Bounty-Train-Early-Access-Review Bounty Train Early Access Review

   09/09/2015 at 17:59       Clayton Clive       0 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - rouge, FTL, Strategy, Steam, Train

Bounty Train is chugging along the tracks of early access and I have a lot of hope it will arrive at or pretty close to its promised destination...

Bounty Train is best described as FTL in 1861, pinning a genre on something isn't always easy, I guess if it's too tough for you, go with rouge-like. There is a basic non-linear back story, you inherit a train from your father, his shares in a proposed trans-American railroad have been split between you and your siblings, you need to find them, obviously they are in the Deep South, on the east coast, and as far west as the railroad will carry you, typical family all trying to get as far away from one another as possible. Once you have hunted down your siblings by riding the rails you can dictate the fate of your father's business venture, you have about 2 years in game time to do this, which gives you a decent game length, after a good hour I had just got through a month. Just like FTL it is a permadeath game, so what you are really looking for here is re-playability. 

In its current state character interaction is flat and repetitive, it's bare bones stuff, I can see it, and I am okay with it, it's just bit early access, you have to be reasonable, maybe I will say that a lot, but a lot of features are to be added, a list is easily found on the Steam page. Looks promising. As you chug around you need dollar to pay for track rights, to pay off natives, unless you want to attempt to slaughter them, you need coal, repairs, upgrades and so on. To earn this cash you can take jobs from a city, deliver stuff or find stuff to supply them with, or you can look at the markets and have a go trading yourself, you can offer passengers a ride and you can also offer folk on the station platforms a job if they tell you they are looking for work, this adds an RPG element, as you play these guys will level up and learn new skills. Oddly passenger coaches only carry one passenger, it seems like a fruitless endeavour. I would like to see the ability to haul a coach full of passengers, the risk that they could all be murdered by bandits or natives severely damaging to your reputation. Historical events will also play out, and you can manage your relationships with the Confederacy and Union, if you pay the natives they will invite you to their camps and the same goes for the bandits. 

I have found Bounty Train to be enjoyable and addictive. Once you have selected your route on the map, a little locomotive chugs along tracks to your destination, you are only interrupted if you are attacked. That is then the situation where you get to control the iron horse rather than just manage. The controls are simple, a basic accelerate and brake on a beautiful designed speedometer and pressure gauge, if the pressure gets too high, you can give the whistle a blast or risk your engine blowing, you also must watch your speed on corners derailing, just like blowing the engine will take time to repair leaving you vulnerable to attack if still in enemy territory. Whilst in combat you can move your crew around, but you need someone to shovel coal if you want to keep moving, bandits and natives will attempt to board you, even trying to unhook coaches. Combat is the highlight of the game and it works well, move your guys around and you get a visual of where they can fire, move them into cover whilst they slowly reload, move them to where repairs are needed or a fire might need putting out. I would just like more challenges in the driving department and again just a little more variety.

I see lots of potential here for a great game, aesthetically I love it, full release is estimated for 2016. If you go for early access stuff, I don't see you getting burned by the devs, early access is a risk you take yourself, no one will force you. I think you have an enjoyable game here in its most early  playable form and as more variety gets added, it will become more enjoyable and re-playable, as it stands I can't say I would be motivated to replay after my death immediately, like I jump in for another round of FTL. But I certainly will come back, and as more content is added it can only get better to replay, it's going to be an investment if you buy Bounty Train. Then you have to go along for the ride to watch the scenery change.

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