Lindsay Reviews: Organ Trail: The Director’s Cut

Posted: March 31, 2013 by theelindsayclarke in Games
Tags: , , , ,

Who doesn’t love zombies? And who doesn’t love Oregon Trail? And who doesn’t love director’s cuts? How could I NOT want to give this game a try?

I recently purchased Organ Trail: The Director’s Cut on Steam, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed killing an hour or two with it pretty much daily ever since. If you’ve ever played Oregon Trail, and if you’re a zombie fan, you’ll probably enjoy this game. The Director’s Cut is an update of the original using suggestions from fans, adding choose-your-own-adventure-style gameplay, boss fights, and the like. It is more of a standalone game than a direct parody of Oregon Trail. It’s a fun way to kill a couple hours, in my opinion, as I shall now explain to you with my Triforce of Power: plot, style, and gamer-friendliness. (Prepare for screencaps from my playthroughs that I think are hilarious)

Organ Trail’s plot is basically a combination of parodies.  It’s most generic zombie film plots – a dude and a cool hillbilly and a group of whoevers must brave the zombie apocalypse to get from point A to point B – combined with Oregon Trail’s plot: get across America. But what makes it better than Oregon Trail is that they took out the edutainment component. Now you’re just killing zombies (and possibly your teammates) and hoarding supplies. I haven’t played Oregon Trail for a while, but I’m pretty sure it was quite a bit shorter than Organ Trail. I mean, this isn’t some sort of epic, it’s just a brief game to have some silly fun with and name your team members after your favourite celebrities. There’s a bit of excess game, I always get a little bored near the end of a playthrough where I’ve managed to make it to the end. It’s not any new or different content either, it’s just going from town to town… to town… to town, so it eventually starts to drag on. But the game doesn’t drag a lot, it’s just a smidge too long for what I have time for. This is the kind of game you play to get your mind off studying or what have you. It’s allowed to be short.

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The style of this game is obvious and simple. It’s a 2-D retro game: simple square pixels and not-quite-human-looking humans. There’s only some homage to Oregon Trail here: they mostly just made it look generically old school. There’s always a certain charm to 2-D retro homage games; I, for one, have never loved the 2-D look, but I’m not going to tell you it’s a bad thing. This style works well for the game. If you like older games, the style will please you. Another fun stylistic thing is the humour. If you make it to the end with a character named George Romero you get an achievement, there are tons of zombie game references, like Left 4 Dead, and even Zombies Ate My Neighbours. Overall the game has a simple and charming style.

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As always, most important is gamer-friendliness. If you’ve played Oregon Trail, you’ll already know the basics, but it still comes with a little journal for explanation at the beginning of the game. You’d better read that journal while you have the chance, though, because you only get one opportunity to read it. The game’s simple enough, but quite a bit harder than Oregon Trail. Shooting takes a while to get used to, but that’s nice in a way; it’s not too easy, and it adds a little challenge. Besides, this game isn’t for kids like Oregon Trail is, so it makes sense for it to be harder. There’s a little more ‘video game’ to Organ Trail; Oregon Trail was slightly most strategy and slightly less video game, as far as skills needed to beat the game goes. I don’t see how that could ever be a bad thing. The biggest complaint I had was that sometimes I would misunderstand what I was looking at due to purposely crappy graphics, or wonder something and not be able to glean an explanation out of the game. But since it’s not a game you pour hours of your life into, Organ Trail being generally playable is enough to keep me satisfied.

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Overall, this is a fun, cheap game that’ll help you kill a couple hours. Despite slight flaws, it’s simplistic enough to have fun as long as you enjoy simple survival strategy games, zombies, and travelling across America in a shitty station wagon.

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