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Railbound – Review

Train games come in all shapes and sizes but Railbound is one of the cutest and warmest of the bunch. It’s a simple to understand puzzle game that tasks you in getting up to three train carriages to arrive in the correct order. Help the doggos on their journey through eight worlds and around 150 levels that introduce new mechanics throughout and keep you, the player engaged.

Barriers are coloured and triggered by riding over the matching coloured switches.

Railbound is all about laying tracks. Some levels have set pieces in play but you’ll always have a certain number of train tracks to place on the playing grid each level. The tracks will bend and join up at your will but its all about making sure carriage 1 arrives at the destination before 2 and then 3. Their numbers are on top of each coach so its easy to understand what order things should arrive in. Getting that to happen can be tricky. Many puzzles rely on loops and divergent tracks. As all the carriages set off at once, you need to actively delay the trains by either making their tracks longer or using special tiles in your favour. Sometimes that’s using tunnels to leapfrog trains or switching track directions so that you send carriage 2 or 3 off on a longer loop.

Sometimes watching an idea go wrong gives you the information on how to correct a level to make it right.

Later worlds add more mechanics but they are introduced in isolation, very simply to begin with. There are no words in Railbound so these start levels in each world are critical to know how the game works. Thankfully the game is extremely intuitive and this isn’t a problem . Undo and restart level buttons are easy to find too. Switchable tracks, coloured tracks tied to switches and picking up passengers at numbered stations join in the foray. Rarely are they all combined together though and its not until world 8 where things really get very tricky. This is where the progressive hint system shines. Clicking on a hint will draw an outline of two pieces of track to give you a subtle nudge in the direction of the answer. Sometimes, that’s all you need and you can work the answer through from there. If you trigger the train movement again and the level fails, you can ask for another 2 rail tracks to be shown and this continues until most of the level is laid out for you. If you are utterly stuck, you can see almost the entire level to then progress and its a nice way of self serving your own hint difficulty.

With the gentle difficulty until the final world, I found myself speeding through Railbound. It took me about 3 hours to get through to world 8 and then I was stumped for quite a while. More content is due to be released to give more levels and mechanics at the end of 2022 but what’s here is already great. It just might be a bit brief if you “get it” and speed through. It is a minor niggle though. Railbound is just a cosy, wholesome train puzzler that does exactly what it says on the tin – well.

Final Thoughts
Railbound is a great puzzler that keeps a simple idea fresh and easy to understand whilst staying engrossing. One for the relaxed gamer.
Simple to understand with no time pressure to solve.
Constant drip feed of new mechanics to keep you interested.
Progressive hint system allows for as much help as you need without handing you the entire solution or getting you stuck.
Calm graphics and music make Railbound cosy.
Potentially a bit short if you really click with the game mechanics.
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