Last Train Home is a personal war story with clever gameplay | Hands-off preview

by on June 12, 2023

At a recent preview event for THQ Nordic, I had the pleasure of seeing an unannounced game set on board a train. Nope, there’s no track-building or managing a train station and subsequent trade routes. Instead, it tells the tale of the Czechoslovak Legion following the end of World War I, who are stuck in a civil war trying to find their way home on board an armoured train. From what I saw, Last Train Home looks excellent. From the unrelenting realism of the visuals and representation of conflict to the variety in gameplay, I had a great feeling that this is going to be something special.

The Great War is over – the fight continues. Command a legion of soldiers, desperately trying to make their way home amidst the chaos of civil war. Lead them through the unforgiving wilderness onboard an armored train. Manage your crew and resources and try to survive.

In terms of the story, Last Train Home is inspired by real history, and in the presentation we learned a lot about how the game was made. Ashborne Games has put a lot of care into dealing with the delicate nature of war and survival, and in what we saw this is abundantly clear. Every character has a name and a history, instead of just being a soldier controlled by AI that becomes lost in the balance of survival and death. It’ll add a personal touch to the decisions you’ll make when playing, especially when you see how the mechanics work.

One of the main missions I witnessed in Last Train Home saw the soldiers try and make their way through the dangerous forests of Siberia. You can control groups of soldiers at a time, or individually, and give them various tasks based on their class. Infantrymen will provide firepower to take out small pockets of resistance, while medics can stay back and provide aid to injured soldiers. You can lob grenades, spy on nearby camps to find safe spots or hidden dangers, and more. It looked fluid, and taking control of your men looked straightforward enough, even when encountering the enemy.


Between the real-time missions, you’ll travel across Russia onboard an armoured train. Each compartment or carriage has a particular feature, where soldiers can be healed up ready to return to battle, and prepare in other ways for what lies ahead. Watching the train move through the country looked rather cathartic, and even when not fighting for your life, there’re moments when you can choose to visit nearby stores for supplies or talk to locals. A fair amount of variety in what you can do was shown off during the presentation, and while it gave off This War of Mine vibes, it had much more going on.

Despite not getting to play Last Train Home, it’s clear from hearing how passionately the developers were talking about it and the footage that was shown off, we’re in for something special. The real-time skirmishes look intense but also engrossing, and the variety of options, whether engaging with the enemy or exploring the unforgiving lands, will provide plenty of ways to approach any given scenario. I’m excited to learn more about the game over the coming months, but as of right now, this has plenty of potential to be great.