[Disclosure: A review copy was provided for the contents of this article]
Corbie Games’ Bounty Train is a historical period piece role-playing strategy game where players pick up passengers, fight off bandits and manage resources in between destinations while following a non-linear story about freedom and survival. However, despite the game’s interesting premise, historical narrative and item management aspects, it falls into the pit of being more tedious and repetitive than fun and innervating.
In Bounty Train, one travels between an expanding number of urban settlements in early 19th century America, building up skills and a reputation, acquiring money and trading resources, upgrading and maintaining their bounty train and killing off the competition with spontaneous bursts of real-time violence and dangerous accidents.
Unfortunately, the latterly-described bursts of flames, hand-to-hand combat and gunfire take second place by a long way, at least at the game’s beginning stages, to the humdrum of going back and forth switching between cities, convoluted conversations and the joys of being a capitalist businessman without much to call his own.
Moreover, every town looks similar and although a greater number of features (like a train depot) can be unlocked, it soon becomes clear that the game apparently has little to offer once you get past the first few months or years of simulated gametime (just hours of real life). The unlocking of cities and building up of numbers soon become tedious in their repetitiveness, despite the fact they signify progress.
Even the combat is little to write home about. The fighting is difficult to control and – though something which should be far from dull – it takes on a boring and frustrating nature of its own. would be good to see even greater character development with more gripping storylines and far more, including those just factors mentioned, to keep a gamer on the edge of their train-driving seat and material that makes them keep playing for some reason other than wanting to avoid confusion by stopping and then forgetting where they were mid-mission.
One gets the sense as well that the graphics could be better especially with regard to making the settlements distinct from each other.
Ultimately the game seems good at first, and an interesting concept pleasantly illustrated, but, in the end, quite aimless and annoying in its monotony.
It is certainly not pointless, but one struggles to find a reason one should try it when there are so many other celebrated strategy RPGs on the market. Give it a miss unless perhaps you have a specific interest in the historical period covered by the game.