Indoor Astronaut’s voxel-based railroad-themed crafting puzzler Unrailed! is a fast-paced and addictive game that can crash and burn quickly if you aren’t paying attention. I think the challenge come as a surprise, in part due to its simple, clean indie art design and straightforward gameplay.

The premise of Unrailed! is easy enough to grasp, yet its simplicity belies the fact that there’s a lot going on under the hood here. You play as what I like to imagine is a tiny Cullen Bohannon, tasked with laying down tracks so your locomotive can travel from station to station. Oh, but this locomotive is continuously moving forward with an unflappable faith that you will be successful in your one task. If you’re too slow, all of this ends in a crashing, fiery blaze of non-glory.


In the midst of this process — while you’re busy either gathering resources to build more tracks or clearing passages through mountains and forests and over rivers and lakes — things can go to heck in the blink of an eye. Because as the train moves forward, the screen scrolls with it, so if you aren’t careful you can very easily leave one of your tools behind or even find yourself in an area from which you cannot escape.


Luckily, if you’re playing alone, you have a robot that helps you either by gathering resources or producing tracks — or even laying them. But it is a robot, which means it has a robot brain… which means it too needs constant supervision and micromanaging.

Oh, and did I mention there are random dudes in black suits that totally throw your invaluable resources right off the edge of the map? Like, what the heck, fellas? These black-suited bandits can be dispatched by a few swings of the old trusty axe, but who has the time when THE ENTIRE TRAIN IS ON FIRE AND MY BUCKET IS DARN CLOSE TO BEING LOST OFFSCREEN!!!

To say that Unrailed! can be stressful is an understatement; it’s gosh-darn intense at times. But it is also tightly designed and competent, making this a little game that definitely has an engine that can.

I’ve only played the game for an hour or so and I’m already feeling the intense joys of railway building. I’m really itching to check out the multiplayer, though I haven’t had the chance to do yet. I suspect that having a crew of other living, breathing, thinking human beings would only enhance everything about this game. I can only imagine how frantic and fun Unrailed! can truly be with a posse of railway rapscallions.

Chugga chugga whoo hoo!

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