Train Valley (PC) Review

By Shanker Varma 24.02.2016

Review for Train Valley on PC

While the subject of trains may bore some people to tears, there is quite a large contingent of folk out there quite overjoyed by the subject matter - officially called 'Rail Fans' rather than mere 'Train Spotters' - and it only takes a quick glimpse at the long list of train-related videogames released to realise there is indeed a strong market out there to cater for. Train Valley is the new kid on the block, attempting to fuse the niche hobby with the more popular city-building genre. After having a delicious taste of Oroboro Games' title midway through last year, Cubed3 now pulls into the station to deliver the final verdict.

Train Valley is quick to learn but very hard to master, which makes it a wonderful pick up and play experience that offers a lot of entertainment. There are 24 levels to complete and three optional objectives in each to add replay value alongside the sandbox mode to practise management techniques or just play freely. The developer has done a great job of making something that can appeal to players of varying skill levels but still offer a lot of challenge for those who seek it.

Screenshot for Train Valley on PC

It doesn't take long, after being greeted by the relaxing music of the main menu, to jump into the first level of Train Valley. This serves as a tutorial to explain the basic concepts, and then later expanding on them, but the player is quickly given autonomy to create a network of rails as they see fit. The aim of each stage is to finish without going bankrupt by creating links between stations and earning money from each successful train journey. This may seem easy at the start but it soon becomes challenging to ensure that trains reach their destinations safely as new stations and trains appear at a fast pace.

Designing routes to carry carriages efficiently is tricky in itself but it comes with the added challenge of making sure that trains aren't left idle for too long, as they will automatically embark upon their journeys if too much time has passed. Thankfully, there is a pause button, which helps make decisions like these with some thought, especially as the passage of time also reduces the amount of money that a train will earn when it does eventually reach its destination. This is also useful when trains are moving around the map by activating switches at junctions or stopping other carriages to avoid collisions.

Screenshot for Train Valley on PC

Each map is made up of a variety of obstacles and a range of station layouts, with a theme to match its geographical setting and place in history. Players must lay their tracks carefully to maximise the efficiency of their network of rails in any given area as some obstacles are impassable and those that may be demolished require an extra cost to do so. Juggling construction costs with potential profits is a tricky business and requires a keen eye, especially in later levels. Every stage also has three optional objectives, which range from being completed in the normal course of business to fiendishly difficult. This provides a great incentive to return for an extra challenge and truly test the skills of those in the driving seat.

Outside of 'classic' is a sandbox mode that has the freedom to experiment with different layouts and tactics to find the optimum routes in any each level. This is eases the pressure of juggling an increasing number of trains or a dwindling bank balance, as trains no longer leave the station automatically and there is no money to consider, just how quickly a journey can be completed or how many trains can run at any one time. Within the game's 24 levels, regardless of mode, are four maps where station locations are always randomly determined. This means that even after beating every stage and completing all the optional objectives, there is still something new to find.

Screenshot for Train Valley on PC

Visually speaking, there is a clear and simple art style that makes it easy to follow trains around the map and manage networks of rails. The graphics reflect the modest system requirements but this means that it should run on pretty much any machine that is still working today. It's very easy to get drawn into the role of a train manager, so the lack of a fantastic visual flair is easily forgotten. Nonetheless, each new level always shows that the developer took the time to make each era look distinct, with environmental features such as volcanoes and French castles. Train Valley is wonderfully complemented by a relaxing soundtrack that suits the role of a train manager perfectly.

Screenshot for Train Valley on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Players will be caught up in the wonders of Train Valley as quickly as they learn how to work its mechanics and lay tracks like a rail tycoon, all thanks to its accessible nature and engaging gameplay. The experience gets more challenging over the course of the 24 levels, yet the optional objectives and sandbox mode mean that it caters to a range of skills, so any budding train managers can play without fear of being overwhelmed or bored. The low price of £6.99 means that there is fantastic value of money for pretty much anyone who picks it up as it is easy to quickly get hooked on making the most lucrative and efficient rail networks possible to finish not only all 24 levels, but also all of the optional objectives. Anyone who remains to be convinced should try the free demo on Steam - it is highly likely that it will soon be followed by a purchase of the full version.

Developer

Oroboro Games

Publisher

Flazm Interactive Entertainment

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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