Orion Trail is a Kickstarter staff pick from developer Schell Games, an indie studio founded in 2002. If the name sounds familiar, founder Jesse Schell has written some very popular books on game design. The company has worked on various games covering a multitude of genres. Orion Trail has them taking their design skills sci-fi once again for a single player space adventure coming to Windows, Mac and Linux. A prototype web version is available to play here: https://oriontrail.schellgames.com/

Players take the role of the captain of a spaceship known as the Indestructible II, with the goal of exploring and ultimately surviving the Orion Trail. Players will pick officers and gear to go along with their captain. Each chosen character will have different stats, covering: offense, tactics, diplomacy, science and bravado. These different skillsets are all used at various points throughout the game, so stacking up in a singular skill will be detrimental to your journey.

And how exactly does the journey work? Well, the ‘Trail’ name should be familiar to most of us by this point. The Oregon Trail is one of the oldest games that a majority of people have played at some point, particularly those who were students in the 80s and 90s. Your ship heads through space from point to point, visiting other planets and systems, with random encounters interspersed. Instead of fording a river, you may meet an enemy alien AI system and be given your choice of options for moving past them. The success of these options is based on the combine skill amount applied to your chance from your crew’s stats.

The visuals are an 8-bit pixel art aesthetic to go with the decidedly retro core gameplay. The soundtrack matches the visuals with a retro, not quite fully chiptune sound from composer Rainbow Kitten, who some people may have heard of from the very positively reviewed game Enemy Mind (also from Schell Games). You can check out the work-in-progress version of the soundtrack over at the Orion Trail Rainbow Kitten Soundcloud page.

With a little less than 24 hours left they are about $5,000 short of their $90,000 funding goal. Funding ends at 8 PM PST. If you dig the Oregon Trail or its many clones, including the fairly recent zombie parody, The Organ Trail, have a look at Orion trail.

James Schumacher
Freelance writer and used-to-be artist based out of the Pacific Northwest. I studied Game Art & Design in college. I have been writing web content for the last 6 years, including for my own website dedicated to entertainment, gaming & photography. I have been playing games dating back to the NES era. My other interests are film, books and music. I sometimes pretend to be great at photography. You can find me on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, 500px, DeviantArt and elsewhere under my nick: JamesInDigital.

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