Apple Arcade’s Oregon Trail is a modern iteration of the classic 1971 text-based strategy game. Gameloft has done a wonderful job at re-imagining it and making it fresh.
While I haven’t played the original, it’s probably safe to assume that it had its share of issues. For one thing, it might have been a bit problematic. Thankfully, the developers for this new one collaborated with Native American scholars in reworking the original to create a better, more respectful representation in the game.
Despite the original’s issues, Oregon Trail has become something of a pop culture icon. It has birthed tons of memes, which can make you laugh and feel a bit nostalgic even if you really never played the game.
To date, I have been playing Oregon Trail for 27 hours and 1 min, and I have enjoyed almost every minute of it. I can definitely see why many people were hooked on this game.
The game is simple. You’ll be going on a challenging trek from Missouri to Willamette Valley in Oregon. You’ll have to manage your party’s health, morale, stamina, and hygiene status. You’ll also need to take care of your oxen, fix your wagon and slot your supplies back in when your wagon is breaking down. Oh, and you’ll also have to hunt for meat to survive.
What’s surprising is, despite its simplicity, the game can still be challenging. Ensuring that you can safely cross a river, steering your raft to avoid obstacles, and prioritizing what objects to buy and which characters to keep in your party are quite fun and exciting as well.
Personally, I found crossing a river a pain in the ass. First, you have to make sure that you’ve collected enough pelts to cross safely. If you try to “caulk” or “ford” your wagon without enough pelts, you might potentially lose your belongings, or, worse, your party members might die. Of course, you can also choose to ride the ferry in some instances, but that’s if you still have enough coins to pay for it.
Aside from these, there are weekly challenges that also keep things interesting. Sure, the game can still be a bit too repetitive. But, I can assure you that every time you replay the game, whether it’s to get more points, finish other quests, or see how characters with different personalities react to certain in-game events brings new joy to the experience.
I gotta say that the game is quite addictive as well. So far, I’ve earned 24 out of the 39 achievements you can complete in Game Center. And I have no plans of quitting the game till I get all of them.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a simple game that can take your mind away from stress and worry, Oregon Trail is a good one to try. Instead of worrying about the global pandemic, you’ll be worrying about your characters not dying of, er, dysentery and cholera. Sure, that doesn’t sound fun, but trust me. It is. It sure is.
The Oregon Trail is available on Apple Arcade, a premium gaming subscription from Apple.
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Patriz Biliran and Regina Peñarroyo co-run The Ampersand and write blog articles in their free time.