Dienstag, August 6, 2013 21:32:00

Review: Trainyard Express Is a Unique, Fun Puzzle Game


This is a game that has no trace of the traditional Android aesthetic; it has frustrating controls; it has banner ads; and most of all, it requires that you think (gasp!). And yet, you should download and play Trainyard Express right now if you have any sort of affinity towards puzzle games. In the words of Cory Roberts:

Trainyard Express is sort of like Air Control, but on rails! You only have certain pieces to get the trains to the station and prevent crashes.

This review comes from Cory's lightweight gaming channel, where you can find plenty of other gems.

Concept and Gameplay


Red trains to red stations, green trains to green stations.

It all starts out simple enough: There's a source and a destination, and you have to plot a course for your train to get from point A to point B. That's the core of the game, but it gets quirky and complicated in a hurry.

The first wrinkle introduced is multiple trains: You need to get the red trains to the red stations, and the green ones to the green stations, and you have to time things so they don't collide. Next, you'll come across levels where there are two green trains, but only one green destination. To solve those, both green trains must meet on the tracks at the exact same instant. When that happens, they converge into a single train, and can safely get to their destination -- but you'll have to get the timing just right to make it so.

Trainyard Express is a classic puzzle, in the sense that there's absolutely no time pressure. You can try again and again, and even control the flow of time and slow down the trains to a crawl so that you can see exactly what's going on. This makes it possible to revise and edit your tracks until everything works perfectly, and at the higher levels, this is a very satisfying experience.

Graphics and Sound


A moment of deep satisfaction.

Train Yard Express doesn't feel like an Android game. It could feel like a native game: The graphics are certainly schematic and sparse. But something about the size of the on-screen elements and the styling of the buttons just makes it feel like its own thing. That's not a knock on the game: The visuals are cohesive and consistent.

The sounds is sparse and not distracting. No cheesy tunes in this one, which is nice. The only point of frustration I've had with the game is that the controls take some getting used to: You have to know exactly how to utilize the grid in order to draw the track you're trying to draw. Once you get the hang of it, it's not too bad, but I still found myself making the occasional error.

A Great Puzzle

Trainyard Express is a very good puzzle game. If you enjoy working out complex systems, getting the timing just right, and watching everything you've planned come to life in a blur of motion, you have to try it out.