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25 Aug 2022

REVIEW: Train Valley: Console Edition - On PC and Consoles

Review by Jon Donnis
Although Train Valley has been available on PC for quite a while, the developers have finally released the game on consoles.

The concept is simple. You play on a single screen map and start with a couple of train stations. (You can zoom in and out). The problem is that there is no track. That is your job, connect the Stations, so that the trains can travel from one point to another. But of course, things aren't that easy. For a start you have a strict budget, and you have to pay taxes every in-game year.

When laying tracks across empty areas, they cost just $1000 per piece of track laid, but if there is a tree in the way then the cost doubles, oh and if there is a house in the way that price goes up. The bigger the obstacle the more it costs, so the clever builder will avoid obstacles. And that creates it's own set of problems.

As you play the game and time passes, more train stations will appear. Everything is colour coded, and it needs to be, because now trains will need to go to specific stations, so you not only need to make sure the tracks are laid correctly, but you also have to control switches.

Luckily you can choose when and which train leaves which station, but the longer you wait, the less money you will make from the journey completing, and wait too long, and the train will just set off.

Throw in AI controlled super trains, which will cross your paths, as well as my favourite, random planes bombing your tracks in the Germany level, and you have quite the challenge in front of you if you wish to complete a level.

The levels themselves are done as part of a book, each page represents a different country and time period. As you complete a level you will be rewarded stamps in your book, and if you complete the added level challenges you will get more stamps. Challenges usually include setting off an additional number of trains, extra to those set by the level. Avoiding crashes, completing the level without pausing, making sure no trains arrive at the wrong station and so on.

And to complete a "season" you will also have to play a final level with no challenges as such other than to survive without going bankrupt, as more stations and trains appear over time.

The 5 "seasons" include, Europe (1830–1980), America (1840–1960), USSR (1880–1980), Japan (1900–2020) and Germany (1830-2020).

While playing these "seasons" they will feature real life events like the Gold Rush of 1849, the construction of the Florida Overseas Railroad, World War II, the Cold War, the launch of the first manned space flight Vostok 1, the fall of the Berlin Wall etc.

There are different modes you can play, mainly story mode and sandbox mode. 

For train fans there are over 30 different trains to see, from early steam-powered locomotives to modern high-speed trains, as well as 18 different kinds of "car" from old-time passenger cars to hoppers and cisterns and to military-use tank and gun platforms.

I am not a big train fan, but this is a great game. It has a simple concept, is super easy to get into and learn, and surprisingly addictive, especially the need to complete the objectives on a level and got those valuable 3 stamps.

Now I have played the PC version, so I can't comment on the console releases, but I am assured they are direct ports and even include the bonus Germany DLC from the PC version.

The Good
Simple, addictive gameplay that got me hooked pretty quickly. Don't be fooled by the simple graphics either, this is a deep game that will grab your attention and refuse to let go.

The Bad
Give me more levels! Is it a bad thing to want more of the same? I think there is more "juice" to have in the original Train Valley release.

I really am surprised how much I enjoyed this game. It just delivers on what it promises. Which is so rare these days. 

An almost perfect simple arcade style Train game. I really can't say more than that.

I score Train Valley a near perfect 9/10. It only misses out on the 10 because I completed the game, and want more!

Out now on PC and Consoles

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