Train Conductor World is a new release from Voxel Agents, where the main mechanics involve line drawing to move trains from one track to another.
The premise of the game–set in Europe–is pretty straightforward, where you have to direct trains onto the correct track (based on color), by drawing a track for them. When levels are completed, you can acquire access to other cities, all of which have their own unique features. For example, Bruges has a huge canal down the middle of it, and you have to draw bridges for your trains to go on.Now, the game can get tricky when multiple trains need to cross paths, but of course your job is also to prevent them from colliding.
In fact, averting train collisions is the name of the game. The swipe mechanism for drawing tracks and tapping to stop a train works effortlessly with the touch capabilities of mobile devices. Sometimes, to prevent trains from crashing, it becomes necessary to slow a train down, but you lose that precious star on your train (which in turn prevents you from completing the level at 100%, which in turn means you have to replay the level if you’d like to advance to the next level of difficulty… more on grinding later). Of course, sometimes you luck out and can play through a level without having to stop any trains, which does remind me of a pretty popular movie from the 90s:
The gameplay is fast-paced, and collisions mean that you lose precious cargo, which in turn loses you points. Further, train crashes also either bring about the end of the game or trigger advertising, which (when you’re playing a very tricky level) can be incredibly distracting and all too frequent.
The graphics have come a long way since the other Train Conductor games, with its bright colors and cute, chubby little 3D animated trains. Each city also has various difficulty levels and and a day/night cycle, which is a nice touch. I also particularly like the puzzle aspect of the wider map, where you are given train track tiles to connect cities together, and you have to figure out the most optimal way to do so.
However, the game feels quite grindy even in its early levels, with it not being completely clear right off the bat how to advance from one level of difficulty to another. Cities cannot be opened without the correct train track tiles, so you can also be playing one level repeatedly to get enough points to get a random tile, and if that tile isn’t one that you need for advancing your track, well, you rinse and repeat.
Overall, Train Conductor World is a fun, little game, and one that’s definitely worth trying out, especially for the low, low price of being free. Even despite the grindiness, the premise, polish and high level of execution mean that it’ll provide hours of entertainment.