We had been following Railbound ever since its first unveiling this past spring. After all, it’s from Afterburn Games, the same people that brought us the likes of Golf Peaks and inbento. When you have a pedigree like that, you’re automatically interested in whatever else that particular studio is doing. Besides that, Railbound looked like a very clever take on the track-drawing (or oftentimes pipe-drawing) logic puzzler genre. Now this week Railbound is finally upon us and, no surprises here, it’s just as fantastic as we were hoping.
As mentioned this is a logic puzzler where you’ll need to lay down pieces of track, or remove pieces of track, in order to create a safe path for a train car or cars to connect safely with a waiting train engine. Complicating this matter is that when there are multiple train cars to connect, they’re numbered and must meet up with the engine in the order of their numbering. That means you’ll have to really think several steps ahead and sometimes create a way for one of the later train cars to waste a little time so as not to arrive ahead of the lead car.
That’s the core of the game, which is split into 8 different worlds filled with anywhere from 16-25 levels each, including some alternate hard versions of the main levels. And with each of these different worlds comes a new mechanic that throws a wrench into all your track building, like tunnels that act as portals, crossing guards, track switches, and more. Early levels often start out pretty straightforward giving you a chance to get familiar with the new mechanic, which leads way to later levels and alternate harder levels that truly have you scratching a hole into your head and straight into your brain.
I know the word “brilliant" gets thrown around too often nowadays, but seriously, there isn’t a better descriptor for some of these level designs in Railbound. It’s not the kind of game that introduces some paradigm-shifting new mechanic that will forever alter the state of logic puzzle games, but instead it’s just a finely-crafted, brilliantly-designed, and visually gorgeous set of 150+ puzzles to work out your noodle with, all for a single up-front and very reasonable price of five bucks. It’s not too often anymore we can get a fully premium mobile game but that’s just what we’ve got with Railbound and I’m taking my time savoring every last bit of it.