Challenging, satisfying, and starring two cute doggos, there’s a lot to love about Railbound.
Don’t let the name throw you off: Railbound isn’t some type of railway simulator. It does concern traintracks and locomotives, but only as a puzzle tool: the aim of each of Railbound‘s 150 levels is to connect train carriages to the engine car in the right order. That means building track in a specific fashion to get it there.
Like all puzzle games, Railbound starts off nice and easy, introducing you to its mechanics over time. The first few levels will simply have you building track in a logical fashion. Later, you’ll have to contend with tunnels, forks in the road, switches and more. It won’t take long until you’re at a puzzle that completely stumps you, forcing you to really think about the solution. And when you find it? It’s oh-so satisfying.
Thankfully, you’re not under any sort of time pressure in Railbound. You’re free to try as many solutions as you like with no penalty. It’s a good job, too, because you really will need to keep trying things until you figure it out. With a limited amount of track available to you, there’s typically only one way to solve each level. Sometimes it’s obvious, other times not.
Thankfully, if you do get stuck, Railbound has a hint system hidden in its menus. It’s turned off by default, but by turning it on, you’ll get a hint at the push of a button. It’s nice to know the option is there – and, if you’re like us, using a hint for the first time will cause you to kick yourself when you realise the solution was right in front of you the whole time. But that’s the way puzzle games always go, isn’t it?
Railbound is a wonderful-looking game. Its cartoonish art style is bright and bold, and the short cutscenes with dog train conductors are adorable. Rather unnecessary, maybe, but who’s to complain about the addition of cute, cartoon dogs?
As you play through Railbound, you’ll also unlock some additional puzzles, more challenging than the standard ones. You don’t need to do these to progress, but if you really want to tax your brain, we’d recommend jumping into them. With each level being self-contained, this is the perfect game to pop into now and then, maybe even just doing a few levels each day as a daily mental workout. Or perhaps you’ll get so absorbed that you’ll complete it all in one straight sitting. The choice is yours.
Beautifully presented and with thoroughly enjoyable puzzles that will challenge even the most astute of minds, there’s a lot to love about Railbound. While they start off nice and easy, its puzzles soon get fiendish, and solving them is so very rewarding. This is the perfect game to cosy up with this winter, particularly if you like giving your noggin a workout.