We’ve seen a lot of co-op survival games before, but keeping your train alive is definitely new. Having seen an early release last year on PC, Unfolded Now moving to Switch for full release. Developed by Indoor Astronaut, it offers a simple premise and you have to prevent your train from crashing, guiding it to a nearby station. Allowing 2 to 4 players to participate, Unrailed turns out to be quite pleasant, but in the end, there is not much else.
Levels begin with a slow-paced train gradually lining towards the end of the tracks, taking place in a procedurally generated world that incorporates a day and night cycle with additional weather effects. To create new tracks, each location offers trees to cut down and usable iron deposits. Cooperation between players is essential as there is only one of each tool and the materials need to be packed in your cash wagon when mining. Once wrapped up, the crafting happens automatically and all you have to do is pick them up and make your way to the trail.
If you derail the progress will reset and while it can be slightly frustrating, there is an optional checkpoint mode that allows you to restart at the first station to avoid losing a lot of progress. Your train’s engine will also start to overheat over time, igniting if left unattended, and as you might expect, wagons are unusable in this state. This is an easy fix and there is always a bucket available to throw water in, quickly hosing it down. Eventually you will reach the next station which offers new cars and upgrades.
Primarily, this is designed for co-op and the indoor astronaut has included local and online multiplayer. Online allows you to communicate with others through an emoji system that signals what you need to do to players, although this is quite limited. Aside from your default Quick Play, there’s also a sandbox mode that lets you customize your train with anything that was previously unlocked. If you’re feeling more competitive, the versus mode is also present, putting you in two teams to see who the better track builder is. Unrailed provides an AI character for those who play solo, who follows commands using the same emoji system, and unlike online play, it works surprisingly well.
Despite a well-executed premise and a pleasing blocky visual aesthetic, Unrailed is ultimately a game of short duration. It tries to promote replayability with a built-in achievement system, leaderboards, and different modes, but that doesn’t mask a lack of depth in the core gameplay. It’s always an enjoyable experience, and while single-player play doesn’t hold you back for too long, if you can muster a group of friends to join, it’s a cooperative game worth looking into.