A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players are encouraged to cooperate and communicate with each other in order to achieve success. Both strategic planning and fast thinking are rewarded.
Positive Role Models
Characters simply gather resources and build track to keep a train moving safely. Players can make their characters express emotions such as anger or happiness through simple emojis.
Ease of Play
The controls and objectives are very simple, and a tutorial provides a bit of practice before jumping into a live game with others. Success depends on the difficulty selected and the experience and skill of the people playing.
Violence & Scariness
Players can attack stick figures with an axe to break them into little blocks and make them disappear.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Unrailed! is a cooperative time management game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game tasks players to harvest nearby resources in order to build tracks and keep a slow moving train from derailing. Play encourages teamwork and communication (through simple emojis or, optionally, Discord) as players work together to chop down trees, mine metal, build tracks and bridges, and put out fires that start on train cars. Strategy and planning pay off, but so does quick, calm thinking when things become hectic. It's very easy to learn to play, but success on harder difficulties requires practice and skill.
Is It Any Good?
If you're looking for a game that won't break the bank, is easy to learn, quick to play, and fosters friendly social interactions between players, this will probably do the trick. Unrailed! has refreshingly welcoming presentation and personality. A cleverly designed menu and lobby system sees players moving their cute, blocky characters around the screen to modify settings and make selections. Once you begin playing, you'll be dropped into a colorful, randomly generated, Minecraft-like environment that quickly and efficiently relays all the visual information players need to get started, including where the train needs to go, what can be mined and harvested, and what's going to prove problematic, getting in the way of player movement and the track's construction. It's a delightfully simple design that most players will intuitively understand in moments, but which also has nuances that can take hours to master.
The best way to play is with others -- ideally a group of friends in the same room, so you can use more than just emojis to quickly communicate what needs doing. (Playing alone with a computer-controlled bot is a good way to get the hang of things without any social pressure, but there's only so much your AI helper can do.) Tasks may be simple to understand and execute, but coordination among team members is absolutely vital. The downside of this simplicity is that parts of the game grow a little tedious after a while. Randomly generated levels go some way towards keeping things fresh, and earning new characters and train upgrades provide something to strive toward, but in the end you're always doing the same thing -- and starting over from scratch when you fail. That said, Unrailed! isn't really meant to encourage deep strategy and epic play sessions. What it wants is to be simple, accessible, cooperative, and social, and in these modest ambitions, it succeeds splendidly.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.