The new The Oregon Trail and its entertaining knowledge and management trips: I recommend it

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The Oregon Trail is a veteran video game saga that was born in 1971 with a proposal very similar to the one we find in the new version released on Nintendo Switch and PC (already available), which is still a port of the game that was already available on Apple Arcade. His ideas remain the same: to entertain, educate and provide knowledge for players who want to know more and, to a certain extent, live in their flesh the Oregon Trail taken by multitudes of Native Americans and indigenous peoples of the United States in the century XIX.

The saga, over the years, has been appearing on different platforms, although I had not been able to test it until now. And it has been a real surprise, since I have met not only not quite an educational video game that knows how to spread its message, but one that is very entertaining and capable of hooking you for long hours thanks to its management and survival proposal. Because, above all, The Oregon Trail proposes a kind of roguelike in which you have to overcome different journeys with a group of characters, taking care of their diet, health, morality, hygiene, and dealing with the problems along the way.

The main modality of The Oregon Trail is to complete that long trip to Oregon with a group of four characters that you choose at the beginning of the game, and the grace is that each of them has different personalities, stats, strengths and weaknesses. Building a balanced group is important, as you will need everyone at some point along the way. There are those who know how to haggle better with the merchants, who have the best hand to hunt, to fix the cart, collect the fruits of the road, cook…

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The trip develops automatically, and the player must make decisions. What routes to take, what items to use, what to buy or sell, how much to risk at certain times. All four characters are in your care, and you must keep their health, stamina, or food levels in check. It’s all about management, in a simple but well-constructed way, determining how big each food ration will be, how fast the march will be, whether to sleep or wash in a newly discovered camp… all decisions will influence the well-being of all of them and, if they die, they will die forever and the journey will continue without them.

Along the way you will find different random events that have to do with encounters with animals, hunting or fishing areas (in which you directly control the character in simple but entertaining mini-games), characters with individual bows that you can help (or not )… everything is very well built so that the trip is fun and so that you have to continually check how your supplies are going, what you should prioritize at all times and how you can react to the unexpected inclemencies of the road, which will be many. For example, you may come across thieves on the road or a river to cross with your wagon, and there are multiple options to approach these types of situations with different conclusions.

The Oregon Trail is fun, and this gameplay makes it easy to make each run unique, encouraging the player to complete all the different trails and rides (because it’s not just Oregon Trail that’s available). There are even online events to complete together with the rest of the players or temporary activities. It is evident that the game has known how to adapt to the new times to offer an adventure to match.

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What are the biggest problems I’ve encountered so far? That despite the fact that The Oregon Trail puts narrating the history of Native Americans and indigenous peoples as its main motivation, don’t go deep into it at all. The conversations are simple and put a little in context, but it would have been much better to have really stated, without further ado, the true facts without going overboard or without simplifying it so much. It invites you to reflect, to know the base and to investigate on your own, but I would have loved to find a greater depth in this aspect.

Also greater clarity is missed in its menus, or that certain information always remains on the screen or at times when it is decisive. For example, on many occasions you must decide which of your four characters should perform a certain action, and in order to do so it is very important to know their current statistics and general state, but to see it you have to open the menu, go to the character option , take a look and go back to select it. It doesn’t tarnish the entire experience, but there are small details that would have made navigability and usability much more satisfying. It is also noteworthy that the Nintendo Switch version does not take advantage of its touch features in a portable format, when the Apple Arcade version is obviously based on that type of control.

I still have many stretches to cover and surprises to discover in The Oregon Trail, but if you like this type of management and survival games, or you already enjoyed the franchise in the past with one of its many iterations, I think this new version Apple Arcade Launching on Nintendo Switch and PC It is a work to take into account with an educational value on a par with its entertaining approach.

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