by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
REVENGE, SERVED UP HOT
Set on the dangerous railroads of 19th Century America, Bounty Train is a game about managing carriages, fighting off bandits and ultimately achieving revenge against those who have betrayed you. You are Walter Reed, son of a hugely successful railroad tycoon. However, after his death, your father’s former partners betrayed your family name and have taken control of the company. It’s up to you to get the shareholders back on your side and take back what is rightfully yours.
HELL ON WHEELS
It won’t be easy though, and you have a limited time to do it. Your journey will take you across America, visiting many cities along the way. Everything takes time, and management is key to success. From travelling between cities to repairing your train when you’re in station. You start off with a small crew and a basic train, but over time you’ll be adding carriages, and recruiting new members to your cause. You’ll need them too, because the open rail is a prime spot for bandit attacks. Each of your carriages has its own health bar, and you’ll have to repair each one if they become damaged. Gunfire can harm your train, as can taking turns at too high a speed. So, you’ll have to be managing the throttle, as well as directing your crew members around to fight off your enemies.
FTH: FASTER THAN HORSES
Combat is quite reminiscent of FTL in this way. Things can go wrong in the blink of an eye, and you’ll have to scramble your crew members to where they need to be. Fire is particularly dangerous, so you’ll need to send someone to take care of that if one breaks out. Of course that means you’ll be a man down elsewhere, opening yourself up to even more attacks. Parts of your train might malfunction too, so you’ll need someone to repair it in real time. It’s often possible to avoid combat entirely, but you’ll need defenses for when it inevitably does occur. So, when you get to a new station it’s always a good idea to check what upgrades and new carriages are available. You might want to install a better engine, or place a gun turret with sandbags giving extra cover on your train.
Not only are you deciding what to build onto your train, you’re also deciding where to put it. This is a lot more important than it sounds. If you lose a carriage, it’ll become detached and you’ll also lose everything behind it. An example we were given was that if you were transporting some previous, yet explosive cargo, you might be tempted to place it towards the front or in the middle of your train to give it some extra protection. However if it does blow up, you’ll be losing a lot more than just that. You’ll also want to be strategically placing your defenses so they’re not all in one place.
DEADLINES ON THE RAIL LINES
The story is non-linear, and you can go wherever you want, but you’ll always have to be making sure you’re on schedule. The timeline will coincide with real historical events which will happen in the game, such as disease outbreaks, onset of the civil war, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and so on. Developer Corbie Games has teased that you might even be able to influence the course of history depending on your actions. Trading is a big factor in making money in the game, and price of goods will alter based on the situation. A disease will drive up prices of food in one city, for example, and it’s up to you to take advantage of that. Bounty Train is set to go into Early Access on August 17, so it’s not long until you can get a taste of the steam train life on Steam.