Game Review: ‘Colt Express (Digital Edition)
Review based on iOS version played on an iPhone 7+
Tabletop players may already be familiar with the smash hit ‘Colt Express’ – if not, read our review here – the Western themed rain robbery game that has been catching eyes at many meets. For the uninitiated, ‘Colt Express’ has players taking on the role of a bandit looking to rob a train. There is a limited amount of loot available, a testy sheriff, up to five rival bandits to compete against. You plan your moves it advance, choosing the order of the available cards, before an action phase begins and your scheme plays out…or gets derailed by the actions of others. It’s a quick paced, wonderfully designed game that has proven very popular.
This adaptation to a digital format has kept the core mechanics of the game and the feel of playing it more or less perfect. We skipped the tutorial, having become familiar with the gameplay on the tabletop version, and immediately got the hang of the control scheme. It’s easy to use and intuitive. That’s a big tick in the plus column. Also done well is the presentation. 2D character sprites keep the tabletop feel and the movement animations coupled with the scenery whizzing by add to the fun. The music and sound effects help bring the game to life.
In addition to Quick Game and Custom Game we were surprised to find a story mode. Each of the six characters have their own tale to spin out, told in some nicely drawn comics that get unlocked page by page with the completion of chapters. These new levels have set challenges and variations to the standard gameplay, such as collecting X amount by turn Y, introducing fire hazards and the ability to crawl along the underside of the train. These are interesting but feel more like a puzzle game than ‘Colt Express’, and aren’t as much fun as competitive play. New players may benefit from the opportunity to learn new strategies though.
As to the online play…we don’t know. It became available today but after a number of attempts we never got matched to a game. Hopefully that’ll change as more players get online, but we are left reviewing the local game against the AI and frankly the AI could use more I and less A. We saw the computer players draw new cards to their hand on their last turn frequently, sometimes twice in a row, and some would simply run back and forth through the carriages. It never feels like you’re playing against a real group of opponents and unless luck is against you it’s not going to be a challenge for experienced players. We also had some glitches occur. On occasion the on screen buttons would become unresponsive, forcing us to reset the app and lose the game.
Hopefully these issues get resolved in an update because this is a very smooth transition from tabletop to digital, and we do love this game. If you haven’t played it and don’t want to cough up for a physical copy this is well worth checking out.