Welcome to the review of Train Conductor from the Voxel Agents.
It seems so long ago that I had picked up my first iPod touch (3rd Gen) and had first played this game. One of my loves is trains, and more so model trains and upon finding Train Conductor on the App Store, I knew it was a perfect match, or at least I hoped it would be. Did it? Well, lets find out, shall we?
The Voxel Agents is an Australian Indie Developer company. While Train Conductor was not their first game made or even the first published to the App Store, it was the one that would decide whether or not they could make a successful iPhone game. The results are clear and Train Conductor was a runaway success. Yeah, excuse the bad puns. So on with the review shall we?
Train Conductor is a time strategy game now at version 2.0. It has you delivering trains to the right track in order for them to reach their destination within a “day”. The time limit isn’t spelled out, but I think it is about 5-10 minutes. However, different cities have their own conditions in order to challenge you and make it difficult to deliver your trains. Your game is based in the Australian Outback as you visit five cities to complete your train duties. The game requires a Plus+ social gaming account in order to save your progress and compare your high-scores and achievements to your friends. Yeah, yeah, its Plus+, I am not a fan, but its a necessary evil in this case and its not The Voxel Agent’s fault as Plus+ had not gone downhill when they released this game in 2010. Which it is ironic really, because I had (originally) complained that Train Conductor 2 had changed to Facebook integration, which now I’m fine with. Oh how the wheels turn…anyway.
When you open up Train Conductor, you are presented a map of Australia with the cities that you can visit, provided you have unlocked them. It will also display your high scores for each level and the total trains you’ve delivered in the game. You start out in Alice Springs, or otherwise known as the tutorial level, that has three train tracks. It introduces you to the basic things you need to know about the game and then sets you free to win (or lose) the level. The next city you visit is Cairns. This is a four-track level with a nice oceanic view. Your also introduced to Fast-Forwarding on this level. Fast forwarding speeds up the trains but does not speed up your day. Similar to Flight Control, but not quite. This allows you to score more points but it also makes the levels much more difficult. From there you move onto the rest of the game, which I’ll let you explore for yourself. Suffice it to say, there is plenty to do. 🙂
They also have a “Night Mode” that can be switched to. Your trains are now ghosts and they cannot wreck or stop. However, demon trains that come out occasionally must reach their correct destination or its game over. It does require quicker reflexes than Day Mode. It also has my favorite soundtrack music when your in the level selector. Overall, night mode is not my favorite part of the game, but it works well and changes the pace. 🙂
Graphics: The main reason I’m releasing this review is that the developers released an update for this game that not only updated the graphics to retina display, but also made the app compatible to the iPad, for free! This really made my day as most other companies will force you to buy the iPad version via an in-app-purchase or buy an entirely separate app. I thank you guys for doing this update for free, it really was a nice gesture from you guys and I can’t wait to see what you have next in store.
So lets actually talk about the graphics. Completely redesigned from the ground up with a new art style, they also changed the look of two of the cities, making one into a harbor and giving another a more open feeling. The graphics feel crisper too and round out the game nicely. They also added Easter egg trains as an optional decoration. From 3D trains on 2D levels, to the smoke billowing out of the smoke stack and even the attention to detail in the background, it gives you a fantastic visual treat. They did a great job here and although I wasn’t used to the new art style they “ported” from Train Conductor 2, it looks great on the iPad.
Controls: The Controls are well polished and hearing the click of the tracks as you move your finger along the screen gives you some great feedback. Really, it just works and you never have to worry about the game “hang” as you switch the train to the right track.
Sounds: The soundtrack in this game is top notch. From the train whistle’s blowing, to the creepy sounds of the ghosts flying by, an all-around excellent job. The music also avoids getting repetitive even after playing the game so many times. You will really feel like your near a train station when playing this game.
Content wise, this game only has five levels or 10 counting the night-mode. This is a weakness of the game. I wish they would add more tracks as that would make the game more appealing, but despite that, the levels that exist are well designed and unique enough.
Final Thoughts: I love indie-companies. The generosity they give us gamers makes the $$ well spent. This game gives a feeling of a AAA-title, but for the low cost of $0.99. The developers put a lot of hard work, which is easily seen in the game. A well-polished and thought out experience, Train Conductor is always a joy to come back to even months after. For a casual game, it has a lot of replayability (though you have to care about getting a higher score each time you play) and just works on the iPhone/iPad. If you have an iOS device, I highly recommend picking up this game. Especially if you love trains. 🙂
Train Conductor is available on the iTunes App Store for $0.99 which gives you the iPad and iPhone version: Train Conductor
Link to YouTube Channel and Trailer:
*Note, above video while still accurate, does not have the latest graphics present in 2.0. So gameplay is the same, graphics are changed to above pictures in blog.
Links to the Voxel Agents Website:
Thanks for reading my blog, have a glorious weekend!
King Isaac Linksr
P.S. Train Conductor 2 Review Returning Soon.