The Oregon Trail in Review – Patience is a Virtue

oregontrail1I was looking forward to playing Oregon Trail, simply based on everyone’s nostalgia of playing this classic title on their Apple II.  I can admit I never played the game (at least I don’t remember playing it when I was younger).  It seems it was an educational game played in many elementary schools and was also an extremely difficult game.  This doesn’t seem to be the case here.  It seems to be a very polished, but an extremely forgiving game.

oregontrail2The object of the game is to take your family across the United States along the Oregon Trail.  Along the way, there will be many obstacles (disease, broken bones, rivers, different paths) and you must choose what you think is the most effective. For instance, should you spend some time resting and letting your son’s broken leg heal which in turn diminishes your food ration, or should you continue along, perhaps at a slower pace making you arrive later?

oregontrail3There seems to be a decision you need to make at every turn.  While this sounds like a lot of fun, the fact that each choice, and each decision results in another slow loading screen, really took me out of the game.  It felt like I was playing for 20 seconds, and then waiting for 10 seconds, playing for another 20, and waiting for another 10…While I really liked the choices and the associated mini-games, I just felt like the game was lacking continuous flow.

There are 8 mini games ranging from hunting, fishing, river crossing, rafting, wagon repairing, telegraph (a memory game), berry picking and panning for gold.  They are cute and fun the first time you play them, but after a few goes, it becomes quite repetitive.  They are also rather simple.

oregontrail4The visuals in the game are great.  The cartoony graphics are perfectly suited and there is quite a bit of humor throughout the game.  The characters sometimes ramble a little something but the majority of the time, you’ll just be listening to the hooves of your ox and your moving wagon.  Of course, the faster you go, the faster those sounds become.

The game says there are random events but I’m not entirely sure how random they are.  I believe every time, your son is going to be taken by an eagle and there isn’t a way to stop that from happening.  At least I certainly haven’t figured it out.  Your wagon is going to get struck by lightning, and someone’s going to catch the measles. I also found that every time I was low on food, there just seemed to be a buffalo waiting to be harvested, or I’d just make it in to town.  Who knows, maybe I’m just really good at rationing and choosing the appropriate speed…

oregontrail5Don’t get me wrong.  The game is still rather fun.  It definitely does feel educational as each loading screen gives you some information about the times and neat little facts.  I wish there were more as these also became somewhat repetitive due to the frequent amount of loading screens.  It’s also educational as you have to make some choices in terms of paths and missions which in turn will affect your travels.  I guess the game just felt too easy and I was expecting a real challenge after hearing and reading how the original was so difficult.  The mini games are extremely easy but at the end of the day, there still is a lot to do in this game…you just need to be able to be patient with the loading screens.  Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but I expect things to run quickly, and maybe that’s my real lesson from the game.   Sometimes, patience is a virtue and if you’re willing to wait through constant loading screens, you will find a game that looks great, and offers some fun along the way.


App Summary
Title: The Oregon Trail (v1.1.2) Developer: Gameloft
Price: $5.99 App Size: 49.9 MB
  • Great polished graphics
  • Lots of choices
  • Lots of humor
  • Too many loading screens
  • Very easy
  • Repetitive


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