Organ Trail: Director’s Cut (universal) by The Men Who Wear Many Hats began as a Kickstarter project, adapting the old Apple II classic The Oregon Trail for the modern age. Set in a post-zombie apocolyptic world, Organ Trail is unforgiving and depressing at every turn – and an absolute ball to play.
My journey started outside of Washington, D.C. I met a man named Clements, who was friendly enough to help me find my way to D.C., where I found the remnants of my family. We soon hit the road, and with a few taps, I could check the health of everyone, stop and repair my car, or scavenge food from the neighboring woods.
We had plenty of food, so I quickly repaired my car – using some of my valuable scraps to get a higher chance of success – and got back on the road. I made my way into Indianapolis with Wallace, Bodie and Avon in my wings – naming my character Stringer, like a fan fiction mash-up of The Wire and The Walking Dead.
Upon arrival, Stringer was given the option to buy/sell goods, choose between a number of job offers to gain extra materials, or simply leave town. But every one of the choices could prove to have dire decisions, as I quickly learned.
Instead, I decided to help clear some zombies from the woods. Stringer was thrown into one of the game’s shooting mini-games, where tapping on the screen moves a player, with a tap-and-pull to shoot enemies. It was easy enough until a random boss zombie bear came in, breaking Stringer’s arm and stealing some of our goods in the process.
Without those goods, we hit the road depleted, and when Wallace got bit by a zombie, I had Stringer take him out back and shoot him – a creepily interactive activity in the game. Since we were out of food, I had Avon shot, too, so Bodie and I might have a better chance at survival. Too bad I missed Avon twice trying to shoot him, so we had no ammo when we ran into a horde of zombies two hours later, presenting me with a number of choose-your-own-adventure like choices.
I chose to drive through the horde at a high speed, which led to Bodie’s death, and Stringer’s own infection. In the end, neither cruelty nor caution could save him, and Stringer died before I could make my way out of a midwestern mall. I was given a meager score for the small amount of materials I had left, but I was allowed to write my own epitaph on my gravestone – probably the game’s kindest moment.
But the game’s combination of dated graphics, awesome soundtrack, and spot-on emulation of The Oregon Trail will keep me coming back for more horrible deaths and fateful decisions. Organ Trail is a must-buy for zombie and adventure fans alike, an atmospheric retro game where the only way to win is to survive.