Railbound is a cute and wholesome puzzle game that takes you on a railroad journey through picturesque scenery and a series of point-and-click puzzles. Railbound was created by Afterburn who also made Inbento and Golf Peaks.
Railbound Carries Charm
They say that first impressions count and we couldn’t agree more. Thankfully, Railbound opened with style and continued throughout the entirety of the game. The music is relaxing and eventually buries itself deep until you find yourself humming the theme tune, long after leaving the computer.
This relentlessly repetitive – but paradoxically charming – background music works to perfectly compliment the fun, clean and cartoony graphics. The simplistic style of Railbound somehow draws you into the world and allows for distraction-free puzzling.
Alongside the annoyingly relaxing background music and the easy-on-the-eye visuals, the protagonists are also adorable. Step into the frame, two cuddly canines. That’s right, in the wonderful world of Railbound they use bipedal dogs to operate their rail system. It must be something to do with their famous work ethic and eagerness to get covered in dirt that makes them the perfect species for such an occupation; we’re unsure. Regardless, these wholesome hounds are the cherry atop the endearing cake.
Always happy to challenge our grey matter, we were keen and eager to get stuck into Railbound. The aim of the game is pretty straightforward: link your carriages to the locomotive. To do this, you need to lay down sections of track that will guide the appendages to their goal, once the ‘GO’ button is clicked.
The game starts off with some smooth and plain sailing. The early puzzles are more of a means to break you into the game than anything else. The ‘challenges’ that present themselves in these early stages are anything but challenging, in fact. However, as we progressed through the game, it wasn’t before long the puzzles began to increase in difficulty.
Railbound has no Timer
The complete lack of time constraints (but your own) paves the way for a stress-free experience. Without a timer, we were free to stop and have a proper think about some of the more puzzling levels. This further added to the relaxing ambiance of the whole Railbound experience and allowed time for some good old-fashioned focused thinking. Were they to add a timer or timed levels at a later date, the game would lose a lot of its appeal. As it stands, however, Railbound is a perfect escape from the real world, into which you could unwind and kill some time.
Longevity and Replay Value
If there’s any fault to be found with Afterburn’s latest puzzle game, it’s the short lifespan and disappointing lack of replay value. The whole game can be completed in under three hours and, due to its simplicity, has no replay value.
While there are over 150 levels in Railbound, they are all relatively short-lived. Furthermore, once the puzzles have all been solved, it’s hard to forget just how you did it – even on the later, more challenging levels.
To be fair, the game is still in its infancy and these aren’t issues that couldn’t be fixed with frequent updates. As it stands, however, don’t buy Railbound expecting anything over three hours of gameplay.
Railbound is a fun, quirky, and refreshing game to play. The chilled-out approach allows you to have a real think about how you’re going to play the harder levels out. The ability to reset individual moves or the whole level means there’s always a chance to rectify any mistakes. This proved more than useful in the final world especially.
Overall, Railbound is a great way to pass the time. However, it’s short lifespan lets it down at the final hurdle. Railbound is out now on Steam and is priced at $11.