Open world survival crafting games have become a big staple in gaming for well over a decade now. A lot of these titles happen to be released in early access, but that hasn’t stopped many titles within this genre from hitting it big on Steam. The case also goes for Voidtrain, though it initially launched as an Epic Store Exclusive.
Most of these games involve players exploring a world while creating a home base, but games such as Raft did change up the formula by having the base itself be how players traverse the world. Voidtrain follows in this tradition, but with replaces a raft for a train as we travel through some strange space-like void.
While most games within this genre don’t focus on story, if at all, Voidtrain does add mystery as players take on the role of an engineer, or multiple if playing with friends, who are stationed in a cold isolated place. During this time, they stumble upon a building which harbors a strange machine that ultimately ends up sucking them into a void.
Everything about this game’s plot is taken more humorously rather than seriously. This is compounded by the narrator who edges on breaking the fourth wall when guiding the player through the tutorial and important bits of the game.
Even the player character, who is silent and can be customized by the player, has small touches of personality show in their animations when certain things are done. They’re tiny, but a nice touch to give the game more life as we explore the mysterious world.
Most of Voidtrain’s gameplay does boil down similarly to other survival games – you must collect materials to craft and research various items to build up your base. What makes this one stand out is the train, which follows along a set track while you jump out to pick up materials.
These materials are used to craft items to aid in continuing on the loop of collecting supplies. During set parts of the game, you’ll also run into stations that you can explore and usually find something to upgrade the train itself, such as increasing its size to utilize more space.
As expected from the genre, the early bits of Voidtrain are monotonous and grindy as you hang around the train, collecting scrap metal and wood. All the while, it moves along slowly as you don’t want to have it going so quick that you can’t pick anything up.
This may not be a problem when playing cooperatively, but those who prefer flying solo may find juggling the train’s movement while ensuring they collect supplies a bit much. This especially comes up if the game forces them to play at a snail’s pace.
It’s a shame Voidtrain’s demo was so short, and therefore I was unable to get my feet off the ground before having it end so abruptly. These types of games really do need a lot of investment to get into some of the more fun sections, but that can also be their downfall if it takes too long to get going.
However this game is also linear, something that’s much different compared to its competition. Players won’t be able to explore much at all during the train sections, and it seems the station stops will likely be hand crafted to tell the story they wish to tell.
I am interested in the tale they wish to tell, as the narrator adds a bit of fun to a genre that’s otherwise pretty empty of character. Plus the mystery behind the void itself gives that desire some games hit of wanting to go just a bit further to learn more.
Voidtrain is available now in early access via the Epic Games Store. The Steam and full release is expected later in 2023.