Trains, Trains, Trains!
By Lee Marcussen
Reviewed on Steam
Released on September 16th, 2016 for PC
Developer: Flazm Publisher: Flazm
Trains, Trains, Trains! Is that what you’d expect in Train Valley?? Then you my friend are correct. Train Valley is a strategic puzzle style game where you have different colored station maps that are in different towns. Your role in the game is to build the tracks that connect these stations together and then send the correct trains to the right colored town. Sounds pretty easy? It is for the most part but it’s up to you to make sure the trains get to the right places without delays and train collisions which is the more challenging part of the game. As the game progresses you move forward in years and you can see the difference with the type and style of trains develops as the years go by. There are also changes in the environment as the years progress.
Just like any game, the first several levels are pretty easy. They feature open spaces (only 4 to 5 stations) that you have to manage the trains for. As the levels get higher there are more obstacles that you can either go around or go through and pay money to destroy the obstruction. Part of the track building is having to switch tracks that change the direction of the train onto another rail line. This is where the game can get very challenging, since you are making sure you are switching the right trains over onto the correct rails. You decide on when to send the train to the stations but if you wait too long the value of the load will decrease and then eventually the train goes off by itself which can really cause a chaos if you have trains on that same track. If there are not enough trains ready to leave you can ask for an additional train. These are usually worth more but don’t have much time to send them. Other factors for the game that make it more challenging is speeding up the time which is nice in the beginning years with the slower steam engines but as the diesel and bullet trains develop, speed is not always your friend. If making sure your trains are going the right places in the right times wasn’t challenging enough, each level has a set of 3 challenges that can range from no train crashes, build a certain number of rails, to earn over a set amount of money.
Train Valley requires a lot of multitasking. Control wise, the trains are easy to send off and you can stop them if you have another train on the track or forget to switch over a track down the line. You also have the option to spin the train to go back the direction it was heading from in case you missed its station. The track construction mode is very easy, highlighting the tiles green for spots able to have tracks, yellow if something has to be demolished, and red if a track can’t be placed. Graphically the game is pretty crisp for being more cartoon like. The backgrounds are nice and each map is divided by country than by city and you can tell differences in the buildings and landscapes.
Overall Valley of Trains is a solid game for anyone who enjoys simulator style puzzle games. The controls are easy to use and the gameplay is very user friendly. The challenges add replayability to the maps as well. In addition, there is a sandbox mode where you have no limit on money and you can build any amount of tracks. The game isn’t too expensive either. I don’t really have any bad things to say about it. I enjoyed playing the game very much and I think a lot of people will too!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8/10