The Trail is a free-to-play simulation and crafting mobile game for the Android and iOS from Kongregrate by Fable creator Peter Molyneux himself.
The game follows the journey of a pioneer who sets out to reach Eden Falls, a frontier town where fellow pioneers gather and create a world of their own. Your adventurer is travelling through an actual trail to reach Eden Falls and would have to survive with what the land is offering by creating tools, clothes and food.
To start things off. The Trail does away with the usual treatment of similar simulation/creation titles where you are left smack dab in the middle of a plot of land to do whatever. The Trail gives you a mission from the get go and provides you with the necessary info as you follow the trail to Eden Falls.
You earn crafting blueprints as you accomplish “quests” walking along the path to Eden Falls. You can create tools such as slingshots and axes to hunt animals and harvest trees. You can also create clothes and items that you can sell to other players too from the harvested materials. However, you can’t create these items while walking so you have to stop over at camps that you pass by along the way.
These camps allow you to acquire your rewards from quests, create items and interact (in a limited way) with players through trading, aside from throwing greetings as you pass them by along the way.
Moving on to the game’s trading. The Trail brings in a unique quirky trading system where you have to put down created or harvested materials in a track. The track turns and crushes the items you put into it and comes back as chits for you to be able to purchase items other players put down in the track as well. Each item you put into the track will be priced according to the quality of the item. This means that harvested items are cheaper than those manufactured by players. This is also the game’s system, while on the trail, to net you needed items and even clothes or tools that you can’t create on your own.
I like the idea that trading time is time restricted so it gives yourself a bit more urgency when you do it. It puts a bit of excitement to the almost dull farming experience you’ll be getting into as you continue through the game. And with the way things are happening it’ll get dull fast.
While the game’s trading system is quirky and interesting. The Trail’s crafting system on the other hand is straightforward. The blueprints you gather as you level up in-game allows you to create items when you reach camps.
Crafted items also come with an ever increasing value system that you increase by continually doing the same thing over and over again. The value increases in price and durability (for clothes) as the item crafting level increase. And it’s really important too that you increase the values for the created items because the game makes it hard for you to keep the clothes your character wears for long.
Each crafted piece of clothing gets a distance value before it disintegrates from your character’s body. I could not stress enough the importance of clothes in-game. Clothing provides a lot of necessary stat increases such as an additional chunk of Stamina along with a decreased stamina depletion. Clothes also provide those extra pockets and hooks for your tools that you sorely need in-game.
Once you reach Eden Falls
While the game starts off as a survival adventure during your journey, gameplay shifts drastically once you reach your destination. Instead of just simply trying to survive the trip, you now have to also improve the town you belong to.
The game turns into an actual community-like simulation game where you need to consider properly what town you’ll be joining. As part of the “community” you’ll need to also consider what kind of service/contribution you’ll be making since you have to cover some holes the town has.
I love that you have the freedom to not be part of the community and just be the curmudgeon old guy in town who just takes. It won’t make your life easier though, but at least you can still enjoy the game on your own terms.
The Trail gives you the freedom simulation/creation titles have but none of the clueless where do I start feeling the other titles give you. The gameplay is solid, considering that you are just walking along a trail headed to a really far away place. Which the game makes you feel by 3/4s of the way. This is also a game that you can’t easily ignore the tutorials in like I did. There are tons of key features that you will miss if you do so. Like, the fact that you can go back to previous areas so you can farm materials for your quests and the like. I only figured that one out when I’m already around 5km away from Eden Falls.
I also like the small features that make you feel like an actual pioneer. With the letter sending to your virtual family that you left and the way that you can decide to put choice words in your reply… It surprisingly brings a novelty you won’t easily find in mobile games these days.
However, the game really takes a lot out of your phone. There will be times that the UI wouldn’t work the way you want it to. So there will be moments that you would miss those items because your phone is not powerful enough to be able to make you move the camera smoothly.
Overall though. The Trail is a welcome time sink for those looking to have a different take in the simulation/crafting genre. It provides enough tension and challenge for you to not turn off your brain while you play. It’s a game that you can enjoy in short bursts as you can stop on every camp and turn off the game. If you don’t have your crafting/simulation game yet, The Trail is a good intro to the genre. Heck, it’s innovative enough to be a solid time sink for those familiar with the genre. The game has enough unique features to make it worth your while.