Nov 18, 2016
You might not believe you have a New World pioneering spirit deep down inside, but The Trail, a new-ish game under the Kongregate banner, just might have you doubting that surety.
This one has some great pedigree too, being another Peter Molyneux production; this one definitely reaches for the inner pilgrim; it’s set in a what feels like a newly populated land, and the player takes on the persona of one of the brave souls looking to make their fortune in the mostly uncharted territory.
The game begins with a very detailed, extensive tutorial; it leads one through selecting a character, and then gives the hint of a backstory which involves the player arriving in the new land by ship. Thereafter, the game leads the player through the activities that hopefully ensure success. With the use of an in-game guide, the game slowly comes to life.
There is a lot of exploration; there are target destination in place, and the core idea is to make it to the checkpoints, replenish the life-source, and continue on. Secondary to that, there are plenty of mini-tasks to accomplish. One is collecting materials as one travels the pathways. This is very important, because this supplies the entire game, and involves things like collecting edibles and other things which can be crafted for trades.
This collection element is interestingly layered. After a while, one gets to do stuff like hack tree stumps and/or hunt game. There is also a resource management aspect; there is limited space to collect materials, so one needs to know what to carry or discard. Does one item have better trade-in or crafting value than another? Energy depletion is a real danger, so does one have an emergency snack onboard? Decisions, decisions…
These opportunity costs really make the game interesting. Stuff can be expedited with real cash, but play can go on without it. Progress unlocks more and more stuff, and the game continually unfolds, which is surprising for something that, at first glance, looks like a gingerly walk along the path. Take the trading battles for instance; losing is not to be condoned!
It comes together nicely; the graphics feel stilted at times, but the visuals do the job of adequately conveying the gameplay. All in all, it is easy to enjoy, and tough to put down; the combination of action, strategy and management make it easy to get addicted to.