Peter Molyneux has a long history of over-hyping and under-delivering. Godus was a total disaster that failed to live up to its promises once again. His latest game though, developed by his studio 22cans in collaboration with Kongregate, is called The Trail and it just dropped into mobile markets without a hint of pre-release hype surrounding it. I downloaded it out of curiosity without even really knowing what kind of game it was.
The lack of knowledge going into the game actually really enhanced the experience by giving a great sense of discovery. The Trail, it turns out, is a simple survival/crafting MMO. You trek across a vast wilderness, travelling from camp to camp, collecting items, trading with other players, completing missions, and crafting new tools and equipment to help you progress further. It’s a simple but addicting gameplay loop that could easily be expanded in interesting ways with future updates.
What I love the most about the game though is the whole aesthetic. The visuals are somewhere in between The Wind Waker and Proteus. They are simple, bright, and evocative. The game gives a really great sense of a large world, even though your movement is entirely linear in reality. The music as well, with its downbeat acoustic folk instrumentals, gives a sense of discovery, adventure, and safety.
All of this leads to an immensely relaxing experience that is the perfect salve for a long, bitter, and deeply upsetting election year. Despite having tons of great games I haven’t yet played in my Steam account, I spent my gaming time the last few nights on The Trail. It felt good to just spend some time hiking alongside other players, picking up furs and chopping down the occasional tree. The Trail is the perfect game when all you want is to just feel calm for 30 minutes.
The Trail is free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store so give it a try. I think it may be just what many of you need.