Unrailed! is a railroad-building game that has you making tracks as a train is persistently moving forward. If you’re too slow, the train derails and your run comes to a spectacularly destructive end. It’s loads of fun.

Unrailed! was clearly designed to be a cooperative experience, but for those playing solo, it offers an A.I. robot companion to help you out. This works in your favor sometimes, but it can also work against you if you’re not careful.

The thing about the robot is that you have to micromanage it constantly. If you instruct it to chop wood, for example, you’ll look away for a second and all of a sudden a whole forest has been defoliated. And mining? That sucker will tear down a mountain before you can say “The Little Engine That Could.”

The thing is, you can actually use this to your advantage. For instance, if you want to run your rail through a mountain, the robot can carve out a nice big canyon for you. The same can be said of forests. Nothing stands in your way when your robot has a pickaxe or an axe.


Of course, when it comes to other tasks, it’s kind of useless. If the robot has already chopped all of the trees and mined all of the iron available, you can set it to gather these materials and feed them into your rail-building cart. That’s pretty useful. But if you want it to build rails, you have to give it very detailed instructions on where exactly to build. It actually takes more time to micromanage this process than to just handle it yourself.

And there are other tasks that the robot just seems inefficient at. It’s fine at putting out fire if you assign it the bucket, but fires are infrequent enough that it will mostly stand idle unless you reassign it to something else. And this feels like an unnecessary extra step in the process.

I haven’t figured out how to get the robot to build bridges yet either. And god forbid you put the task of planting dynamite in the metal hands of this silver sidekick.

For basic tasks, like chopping wood, mining ore, and gathering, Unrailed!‘s robot companion seems alright. But for anything beyond that, you’re much better off just doing it yourself. Or better yet, calling up a friend and building rails together. After all, co-op is where Unrailed! shines brightest.

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