12 May 2014

Organ Trail: Director's Cut (2012)

Game score: 70%
Platform: Steam, PC

Zombies are IN for quite a while now and this game has been around for a few years as well. It was originally made as a parody of Oregon Trail, a really old game that had numerous re-releases (it was made in 1971 and had like 10 incarnations so far) that allowed a player to experience the settling in western United States. Organ Trail was a free flash/browser game that had a lot of fans, so the creators started a Kickstarter campaign to make a Director's Cut as a fully commercial title. After the funds were collected the game was made and is now available for Steam and mobile devices.

As the game starts you are given a station wagon with some limited supplies (food, scrap for car repairs, a few spare tires, mufflers, car batteries, medical kits...) and 4 companions. Your goal: reach safe haven at the west and survive the zombie apocalypse. The whole game is set around random events that occur as you travel from one city/settlement to another while scavenging supplies, trading with other people, fighting off zombie attacks, escaping gangs that are after your supplies etc. Each hour that passes (in a matter of 2 seconds) is a possible trigger for a random event and they vary from simple weather changes that can slow you down to encounters with all kinds of people (these trigger classic text adventure kind of stories).

Settlements offer a place to rest and trade and you can also get a job to earn some more supplies or money (arcade shootouts with zombies or bandits). Each city has a car shop that can upgrade your station wagon or a combat school to enhance your own abilities. Don't forget to refuel as well or you will get stranded in the middle of nowhere and forced to trade when you don't really want to.

The game looks and feels as if it was made in early 1980s and that gives it a specific charm. But don't let it turn you away! Seriously, it's kinda cute to have such a game in 2014 (or 2012, when it was made), a game that relies on gameplay rather than on awesome graphics. It's a lot of fun with all those events that may or may not occur, but it does have its limits. I completed it 4-5 times and it lost its charm - once you figure out the best way to gather supplies, when and where to sell them and what to buy instead - it gets real easy. True, there are difficulty levels but even the hardest one is hard only at the start. As for the zombie combat, I'll give you a tip: when you want to shoot a zombie click on the zombie and hold the mouse button as you drag it towards your avatar. It's a direct hit in 95% of cases.

I haven't played the mobile version (I got it as well, but I just never cared much for mobile games) so I can't say much about it. From what I saw online it's quite popular and people who own it love it! Give this game a chance, it's fun even though it's very limited.

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