Unrailed! is another co-op game that’s best played with a partner. I’ve been going through the game with my partner-in-track-building for the past week, and I’ve found myself ever so slightly addicted to the game. It’s good. Really good.
Unrailed! is simple and there is just one goal: build tracks fast from one station to another. It sounds simple enough but there’s a twist: the train doesn’t wait for passengers, nevermind tracks. It’s moving as you build the tracks in front of it. If you’re not quick enough laying down tracks, the train will, well, it will de-rail. Obviously.
To make things a little harder, you need to actually build the track pieces yourself, and to do this you need to collect just two resources: stone and wood. You’re given just two tools to use; a pickaxe for collecting stone, and an axe for chopping down trees and collecting wood. The resources need to be gathered and placed on the train’s carriage, which will in turn, churn out track pieces for you to place. Very simple.
But, there’s more. The train gets ever so slightly faster each time you reach a new station, meaning you’ll have to be efficient and plan ahead. Poor planning could leave you trapped without access to tools, resources, or even the train. Then you’ve got bandits to contend with, too, as these bad guys will mooch around and try to steal your stuff while your back is turned. You don’t have to fight them, though, just run over and they’ll drop whatever they’ve nicked. Little buggers.
Then there’s the overheating problem. The train’s engines run hot, and you need to make sure they’re cool enough. This is marked on the train by the blue carriage. Once it starts turning red, you need to throw some water in to cool it down. You’re given a bucket which can be filled with water and it’s that simple.
As the train moves along the screen from left to right, the scenery changes and anything left behind is lost. Keeping your essential items – the axe, pickaxe, and bucket – ahead of this is vital, otherwise, you will lose.
Communication is key, at least if you’re playing with another person, which really is the best way to play. But, if you have no friends, you can always play in single-player with an A.I helper. In my experience, this wasn’t ideal and it certainly wasn’t as much fun as playing with a partner.
I roped in my other half for this review and she turned out to be a decent gatherer. We would start each level with her collecting wood, and me collecting stone. Then, once we’d got a few tracks down ahead of us, she would take over all collection duties while I maintained the heat and track building.
There are upgrades that you can get by earning golden bolts, too, and these help plenty the further along you build your track. You can upgrade the systems so it doesn’t overheat so fast, or you can get a light attachment that will let you see in the dark, among others. The upgrades are good and it felt like every time we added a component or swapped one out, we got a real benefit in gameplay.
We’re a good team and we did well, but as the pressure rose and the stress came out, I was threatened with a) no PS5 this year (not that it’s looking likely anyway) and b) sleeping on the sofa. She’s really not great at punishments – the sofa is my favourite place in the house, it has all the consoles and the TV in front of it, and it’s a shorter walk to the fridge. Unfortunately, I was not banished to the sofa as we persevered and we had a great time doing so.
Unlike Overcooked, which has caused a few meltdowns in Casa de Chris, Unrailed! is a very chilled experience. It’s minimalist and very tranquil, and despite there being some challenges, it’s an easy game to sit down and shoot the breeze with.
Unrailed! is a weird little game but in a good way. I know that I’ll be playing more with the Missus in the future. I’m hoping we can get to a point where I’m finally sent to sleep on the sofa for a lad’s night on the couch with sweets and games…
Unrailed! PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Unrailed! is a simple game with a simple premise, but it’s got enough going for it that it makes for a great couch co-op game. Single-player, not so much.
- Really easy to pick up and play, meaning people who don’t usually play games can hop in an get involved with relative ease
- Not too hard, not too easy – a fair balance
- Lovely music that drops in and out
- Some extra control over the game’s camera would have been appreciated
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.