pleasing, it gives off a Minecraft/Roblox sort of vibe which I love and suits the game fully. I love that you have a wide selection of playable characters and can unlock more just by playing the game. Audio in Unrailed! is helpful as the train will start blowing its whistle when it’s about to run out of track which ultimately kicks everyone into panic mode, there is a nice soundtrack there too but you don’t have time to fully enjoy it as you are too busy trying to stop the train from crashing.
Another big plus with Unrailed! is the fact that there is so much replay value. Everyone will have their own playstyle which will make every game you play feel different. Not to mention the fact that the levels are all procedurally generated and offer new challenges every time. If this isn’t enough, you have an array of different modes to sink your teeth into that can get your blood boiling even more. You have quick play which tasks you with trying to get the train to the station in the fastest time, Endless which just has you playing until you get bored or the train crashes, Sandbox which lets you customise the train and the wagon and just play your way and finally Verses. This one is so much fun but challenging at the same time. You have two teams that are tasked with getting their train to the station first and have the same map so that you’re on level playing fields. You can interrupt the other team by dropping dynamite or it could backfire and give them resources to use in building their track. It is so funny and enjoyable as you’re trying so hard to be the first team to finish but at the same time are tripping over each other to make sure it’s all running smoothly. For me, this is my new go-to party game as it is tones of fun and gets you hyped and raring to go. Even though you can only play locally two players if you get a bunch of your friends online up to four players can get together and indulge in the madness.
Unrailed! is a Fantastic game that offers engaging gameplay, loveable moments and the odd friend fallout. Its simplicity is what makes it shine and keeps me going back to it. It is bundles of fun to play with people online or someone in the same house but it lacks when playing on your own as the AI just adds more stress to you than actually helping out, or you just forget about it all together and it ends up just mining or chopping wood all game. For the asking price of £15.99, it is worth every penny and you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth, it’s currently out on PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch and will be coming to the Xbox One soon. Personally, I can’t find a fault with this game apart from the single-player mode but it’s meant to be co-op and when you are playing with others it really is the perfect co-op experience and for that reason, I’m giving Unrailed! a 9 out of 10.
Unrailed! Was developed by Indoor Astronaut and published by Daedalic Entertainment
You can purchase the game on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
This version of the game was reviewed on PC and can be purchased here for £15.99.
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