[Beyond PlayStation] The Trail: Frontier Challenge Review
The Trail: Frontier Challenge from 22cans and Kongregate is a colorful and relaxing simulation/strategy game on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our The Trail: Frontier Challenge review!
22cans is a British company funded by PeterMolyneux, he of Populous, Syndicate, Black and White, Fable, Project Milo, Curiosity and Godus fame. This time around we get a colorful minimalist simulation/strategy game in which we must travel down the path towards Eden Falls to settle there. As you ride on a boat towards the shore, Your first step will be to select a face portrait for your character as well as its name – either by confirming the default name (set to your Nintendo Switch profileâ€™s name) or by selecting a new one. Since itâ€™s the start of a new adventure, you will have no clothes, no backpack, and no money, but luckily a friendly local will get you going by providing you with an old and smelly backpack – beggars canâ€™t be choosers!
That backpack will come in handy since once you move the camera around with the right analog stick, you will spot some old clothes for you. Pressing the ZR button once an item is highlighted will allow you to pick it up and add it to your inventory, which you can open with the + button. Once there, just go to the Character tab, and youâ€™ll be able to drag and drop each item to each of its five general areas. Oh, and if youâ€™re playing in Portable or Tabletop mode, then you can use the Nintendo Switchâ€™s touchscreen to control your actions.
Your character has many attributes to consider. You have your max energy, your hunger meter, your max speed, any food bonuses you might get, your resistance to cold, heat and mud, or your bag size. There is also how easy it will be for you to find rabbits, beavers, and boars, as well as the quality of the drops you get from them. Same goes for how often you can find pine trees, birch trees, and mesquite trees, as well as the quality of their drops. You can also unlock bonuses to your trading in general, as well as bonuses specific to the four item types (general items, food, tools, and clothing). There are other stats and bonuses to consider, so as you can see, while this is a minimalist and streamlined experience, there is certainly some extra depth to consider!
Once you start walking down a path, there is no stopping and no going back. On that note, you should be ready to pay attention to your surroundings so that you can pick up some stuff along the way to add it to your inventory. You will soon arrive at a camp with a small fire next to the road where you will meet Beatrice who will offer to you The Almanac of Dr. Rufus, a guide to the trail you will traverse and the New World you are visiting – oh and Dr. Rufus is actually your characterâ€™s uncle. You can take on some challenges from Beatrice to learn skills more quickly, which can be unlocked in the Almanac tab in the menu. You start as an Explorer and can unlock the Novice skill with the skill points you already have on you.
The first challenge will be a Speed Challenge, asking that you get to the next camp within a specific time limit to receive a bunch of skill points. To be able to make it on time, you will need to hold down the ZL button to sprint down the trail. You need to be careful because sprinting will make you go faster, but it will also make your energy drain faster. If you run out of energy, you will faint, which is certainly a bad thing! Once you complete, or fail, this challenge, you will arrive at a new camp where youâ€™ll get to unlock new skills from the Hunter or Lumberjack skill trees. There are also Cook and Tailor skill trees, but these will be unlocked later.
From the available professions, you could craft a slingshot to use it for hunting, or you could create a stone axe that can be used to chop down trees alongside the trail. Each main skill will also have some sub-skills for you to unlock with your skill points. You could, for example, unlock a percentage boost to the number of rabbits that you can find along the trail, or boost the quality of the items that rabbits drop when hunted. Your stone axe can also be boosted to increase the number of pine trees you find along the trail, or to get better items from the trees you chop down.
Other skills will have more sub-skills to unlock, so you will always have new skills to unlock with the skill points you obtain. Perhaps youâ€™d like to be able to buy and sell items at camps? Or you might want to unlock a bigger backpack so that you can carry more stuff. As long as you complete challenges, collect as many items as possible during your journey, and hunt, cook and craft as needed, you will be well on track to reaching Eden Falls.
The Trail: Frontier Challenge is a colorful minimalist simulation/ adventure that is fun to play in short burst at home or on the go. There are plenty of things to do in this simple and to the point stylized adventure, so youâ€™ll definitely enjoy your time with this release. Can you make it to Eden Falls in this brave new world?
This The Trail: Frontier Challenge review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Kongregate.