Hectic co-op fun in the vein of Overcooked.

Title: Unrailed
Platform: PC (Previewed)
Developer: Indoor Astronaut
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment, Bilibili.
Price: Steam £13 / $17
Release date: Out now.
TL;DR: Co-op railway construction chaos.
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

Unrailed is a co-op railway construction game from developers Indoor Astronaut and publishers Daedalic Entertainment and Bilibili. Available now on PC via Steam Early Access you and a friend (or random stranger) can help to transport an engine and its carriages between stations and see how far you can get before it all just derails and bursts into flames.

Once you boot-up the game you’re presented with an isometric looking menu-select screen which instantly gives off a polished feel. The graphics look crisp and the way you select options and game modes are unique and operate smoothly. To perform any interaction with the options you must manoeuvre your tiny avatar over your choice before you can select anything.

There is NO single-player option for Unrailed currently, but scouting for info suggests that there will be a single-player option available in a future build later on down the line in the early access period. Although I prefer co-op games, a single-player version of Unrailed would be great for a little relaxing personal playtime.

There is a handy tutorial mode that allows you to get used to the gameplay and controls and this can be accessed by going to Start Game> Local> Play Tutorial. You can use the keyboard or a controller to play Unrailed with up to four players running around in co-op for some great hectic gaming.

The aim of the game is to see how far you can travel when you try to get your engine and carriages from one train station to another. You have to lay down train tracks so that your train doesn’t run out of line and derail into a little explosive burst of blocks, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

The blocky environment is similar to a small section of Minecraft and operates in a similar fashion. You are gifted with some starting resources to begin crafting your initial tracks and then the materials must continue to be farmed using a shared pickaxe and axe. Trees provide the wood and the lighter coloured rock can be mined to provide the metal.

You must work with your co-op partner/s to continually farm the resources needed to produce railway tracks and to also remove obstacles in your path – you’ll even need to scare away brigands that attempt to steal your hard-earned materials.

Each level consists of getting from one station to another, and it’s up to you what path you take. You can choose to go straight as the crow flies, or perhaps take the path of least resistance. You don’t have much time to choose your route as the train starts to move within 5 seconds of the map generating, so it’s definitely best for you and your team to be on comms so that you can rapidly plan which way you want to start laying the tracks.

After a few trial attempts, it soon became clear that one or more of you have to constantly be collecting the materials for the train track creation, all whilst clearing the path of any obstructions and making sure you have access to water so that you can fill up your bucket and put out any flames when your train inevitably overheats and catches fire.

The gameplay may be simple and repetitive but the timing and pacing of the train give it the perfect level of hecticness that has made players compare Unrailed to the likes of games like Overcooked. Watching yourself and your teammates run around like headless chickens as the train is about to run out of tracks is brilliant.

Currently, you can play co-op local or online and versus, with the endless co-op mode being my favourite. As you traverse through the levels you encounter night, fog, and different environmental terrain from the countryside to snowy and lava-covered terrain. Reaching checkpoint stations also earns you the ability to upgrade and add new engines and carriages to your train.

Overall I really enjoyed my time with Unrailed and am really looking forward to playing more and seeing what else the developers have to offer over its early access period on Steam. The only issue I came across was waiting for random players to join rooms whilst in online mode, but that was not enough to sour my time spent with Unrailed.

The Good:

  • Addictive Gameplay.
  • Simplicity.
  • Controller Support.

The Bad:

  • Lack of single-player mode.
  • Menu screens can be annoying if the other participant mucks about.

Family Focus

ESRB: No Rating as of yet for this preview. PEGI: No Rating as of yet for this preview.

A very family-friendly game with an emphasis on cooperation.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a early access build of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.