Back To The West
The original 1970’s game was known for its sudden illnesses and high death count. Anyone in your party could die from a simple broken leg to illnesses like dysentery. Considering over 20,000 people did die on the trail, it’s amazing any made it at all. Thankfully you don’t need to worry about the morbid side of things with The Oregon Trail: Boom Town. From Tilting Point, this cutesy town management game has you planting roots instead of digging graves. Settling in Independence, Missouri, plant crops and build houses and businesses to make your town thrive. While The Oregon Trail: Boom Town isn’t as intense as the original game, it can still be frustrating at times.
A Bustling Town
The main components of this simulation game are building and planting. Growing crops are a major necessity in your town for both food and products. Besides wheat and corn, you’ll also be growing cotton, mushrooms and more. I liked how pretty much everything was connected in some way. Every crop has a use. However, they need the right building. From cow and chicken farms to a chuck wagon, dairy and wood shop, all kinds of goods can be made. Typical wild west foods such as porridge and Johnny cakes, along with fur hats and horseshoes. But where do all these goods go? A few places; steamboats, wagons traversing the Oregon Trail and the townspeople. You’ll need to build houses for citizens to live in. Different sized houses bring in different numbers of people, from five to over 50. The more people you have, the more buildings you unlock.
The issues I have within the town itself are minimal but significant. The Oregon Trail: Boom Town uses a barn to store excess goods. This can be upgraded to increase space. However, the materials needed for the upgrades mostly come by steamboat. And even then, you might not get everything you need. While you’ll eventually have access to three steamboats, they all take hours to come back and materials are always random. If the barn doesn’t have any free space, you can’t add anything to it. It takes quite a while to upgrade sometimes and can be very frustrating. Something else I had issues with was needing items that weren’t available yet. For example, a wagon may ask for lemonade, but it’s not available until you reach level 35. This means the request can’t be fulfilled and you have to remove the wagon. It’s annoying and stupid to deal with.
Though a lighter tone and style compared to the original, The Oregon Trail: Boom Town is a decent game. All kinds of buildings to construct and materials to make manage to keep things interesting. Though it’s not without its flaws. The steamboats are random with the materials they bring back. If they weren’t, I’m sure the barn wouldn’t take so long to upgrade. Then there’s getting requests for items that haven’t unlocked yet. It just adds unnecessary frustration to otherwise fun gameplay.
Is It Hardcore?
Though needing a few improvements to certain gameplay aspects, The Oregon Trail: Boom Town is still worth getting on the wagon for.