Games You Should Be Playing: Organ Trail #payitforward @HatsProductions #OrganTrail

Games You Should Be Playing: Organ Trail! Where Dysentery and Zombie Bites Go Hand in Hand…

The bulk of the E3 big game announcements has come and gone. I’ve made my thoughts about the weekend, Monday, and Tuesday of the big event known on this very blog this week. I’m also giving props to smaller indie games that I am smitten with in an effort to signal boost their games, and to let you all know that there are some truly amazing low budget games being made by some dedicated and talented game makers. All month long I’m paying it forward to awesome creatives who deserve some extra recognition, click here to see who all has been featured so far. During E3, a huge focus is put on the major releases for the Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo platforms, highlighting titles like Legend of Zelda, God of War, Gears of War, and various high profile AAA 3rd party games. Whereas there are usually minor mentions of select indie titles at E3, they are treated as merely afterthoughts in most games media. That’s why I want to use this week to shine a light on the hardworking folks who dedicate themselves to making these fine indie games that we should be playing more of. Today, we are focused on Organ Trail, a parody like riff on the classic Oregon Trail game, where you take a small band of survivors across America retro style in the hopes of surviving illness, adversity, and the occasional zombie bite, naturally. Take a peak at the official trailer for a taste of what to expect from Organ Trail:

What is Organ Trail: Organ Trail is a retro zombie survival game developed and published by The Men Who Wear Many Hats. It plays out similarly to the classic educational game Oregon Trail. The game has you and 4 of your friends (it’s not a full on multiplayer game, but you do get to name your friends), load up into a car and trek across America, stopping at major cities for supplies, work, repairs, and to heal your team. The game is very simulation and resource management heavy. You will have to keep a keen eye on your inventory, as bullets, food, and replacement parts for your car can become scarce as the game progresses. The game is styled in a classic 8-Bit art style that comes off as the type of game you might have played on an Apple IIe or an old NES. Filled to the brim with charm and challenge, Organ Trail is an indie game that is well planned and exceptionally executed.

Assemble your friends, and hope against hope that you can keep them all alive.
Assemble your friends, and hope against hope that you can keep them all alive.

Why You Should Be Playing Organ Trail: There is a multitude of reasons why you should be playing Organ Trail. First and foremost, it is a most excellent game with solid design, great pacing, and an easy to learn but difficult to keep balanced survival horror simulation system. For those who might be turned off by the more horror aspects of a game like this, it’s ultimately a non-issue as the 8-Bit style graphics are not gory or violent at all. In that way, the retro art style makes Organ Trail more accessible to a broader audience than a pure survival horror game with modern high definition graphics (Until Dawn, The Evil Within, etc.). But don’t let the graphics fool you, the game has a challenging difficulty to it, and through the naming of the characters that travel with you there is a personal attachment that you develop to those characters. Pro Tip: Do not name any of your characters after a significant other or your children – I guarantee that those will be the characters that die. Every. Single. Time.

Cue Vacation's "Holiday Road" and also an emergency "Head Trauma Team"
Cue Vacation’s “Holiday Road” and perhaps also an emergency “Head Trauma Team”

Organ Trail is surprisingly deep. There are tons of stops that you can make along the way. Not just to the major cities and/or points of interests, but along the way to scavenge for resources, visit gravestones, or to trade with random NPCs for desperately needed items. A ton of stuff can happen along the way. Your friends will get sick or injured, or worse bitten by a zombie! If the latter happens you may even have to put them down (like a dog – sorry, tacky inside joke).

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do...
Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…

See what I mean? It’s actually kind of jarring to have to put a “friend” down. In many ways, that is one of the main draws to Organ Trail. It draws you in with the allure of being a parody of Oregon Trail, but it hits you in the feels when things go south for you and your friends (and trust me, especially at the more advanced difficulty levels, things go real bad). Seriously, your friends will become a pain in the neck, check out the following examples:

Exhibit: What, breaking your skull wasn't enough?
Exhibit A:  Cracking your skull wasn’t enough?

Exhibit: Dammit Bobby!
Exhibit B: Dammit Bobby!

Exhibit C: Must've been the funny bone
Exhibit C: Must’ve been the funny bone…

Exhibit D: Somebody needs to learn to hold it!
Exhibit D: Somebody needs to learn to hold it!
Everybody fight, nobody quits
Regardless of how much they annoy you, to their credit, everybody fight, nobody quits

Another major draw to this game is the depth of game play that can be found in Organ Trail. You can scavenge for various necessities, go fishing, take on odd jobs, go shopping, talk to NPCs, repair and upgrade your car, manage your resources, as well as a host of fun mini-game style challenges. There is plenty to do, and the pacing in which the game switches between each mode feels natural and keep things from getting monotonous. All in all, Organ Trail is a deep experience that offers a ton of variety and fast paced game that keeps you engaged at all times.

Sometimes your friends can get into all sorts of trouble...
Sometimes your friends can get into all sorts of trouble…

Bottom Line: Pick Organ Trail up ASAP, if not sooner! It is available in a bunch of formats: Android, PlayStation 4, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Web browser, Ouya, Mac OS. It’s super inexpensive, in most cases $5 or less depending on the version that you purchase, although you can buy packages with the full expansion packs and digital soundtrack that run closer to $15. It comes with a fully featured story mode, and can be expanded with an endless mode, and a final cut expansion that allows for drop-in, drop-out co-op multiplayer during the action sequences. For more information on Organ Trail and how/where to purchase it, please go to The Men Who Wear Many Hats official website: I highly recommend Organ Trail.

Sidescrolling zombie shooting is super fun and can get intense depending on how thick the zombie invasion gets
Side-scrolling and zombie shooting is super fun and can get intense depending on how thick the zombie invasion gets

Also, at Threadless you can buy some amazingly dope Organ Trail t-shirts that are beyond awesome. Check those out at the Threadless website.

Sometimes a zombie apocalypse can be a love story too... kind of...
Sometimes a zombie apocalypse can be a love story too… kind of…

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