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Game Info:

Bounty Train
Developed by: Corbie Games
Published by: Daedalic Entertainment
Released: May 16, 2017
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X
Genre: Simulation, role-playing game
Number of players: 1
Price: $24.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you, Daedalic Entertainment, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

November 7, 1860

I have been locked up in the prison in Boston for smuggling weapons into the city. But at least they have given me paper and ink so I can write about my experiences. My name is Walter Reed, and I have a story to tell about a dangerous game called “Bounty Train.”

Having inherited shares of my father's railroad company, I came from England to Portland, Maine. After speaking with my father's attorney, I learned that there is another man who owns shares of the company as well. He intends to construct a trans-continental railroad through Indian territory – a move that could cost thousands of lives. However, if I can find my siblings and other shareholders, I may be able to gain a majority ownership of the company and prevent this from happening.

But it may not be easy. I'll have to maintain and upgrade my train. I need to purchase commodities and trade with other cities – as well as get a better handle over what goods are prohibited within some locations! I'll have to transport passengers and cargo in order to improve my reputation with different cities. I'll have to work with different factions, such as the Union and the Confederacy. They don't seem to like each other very much, and if the newspapers are correct, war will break out between them very soon. Bandits lurk along the railways, so I have to hire guards and crew members. I will have to juggle all this while trying to gain a majority interest in the company. Or perhaps I can forge my own empire by purchasing land and investing my money in banks. There is a wealth of options for me to explore, once I get out of here.

Bounty Train
Highlights:

Strong Points: Good graphics and music; interesting premise; historic elements help with educational aspects; adjustable difficulty
Weak Points: Some wonky AI issues; difficulty starting up
Moral Warnings: Alcohol and tobacco references; violence; some language

I have to admit, the scenery is spectacular. Things are so lively in the countryside, or even at the stations. People wander about and speak. The ever-present music is lovely as well, and provides wonderful atmosphere. It is a good thing I am literate, though – there aren't any voices in the game, and everyone communicates through text boxes, including myself.

At times, though, it is difficult to get things off the ground. Sometimes when I want to get this game started, all I see is blackness. I have to force myself to quit – sometimes several times. It can take a few efforts in order to get going. Perhaps it's because the mysterious box I use runs on apples or something. I've heard that some people use these other machines with windows on them, so I don't know if they have the same issues. Maybe it's because of the electric motors in these small boxes. Give me steam power any day.

Speaking of steam, I've also heard that those who use the steam engines can gain special titles called achievements. Most of these are difficult to obtain, though. For example, one of them would require me to obtain one million dollars! Can you imagine having that much money? I'd be able to buy my own state with that much wealth! Maybe I can do something with these trading cards that showed up in my pocket, too.

Bounty Train
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 82%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The difficulty in the game can be adjusted, which is a nice improvement from the first time I tried the Bounty Train. Even better – different aspects of the game can be individually adjusted. Instead of sticking with “easy mode,” like I did, you can go for a more action-packed game by adjusting the lever to account for more bandit attacks. Or to make more money, adjust that slider to the left. You can customize this Bounty Train to fit your own playstyle. But hey – I'd prefer if you took it easy on me, you know? Once I die, it's game over for everyone. Like a good book, though, you can save your progress in different chapters, or slots. I think that might have something to do with apples, too. Or windows. This kind of thing is a bit beyond my understanding.

Riding the rails in Bounty Train is cleaner than you may expect. Although you will see the occasional person take the Lord's name in vain, people generally keep their language clean. Seeing it all as text boxes allows me to see their grammatical errors, though. I did see one person try to swear, but used the wrong form of “dammed.” If he was a bandit, I'd be tempted to gun him down just for improper grammar. But when someone dies, they simply fall over. I'm glad I didn't see more details of poor Pedro's death. I do hope that he had died before my caboose exploded – what a terrible way to go. And expensive, too – I had to replace the caboose and hire another guard.

In general, those who want to see what America is like in my boots may also be interested in boarding the Bounty Train. It can be a fun way to learn about history, as well as an intriguing strategy game to play. Just watch out for bandits. Oh, and you may want to look into getting a smuggling compartment for your cargo cars. That'll be my first purchase once I leave the Boston jail, I'll tell you that much.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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