Unrailed! is a deceptively simple and innocent game at first glance. The main premise is that you and your friends (or robot friend if you have no real life friends) must lay down enough tracks for the train to reach the station. There’s only one small problem, the train doesn’t stop moving and only gets faster as you progress in the game. It’s one of those games where it can make or break friendships.
The game really only has a few simple tasks. You must gather wood by chopping down trees, gather ore by mining rocks, deposit said resources onto the train where it will automatically produce tracks, and take those tracks and lay them down. The occasional bucket of water will need to be dumped onto the train to cool it down and prevent it from bursting into flames. It sounds so simple on paper but the reality of trying to clear a path for the train to get to its destination is something akin to having to juggle a herd of angry porcupines.
The game tries to keep players sane by letting them collect a total of three bolts in each level, one by completing a random objective such as requiring that only one person touch the pickaxe, another by finding it on the map itself, usually surrounded by trees or rocks, and the last by making it to the station. Once you make it to the station, you can spend the bolts adding or upgrading the cars on the train in the vain hope that it will make the game easier.
As you progress, the train will only get faster and the only way to slow it down is to purchase a new train and proceed to the next biome. Each biome has lovely new ways to test your bonds of friendship, such as the desert, where camels will come and drink the water in your bucket, making it difficult to keep the train cool in the hot weather. There’s also the snow biome, where snow makes movement very difficult and yetis come out of nowhere to slam you into the ground. Truly a crucible of sorts.
Overall, Unrailed! is a pleasantly simple yet extremely challenging co-op game that will produce hours and hours of fun for you and your friends. The game is great in that the mechanics are very simple and easy to grasp yet so very difficult to master. Even with the challenge, it engages the players enough that people want to return and try again to see how much further they can go.