Developer: The Men Who Wear Many Hats LLC
Release Date: 8/9/2012
Also Available On
90s kids remember Oregon Trail at school on those old colorful iMacs, right? If you didn’t then you had a terrible childhood! For people who did you must play this game. Organ Trail is a zombie take on the Oregon Trail gameplay but is much better with a great atmosphere.
You start off by shooting some zombies, but you run out of ammo. Someone comes to help, but he ends up getting bitten so you put him down. Yes, you can put down people in this game! After you name your characters with names that aren’t real names (you all did it!) you set off in your station wagon to the first town. This is where you decide what kind of supplies you are going to start off with. Ammo, money, tires, batteries, gas, food, and mufflers. Your station wagon is your life. If it breaks down you aren’t getting to the west coast. In between landmarks, random events will display that will affect your character or car in some way. Sometimes harsh weather may make you drive slower, you might find interesting things on the road, lose things on the road, get ambushed by biker gangs, have to drive through a horde of zombies, etc.
Not all of this is as simple as flipping through menus. When a gang attacks you have to ram them off the road with your car or their bullets will cause precious damage to your car. When you see a horde you have to decide how to approach them. Is the horde docile? Then sneak through at slow speed. You can blast your way through or hire mercenaries to protect you, but they are very expensive. There are events that you run into where you have to decide to help the person, leave, or kill them. This is a game about surviving a zombie apocalypse and it is very dark and moody. These events make the game feel like a true adventure. Even scavenging at any time can be a risky move due to how many bullets you have and your health. If you don’t survive you could possibly die by taking too much damage!
Of course, you can rest and heal your group, but this costs food. Using medkits should only be kept for yourself so you can quickly heal after scavenging. When you reach a town you can buy upgrades for your car and pay to repair it, or you can use the scrap you find to do it yourself. This costs lots of food, and may not be successful if you don’t have enough scrap. Sometimes you can take jobs for people or trade with them for items you desperately need. I have never played a game like this where I had to think about every single decision so much.
My only main issue is that the game can be too hard sometimes and the shooting mechanic is clumsy. You hold back the gun and let go to shoot, but the three pixels that help you aim aren’t much help. I found the aiming too sensitive and desperately needed a longer guide or larger projectiles. The shooting sections are the hardest in the game because tons of zombies will come after you so you must constantly be on the move. I found the character moves too slow, just barely faster than the zombies. If this issue were fixed this game would be perfect. A lot of people will be turned off by the Atari 2600 style graphics, but they add to the charm. The atmosphere is surprisingly well done here despite the ancient-looking graphics.
Overall, the game requires a lot of thinking and careful strategy but throws in enough random events to make it seem almost realistic. The shooting mechanic is finicky and the character moves too slow, but I couldn’t put this game down. Even after dying halfway across America, I tried again because the next journey was completely different from the last. I even decided to take more of something else and try again. This is a wonderful game, but may not be for everyone.