If you've ever wondered what it would be like to forge through a post-apocalyptic environment filled with zombies, disease, human scum and an abominable amount of bad luck, an environment that is Murphy's Law incarnate, Organ Trail: Director's Cut [$2.99] is the game for you. A brutish zombie survival title, Organ Trail will kill you so many times that you're going to start thinking that South Park's Kenny had it easy.

On the off-chance you're a little too young to remember the original, Organ Trail: Director's Cut draws heavy inspiration from an Apple II game called Oregon Trail, an educational piece designed to teach kids about the life of a 19th century pioneer. Needless to say, that game also involved people going splat (or squelch or, well, whatever).

But, back to Organ Trail. After being saved by a short-lived priest (In one of my playthroughs, he somehow succeeds in breaking his arm, contracting dysentery and getting bitten by a zombie all in the span of a minute), you find yourself on the road with four friends. There's apparently a ghoul-free future waiting for you somewhere in the West and, because you're kind of short on viable alternatives, you make it your collective goal to get there.

As you might have guessed already, from all the mention of doom and destruction, this isn't going to be easy. In fact, a better description of things would be 'nigh impossible'. Curiously enough, however, it's not the zombies that make it difficult. If you have sufficient ammo, a decent aim and adequate amounts of medkits, they're more of a semi-tolerable nuisance than anything else. No, it's your supplies. They're going to be the biggest issue here. Why? Because there will never ever be enough.

In total, there are nine categories of supplies to worry about: fuel, scrap, food, medkits, ammo, tires, batteries, mufflers and money. While some are slightly more important than others, they're all going to be essential to your long-term health. At the start of the game, you'll get a chance to decide on what your initial stash will be like. Later, however, you're going to be dependent on what you'll find on the road and how well you survive the random events that will continuously rob you of your store.

There are a few ways to gather material. First and foremost, you can scavenge. This is accomplished through a mini game of sorts. Both zombies and supplies will randomly appear on your screen. To collect supplies, you simply need to tap on the screen and move your avatar over them. To kill the zombies, you'll need to, well, shoot them. Bludgeoning is not an option here. (Shooting is accomplished by drawing a line from your character and then aiming in the direction of the undead before releasing the shot.)

You can also choose to take up odd jobs whenever you're in a settlement. If you succeed in the subsequent mini game (these all involve shooting things), you'll then be rewarded with whatever was initially promised. If you don't, you'll have to leave empty-handed (or worse). Of course, if you're a terrible shot, there's always the last two alternatives - blind luck and trading. From time to time, random events that give you free stuff will crop up. Trading is slightly more reliable. Slightly. I once spent four hours attempting to find someone who would trade me batteries for food. It didn't work.

Because Organ Trail is a hardcore zombie survival simulator, there's also always going to be the fear of zombie bites lingering over your head. A bite can mean a friend turning into a zombie which, in turn, can mean an end to your adventure. Fortunately, you'll be able to put down your friends if you so choose. Heck, you could put them down to save on rations too. You don't really need them, do you?

Managing the actual trip itself isn't particularly difficult. You won't actually have to drive the car, it's perfectly capable of slogging along on its own. Occasionally, you may want to stop to repair the car, rest, scavenge, re-adjust your pace, change ration sizes and more -- all things that you'll accomplish with a tap of a button and sufficient supplies. I've only managed to make it down to the fifth town but, judging from the hands-on preview we did of the game before, zombie mutant bears, hostage situations and shoot-outs are very real things here.

Organ Trail: Director's Cut is a weird, wonderful and almost surprisingly expansive experience that will both infuriate and enchant. It's built for the masochist, for the nostalgic (the 16-bit presentation is a royal treat), for those who don't have a problem dealing with Lady Luck's wicked sense of humor because, more often than not, you will lose the game and it will not be your fault at all. More than anything, Organ Trail: Director's Cut proves that a tongue-in-cheek nod towards the original and an overdone theme can, indeed, be fun. (In a sick, sadistic sort of way.)

TouchArcade Rating

  • Tyrwin

    2.99 is a little pricey hope it goes on sale soon seems like fun.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zimmer-Remmiz/100001573602233 Zimmer Remmiz

      Seriously? SERIOUSLY?...

  • oooooomonkey

    ^ £1.99 isn't that much to pay for a top quality game.

    This was a surprise release for me and I'm glad I jumped in and bought it as its bloody brilliant. Much more fun than the Oregon trail.

    • Tyrwin

      Not that it's not worth it I'm just broke lol. iTunes needs a loan officer attached to it ^^

      • ttocs

        Can't afford 2 bucks? You need to save better. Or stop buying crappy games 🙂

    • http://twitter.com/c0smicRay Jack Ketcham

      Yeah, for the price of a candy bar, you get a great game.

      • Benegesserit

        $3 candy bar? You have expensive taste in candy.

      • theundertow

        You ever been to the Movies?

  • 1Fcm

    The developer certainly handled the orginal formula brilliantly!

  • Metroview

    Just bought this and love it already. I'll just say: Clements!! :'(

  • paulf58

    Needs patching, but I love it. Oozes style

  • Stevenseagal8

    I can't believe how deep the gameplay is. It's as strategic as the original Oregon Trail, maybe even a bit more with the scavenging/trading/exploring sections. Great game.

  • drloony

    I'm 3rd place on Gamecenter on this game, "pats on back" 🙂

  • Teodor Jackson


  • Kevin Roberts

    I'll have to check this out. I'm a long time fan of Oregon Trail, so I'll certainly find this variation interesting. Since Gameloft ruined their version of Oregon Trail, (something they shouldn't have been alowd to do to those of us who bought the game before they changed it to pay to play game,) I haven't had a good Oregon Trail like game to play on ios devices. Though this futuristic version looks like fun, it would be cool if someone put out an actual version of the game too.

    • W4TSON

      I couldn't of said it any better myself. I had bought the Oregon Trail from Gameloft a while back & enjoyed it, but had deleted it off of my iPhone (probably to save space or something). Long story short, when I had re-downloaded it to play it again I was appalled at what they had done. You can't even call it Oregon Trail anymore. Anyways, I'm glad there is an interesting alternative now.

  • regkilla

    Horrible game

  • ramon31

    This is not 16bit... it's 8bit.

    • medicalbenko

      Lol but since its on the iPad the little squares look high def so it IS 16 bit *says this sarcastically* lol

  • Dave

    Play Thule Trail, it's a few years old, but brilliant.


  • http://www.uplayblog.com/ Bianca Mól

    retro game at its best... it's not that pricey, it was worth the purchase!

  • joe jackson

    I'd like to know what is different between this release and the free flash version. I see a screenshot on car upgrades that i don't think is in the flash version. Having played it a few times in flash already, knowing the additional upgrades might push me to buy the IOS version...

  • W4TSON

    I've been Impatiently waiting for this game ever since I saw the video of it on TA plays. I can't wait to wrap my “Braain” around it.

  • Stephen Meyer

    I'm on my third play through already (survived to the end once and died half way through the other time).  I love it. The mechanics of the Apple II game are captured perfectly, and I have never hit the same side mission (random encounter?) twice. I've already gotten a lot more out of it than any other $3 app game I've bought, and I've only had it for a day. 

  • bacon-N-eggs

    Wow people are complaining about a few bucks? Crazy, at $5.99 this game would be well worth it!!!

    If your into this sort of 8-bit point and click-ish survival game it's well worth a few bucks!

  • louisa

    I have never had so much fun as playing this game and I am an old lady of 69! So glad I picked this up today. Who sex u have to be young to play games on your iPad? Way more fun than bingo!!!!!

  • HungarianUrinalCakes

    This game ought to be installed on every computer in every school nationwide. As it should have been when I was ten years old. Sheer brilliance.

  • Robert Ludwinek

    Amazing Game, I nearly sh*t my pants when i was scavenging and it said BOSS FIGHT! Jesus this game is amazing

Organ Trail: Director's Cut Reviewed by Cassandra Khaw on . Rating: 4.5