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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: Trainz Simulator (iPad)

Trainz Simulator has shot to #2 on the Australian iPad paid Apps store for games, following a huge price discount, down to a little more than a $1. It's also an Australian production, coming to us courtesy of N3V Games.

If you've ever wanted to be a train driver... here's your chance

So is it worth the discount? Unfortunately, not really.

At least, not for everyone. Why this game is so high on the overall charts, I don't really understand, because it's clearly not a game for everyone. So, as a pop quiz - are you the kind of person that likes making model railways? If so, then you'll probably enjoy this. If not, then no.

Technically, it's not especially well-made. The 3D visuals are primitive, the landscape is empty, and there's some odd bugs, and if you're 'controlling' multiple trains, you're in for a nightmare in managing them simultaneously.

If you expect to see some life on the station platforms where passengers are presumedly waiting for you to pick them up, then you're in for a disappointment. The "passengers" are a completely unanimated, blurred mess.

There is so much depth in this game... it's unfortunate it's so technically flawed

And, if you're not into trains, the "gameplay" will bore the living hell out of you. The goal is simply to drive one (or multiple) trains around. That's it. The idea is to keep them on the tracks. They will derail if you've sped them too far over the speed limit, but no, they don't explode in a spectacular ball of flame. They just... stop working.

It's true sandbox gaming, and if it's the kind of sand you like to play with, you'll enjoy this. There are a lot of different trains to drive around, and you can switch between a first person view as the driver of the train to a variety of environmental views. There's plenty of options to let you be as hands on or hands off with the game as you'd like. You can just drive around, or in true model train fashion, create your own routes. In getting into this, the game will last you forever - certainly more than you'll ever get out of any other $1 game.

Which makes this game very hard to rate. For one - it's barely a game, and moreover how much you enjoy it depends on whether you've ever done a spot of trainspotting or not. By that logic, either there are more trainspotters in Australia than I thought, or there are a lot of disappointed people that just wasted $1.

Review: Trainz Simulator (iPad)
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