Bounty Train Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Bounty Train Preview




Alright, on a show of hands, how many of you have played any Wild West games that you thought were awesome? Ok, now exclude any that were 3rd or 1st person shooters? I mean I can’t see you, not yet anyway, but I figure that most of your hands have gone down. Which if you think about it, is pretty interesting. Why hasn’t anyone created anything other than, well let’s face it, Red Dead Redemption?

Well, a group of someones has finally come up with something a bit more unique than riding horses and shooting up saloons. Indie developer Corbie Games takes a look at the bigger picture of what the Wild West really was and have put together some of the best highly intensive micromanagement gameplay you’ll find in any Wild West genre. Bounty Train is a simulation and strategy game where you take control of a steam engine and ride it all over the developing United States. Though it just recently opened up to the public and is still very much in beta, Bounty Train is attractive and offers the player plenty to do, with much more still being developed.

As of now, there is only one type of campaign. You play as Walter Reed, the son of a businessman who owned the majority of shares in a train company, which means he was head honcho. Your father has recently died, though, and you have come to claim what he has left you. Only to find that he has left you with an old steam engine and but a small amount of shares in his company. It’s your job now to travel the states to find and unite the rest of your family. There is more going on behind the scenes, though, as with your father’s passing, a despicable plan has set the course of the company onto a very murky path. With the rest of your family reunited, combined, you will have majority shares and will be able to set the company back onto its originally intended path and make your late father proud.

If that doesn’t sound much, well, you’d be right. Campaign-wise, Bounty Train doesn’t have much to offer. There is nothing to keep you going on your quest, as well as there is no reward at the end. As a matter of fact, the end of the campaign you’ll simply get a screen stating that it’s “The End.” As anticlimactic as that sounds, it’s not so much the campaign that will keep you wanting to play, but the game itself.

Currently, there is only so much you can do, but a whole lot of space to do it in. You start with an old and slow steam engine, with a small cargo car and a small passenger car. Essentially, the bare minimum. But, should you trade correctly, do some simple transportation quests and supply towns with goods that they need, you’ll get a decent amount of cash to spend on whatever your heart desires. With plenty of different engines and a huge amount of cars for you to choose from, you’ll be spending plenty of time getting your train to be perfect.

Bounty Train will have you running into different groups of people along the rails throughout your gameplay. There will be the usual Native Americans and Bandits, as well as Union and Confederate soldiers. This is during the civil war after all. Each of them will want something from you, and you can either appease them with cash, or you can straight up fight them, and this is where all that time getting your crew and train together pays off. In a style similar to FTL: Faster Than Light, you are controlling your train and crew in real time. You will need someone pumping coal into the heater to keep the train moving while the others defend against all those who wish to see you crash and burn. The crew is controlled via a grid, requiring you to position them all over the train while the enemies shoot you from horseback or try to board your engine and take you on up close and personal. As of now, this is just about all there is to do, but there is a promise of cool upgrades for your cars, featuring all sorts of armor and guns to fight off whatever comes your way. Currently, there are cannons barges and Gatling guns that certain cars come with but are so far unusable. But that’s ok, Bounty Train has just come out, and this is more of a tease than just another upset in a video game.

As for graphics, well, they look great. Towns are fleshed out, and each one looks different from the other. The over map looks colorful and big, and each engine and car has its own distinct look to it. A lot has gone into the art style of Bounty Train and it pays off. It’s simple, but everything runs smooth and fits the period very well.

Controls are also fairly simple; they are easy to figure out but difficult to master. As you are controlling your men to shoot bandits or put out fires, you are also controlling the train itself, trying to outrun any danger coming your way, but also making sure you don’t run your train off the tracks. At first, you’ll be spending a lot of money making repairs because you forgot to slow down at a turn, or there was a fire that was burning out of control because you were focusing on the fight. It doesn’t feel cheap or unfair; it just makes you strive to be better and to have a clearer understanding of how your personal train works.

Speaking of understanding your train, each engine is a replica of an actual locomotive consistent with the given period. If you are interested in the technology of the late 1800’s, Bounty Train will feed you information about its engines, and will even link you to Wikipedia pages if trains really are your thing.

As of now, Bounty Train has plenty to offer to catch your eye, and if you are interested in beta games, this one is worth purchasing now and watching it grow. The first update is coming soon, which hopefully will bring a wave of new content that’s just begging to be accessed. It’s a great start, and I’m excited to see how far Bounty Train will go.