It’s the late 1800s, you are driving a train, but Doc Brown isn’t here with his nifty “go faster” logs—you’re on your own. Bounty Train sees your character working with your father’s attorney to try to secure a majority share in dad’s railroad enterprise before the mean old ex-partner takes over. You will need to make some money by driving your train around post Civil War New England delivering trade goods, passengers, and even the odd post message.
Bounty Train is not an action game; the controls are mostly point and click with the mouse. Another thing it is not is an in-depth train sim. Yes, you are driving a train (and shoveling coal, and “repairing” it, and defending it from bandits), but about the only thing other than your health status bar you need to worry about is the throttle when the game decides to let you do some up close driving. At this point you need to watch your speed as you go around bends so you don’t take damage. If you want to get your Sheld-on with the detailed, in-depth train stuff, you might want to keep looking. If you are OK with a resource management, trading, and rather lightweight story game, this isn’t all bad.
One irritation I will point out now is the audio. The quality is good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never been a great fan of banjo music. Also, the squeaky train brakes sound effect is nerve shredingly realistic and cringe inducing (especially when you are using headphones/ear buds). I would rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard, seriously. Most of the rest of the soundtrack and sound effects are decent enough.
As with any business, you need to make money. If you haul trade goods, it’s the old “buy low, sell high” game. You can also take on delivery contracts for the local town hall. You will need a high enough “reputation” score for these, but if you’re good to go it can provide better profit than the trading game.
Another significant source of income can be carrying passengers to far off, exotic destinations like Utica or Cleveland. (Wait…what? Cleveland?Really??) The only bummer is the slow rate at which you can actually make any money. Your train will need new cars, a constant supply of coal, repairs, hired hands to shovel the coal or defend the train from bandits, and you may even need a subscription to local newspapers to stay on top of business opportunities.
Oh, yeah, don’t forget you have some mission tasks to complete, some siblings to find, and a family business to save—no pressure. If you run out of money and can’t do anything (no coal, no go, no dough…) or if bandits kill you, you will have to start over at the beginning.
So Here it Is
Bounty Train is more of a resource management game than a train sim. Most of the train travel action is a high altitude view with a train icon following a dotted line on the tracks. The game offers tidbits of information about various locomotives from the period, but these are not on screen quite long enough to digest the info. The accumulation of funds is almost painfully slow, and the aforementioned sound effects can be a bit irritating. The graphics are pretty decent, but character development is a bit shallow. If you are OK with a slower paced game, this one isn’t too bad. Now’s a good time to see for yourself, too, as it’s currently on sale at Steam for $12.49.
Genre: Strategy sim
Developer: Corbie Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Minimum Requirements: OS X v10.9, 2 GHz Dual-core Intel or AMD processor, 4 GB RAM, 4 GB available disk space
Availability: Now on Steam and GOG.com