Walking simulators are very hit and miss, so GameBuz, your go-to mobile games news site, is there to help you decide whether this one is for you or not.
To those who are uninformed, walking simulators are games that focus on storytelling and not game mechanics. My favorite from the genre would definitely be The Stanley Parable, it’s a well written and fun game, one you should definitely check out.
Obviously, this gets on the nerve of many critics and gamers. How dare they use a medium of art to tell a story instead of focusing on action. In case you’re one of those people, The Trail might be a good walking simulator for you.
One thing that this game did an amazing job at, is the graphics. It’s very colorful yet ragged. The amount of detail put in is on point. Making it too realistic would ruin it and too cartoonish wouldn’t make it as impactful. Low-poly is that exact middle ground where this game feels right. Not too simplistic and not too realistic. Can’t say anything bad about them, graphically it’s a well-designed game.
The Trail has more content than a standard walking simulator. The main gameplay is on a rail and you only really control the speed at which you go, but you also collect supplies and craft items on your way to the big city.
On your way to Eden Falls, a character named Beatrice gives you quests to learn new recipes and collect items. Thankfully items picked up for quests don’t go in the backpack. Instead, Koko carries them.
Koko is a red bird that keeps you company while on quests. You can feed him apples and pet him, it doesn’t really make a difference, he just chirps and is happy when you give him love, obviously an amazing addition to the game.
Your main objective is to get to Eden Falls, a city at the end of the trail. While traveling you pick up resources to make tools, clothes, and items that you can either use or sell for Chits (the free currency). On your way there, you make short breaks at camps along the road. While at the camp, you can use the collected resources to craft items (you don’t need to tinker, you have recipes) and trade with other travelers.
While traveling, you periodically get letters from your mother/brother/sister/loved one. You pick who they are from and you have a few different options on what you will write to them about when replying. It’s an interesting way of building a story and it did make me laugh a couple of times because of the possible responses.
Less than rewarding experience
I was motivated to get to Eden Falls because a great reward is implied and completely new game mechanics when you get there. That motivation was important because the cycle of walking and crafting gets boring after a while. After a few hours, I got to Eden Falls and it looked like it’s going to be a cool experience.
You get put in a city populated with other players and you build it together. Your town elects a mayor, you find a partner, make a guild, a bank, you build up the town with other players.
It sounds like a great concept until you realize that all of those features are locked, you have to buy them and wait a period of time before they’re available. Some of them aren’t even implemented yet.
The things that aren’t implemented probably won’t be implemented at all. The games last update was late August last year. This also means that if you find any bugs, they aren’t going anywhere. From that point on it’s more of the same. You have to go back on the trail to collect more items and slowly unlock town features one by one.
At this point, I put the phone down and pretty much gave up on playing it. The motivation was gone, the payoff was non-existent, the grind is too grindy (for my taste at least).
To make things worse, the game more than obviously nudges you towards spending money on microtransactions. You get to a point where you either pay up or spend a few hours grinding to continue developing the city and to pay tolls during your trips.
An unimpressive track record
22Cans has an interesting repeating theme, over-promise, under-deliver.
It begins with Curiosity, a social experiment type app. You and many other people clicked on tiles to get to the center of the cube. The person to click the last tile was promised a “Life changing experience”. That experience ended up being a cameo and part of the profits from their next game.
The next game, Godus, raised over $700,000 on Kickstarter. The final game was a lot less than they’ve promised and Curiosities winner never got his cameo or money from the game.
Which brings us to the point. The Trail continues the trend of underwhelming experiences brought to gamers by 22Cans. Unlike the previous ones, you’re never promised anything, but you are made to believe that something great awaits when you get to Eden Falls.
It’s not a bad game, but it’s not really fun either. You’re often nudged towards buying premium currency. Things bought with premium currency make the game ridiculously easy. That wouldn’t be too bad if the game didn’t feel bland after some time.
If you’re okay with grinding a lot and spending money from time to time to keep up with increasing costs and don’t mind repetitive gameplay, you might enjoy The Trail.
If the only thing you mind is the microtransactions, there is also a PC release with some differrent mechanics.
When everything is said and done, it gets a very unenthusiastic 6/10 from me. The only reason that it’s not 5/10 is that there aren’t too many games of such type on mobile, so it’s a nice change of pace.