Gold Express was a bit of a surprise, especially for someone who is extremely familiar with the 1v4 genre. The game is currently in early access on Steam, and is often described as a futuristic take on Dead by Daylight. As such, you should be familiar with the basic premise: 4 Extractor players go against 1 Watcher, aka Killer. The Extractors must work together to escape the map, while the Watcher tries to eliminate them. Extractors must interact with the objectives – different machines – to extract data cubes and then upload them. If they manage to upload 7 data cubes, they get to extract using a sort of flying truck. Meanwhile, the Watcher is obviously trying to prevent that from happening.
While the gameplay is very similar, Gold Express is a far more complex version of Dead by Daylight. There is simply so much more for players have to manage. Both the Extractors and Watchers can place barricades throughout the map which turn areas into helpful juke spots, or dead ends. There is an emphasis on paying attention to your surroundings as an Extractor, because there are not many obvious clues to the approach of a Watcher.
The kill mechanics are different, too. Killing an Extractor once does not take them out of the game. Extractors’ health pool is what determines if they can be permanently killed. And as long as an Extractor is able to regain any amount of health they get to stick around. This means that Watcher players have to apply constant pressure to confirm kills.
Gold Express has another interesting mechanic, and it is one I haven’t seen in other 1v4 games. Once an Extractor gets to the flying truck, they are not out of the match. They get an aerial view of the map, and can choose to jump back down into it to help their friends escape, or watch their dreadful demise.
The game is put together well and fairly polished for an early access title. It also really delivers on the futuristic vibe, from its lore and background all the way to the UI. While the controls are easy to understand, Gold Express itself does take some time to get a better grasp of. There is a variety of different Extractors and Watchers to choose from, each with their own unique abilities, allowing for different playstyles. If I have one gripe, it is that matches can take quite a while to end. Seven cubes to extract doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can feel like forever. This is especially true if your Extractor teammates start dying before having made any progress, and you start to wonder if you should just find the Watcher and end it all.
Gold Express is certainly a fresh take on the ever-growing 1v4 genre, now lets hope it gets a chance from players. Since it is still in early access, there is hope for its future.