Carrier Trail is the latest game from the American developer CrackedGhostGames and came out on Steam July 1st. It is a retro adventure game heavily inspired by the 1985 Oregon Trail. Those old enough to remember playing on Nintendo GameBoy will be familiar with Carrier Trail’s visual style and gameplay.
The premise is very simple, you play as a courier and your goal is to deliver a package to the royal family. Are you adventurous enough to complete the journey? x̵̡̩̀d̶̜̑͐i̵͎͊J̴̘͖͊B̸̞̗̈́̕d̵̰͈̀C̶̙̀F̸͍̱̓x̵̙̓̽X̷̳̂̚Ẍ̸͈́͘f̴͓͍̀d̸̼̓̂0̸̠̋ẗ̴́̔͜à̸͉̦F̴̩̓”̸̨̝̾*̴̹͖͌C̸̼̅͌¨̷̗̐W̵̤̏͌v̴̘̀O̷̡̿8̵̠̜͆ From a lady inviting you in for a meal to a peculiar cult like group asking for your help, you will meet many strange characters. There is literally thousand of different situations to experience and many distinct cities to visit. What are you waiting for? The king is counting on you!
Carrier Trail’s graphics are pretty much an updated version of what you would have seen had you been playing on a GameBoy in 1990. They did a great job at keeping the same atmosphere and overall look. e̶͇̬͋͊H̶̹̅ͅD̷̢̈́͝F̸̤̣̓Ḃ̷͚Í̷̻̫̆Ṯ̸̆Ļ̵͔̄̚L̸̟̭͆͗J̵̺̓p̷̬̣̅̌U̶̗̞͆̚(̵͈͛̾6̶͖̜̍͠u̸̝̽̒h̸̬́y̴̥̔̈͜”̵̢̃≠̹̑̒$̴̼̭͊͝E̷̜̭͑0̴̥̿ṣ̴͙́͘l̴̹̈́̚W̸̼̙̔͌ Part of Carrier Trail’s charm lies in its simplicity and minimalistic design and that pixel-art style is a perfect way to express it visually. It does not have any fancy graphics, extensive fights and complicated inventories but the existing content is skillfully executed. Even the old school Chiptune music helps to complete the retro atmosphere.
Your goal is to survive long enough to reach the royal family. Of course you also have to deliver the package to them as requested by the king. The gameplay is quite simple, you walk from an event to event across many environments. What makes Carrier Trail great and distinctive from other games are the clever dialogues. Z̷͍̯͗̏5̸͖̥̒ơ̵̢̱̽Z̷͙̐̕B̷̯̟̈́&̷̩͠X̶̤̭̓̌Ŕ̷̹̥͠2̸͍͝”̵̢͖͛͐k̵̗͊̎ẘ̸̡̞͊ḟ̸͖̻6̷̫̅h̵̢̊̉r̶̳͂I̸̹̋́B̷̘̀y̵̧͐̚I̴̊̈́͜L̵̢̠̅c̵̞̮̈͝j̶̢͖͝!̵͓͚̀͋$̵̻̈́ͅ The writing is humorous and I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times while playing. The events are randomly generated so that no two playthroughs are the same. You might encounter an event you have come across on the last run only to have it unfold in a totally different way. That is part of the fun, every choice is unique and brings a brand new experience every single time.
Your inventory consists of fake packages (in case you come across a thief), food supplies, potions and a bit of gold. Managing those supplies can be a bit of a challenge at certain times. Every event you encounter will lower your rations by one. If you want to make it alive to your destination, you need to be wise and ensure you have enough. N̵̘͒ẹ̵͗ͅV̷͙̳̅T̷̫̗̈́D̵͈̀̉ḩ̸̾1̷̞̤̈́̈́S̷͎͉͐̓w̶̛͙̻V̸̠͆v̶̘̘̓B̷͚̬̀̇h̴̼͋͑(̷̡̒̚ͅg̶̣̰̈́͂Ğ̵̻n̶̘̜̔̐¨̵̨͛Ḁ̴̂͊Y̸̺͚̑̐x̶̱̔3̶̲̈́̋ͅ6̶̥̀L̴̩̝͐1̴̝̐ The only way to replenish your provisions is to reach a town and buy more at the general store. Gold is another thing that does not always comes easily, you need to earn it or you can always try gambling for it.
Unlike its predecessor Oregon and Organ Trail, Carrier Trail does not have any mini-games. The story is the focus of the game. It reminded me a bit of those choose-your-own-adventures books I use to read as a kid. It is fun, simple, relaxing to play and exactly what you need when you do not have hours to play something longer.
I wholeheartedly recommend Carrier Trail to anyone who likes to have a laugh. The game has an almost infinite replay-ability. It is a perfect example of why you do not need state of the art graphics and intricate mechanics to create a great game – simplicity at its best.
Written by Vee