Unrailed tasks you and a few friends with scrambling to build a track ahead of your train as it chugs along, finding the items you need to craft more tracks before you crash.
Unrailed puts you and a few pals in a lush field or snowswept mountain, tasking you with creating the tracks for your train. No one seems to have told the conductor this, as the train just keeps moving on down whatever track is before it, even if it abruptly ends at a mountain or river. The train isn’t in a big hurry, mind you, but you’ll still find yourself scrambling to get the materials you need to get some tracks put together in a flurry.
You’d think this would be a simple task for four people to do, but each of you need to communicate and take on varied roles as you struggle to get that track together. Creating track requires a few materials, which some party members need to to start collecting and bringing back to the train. Meanwhile, someone needs to start digging through the mountains and woods that block the train’s path. And again, you’d think four people could manage this, but at Pax East, we bumbled our way to many a train crash.
The train, while moving slowly, puts a constant pressure on all the players, which seems to induce screw-ups. You’ll find yourself scrambling to throw tracks down anywhere they’ll fit to keep from smashing into something, but this rushing may lead you to build the track so that it leads into other hazards. There’s not a lot of time to grab items and build paths while also optimizing your route, so much of Unrailed plays on the verge of panic, creating many silly mistakes.
It’s a delightful kind of panic, though, turning track building into a silly party game as everyone shouts orders and actions at one another. Even among strangers, we were hollering and laughing at the screen as various people tried to find wood and steel to use in the track building while another desperately carved a passage through mountains, with the locomotive only a few pixels away.
Unrailed was a frantic experience, but one that felt clear in its goals. It was on us to get it right, and whether we failed or saved the train, it was always a good time. With the added exploration elements and characters that are coming to the full version, it’s looking like track laying might be your next fun party game.
Unrailed is projected to release on Early Access in Summer 2019, but in the meantime, you can follow its creation on the developer’s site.