[Review] Unrailed! – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Indoor Astronaut
  • Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Release Date: 23/09/2020
  • Price: £15.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by Daedalic Entertainment

Introducing Unrailed! Nintendo Switch Review

Back in August we caught a brief glimpse of Unrailed! Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase featured a lot of incredible looking titles and I was no less excited about Unrailed, despite the short air time it was given. It looked like a charming multiplayer game that my kids and I would enjoy. Since its release, we’ve gotten to ride the train to nowhere and enjoy an endless landscape of beautiful locales. Continue reading the review to see if it’s worth boarding or if this little indie train gets derailed.

All Aboard!

There isn’t much of a story on offer in Unrailed. If you’re looking at this endless indie title for the next great literary work, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Unrailed is all about quickly jumping into a game with some pals and trying to construct the largest railway imaginable. The catch is, the train rarely stops so you’re constantly trying to stay several steps (or tracks) ahead.

Stay on Track

Unrailed is an endless builder. The world is procedurally generated with occasional train stations as waypoints. It’s up to you to try to conquer these vast lands in one attempt or add a save point every few stations. The save point gives you a little breathing room in case you mess up. Without it, you will have to start over from scratch. As mentioned above, the train moves automatically. You and the other players control an avatar who has to scrounge for resources and build a track before the train derails. There’s trees to chop and iron to mine. Clearing mountains and forests not only give you the raw materials needed to build but also clear a path for your train.

Hazards rear their ugly heads from time to time. The train can overheat so access to water is necessary. Bandits will wander off with your hard chopped timber or other resources and toss them off the map. And the Yeti, don’t even get me started on that brute. Unrailed throws in these annoyances from time to time but ultimately it’s a race against the train and managing the track.

Unrailed is actually pretty straightforward and simplistic in its approach. It doesn’t require a hefty tutorial and only takes a minute to master. That doesn’t keep it from being fun however. My kids eagerly helped me with this review and we had a blast. Especially my son, who was in charge of the TnT. Unrailed does a great job encouraging teamwork and aptly rewards you for a good partnership. It’s a great example of what a fun couch co-op game can do with minimalistic design. There are other modes that let you compete which were enjoyable but we spent most of our time cooperating. And worry not for all the single players. The AI teammate is rather adept with intuitive controls and follows direction. Or you can try your luck online.

Choo Choo and a Boogaloo

The blocky pixel art style is quite charming but did present a few problems with identifying objects. Thankfully the key tools you need have a bubble suspended above them to clearly mark where they were dropped. Additionally, a warning will blare if the screen is about to transition and cause you to lose your trusty pickaxe for good. There are a lot of blocky blokes to pick from when selecting your avatar. It was nice having a lot of options, especially ones so varied as to avoid confusion with mixing up you and your team.

The music was a perfect fit for Unrailed with sublime tones everlasting. The chiptune sounds would drone on in catchy fashion and never got to the point of being overbearing. Most of the time we played it simply echoed in the background while we whittled away at our tasks. It didn’t distract and we never had to alter it in the settings.

Coal in the Fire

Unrailed ran as smoothly as any high powered locomotive on straight tracks. We didn’t run into any bugs or glitches. It is best experienced docked to the big screen for its co-op intentions. Tabletop mode was a bit too hard when trying to navigate the resources scattered across the ground so we opted for the television. 

Final Wrap

Unrailed received little fanfare during the Indie World Showcase but still looked like a little title with a lot of charm. I wasn’t expecting much more than a short romp around the railyard and was pleasantly surprised with the level of engagement and challenges packed in. There are several unlockables and multiple biomes. The replay value is high and the co-op aspect makes it a great game for friends and families. The price may scare a few away but Unrailed is a surprisingly deep gem worth embarking with.

Kid’s Corner Impressions

Pros

  • Catchy Tunes
  • Fun Co-op Teamwork
  • Replayable

Cons

  • Graphics can get in the way
  • Not as fun playing alone

Verdict
Unrailed! has a gameplay loop that chugs along in perfect harmony so long as you have a team who works well together.

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