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PC Game Review

Train Fever


Format: PC
Publisher: Gambitious
Developer: Urban Games
RRP: £19.99
Click here to buy
Age Restrictions: 3+
Release Date: 04 September 2014

Train Fever is one of those games that is full of interesting concepts, it’s easy to pick up with intuitive controls and it will threaten to take over your whole life.

At its basic level it’s a sim in the vein of Sim City which concentrates on the transportation side of things, with a heavy leaning towards trains. The world is procedurally generated and unlike some earlier games does not rely on a grid system for the laying down of routes. The game has a sort of generalised rural aesthetic, which means that although the towns may be named after British towns and cities, they are not a direct representation of those places, but neither do they look specifically mainland European.

Review imageWhen you first fire up the game a new world is generated and you have the choice of size, the bigger the more towns are generated. The 3D view of the world is zoomable, so you can either take a god-like view of your gaming area or zoom down to see individual characters and vehicles. This is provided not only to impress you with its detail, but has a practical value.

Obviously the aim of the game is to make money which can be ploughed back into more routes, but how do you know where to place your first one. If you look closely at your town states you may discover that your virtual population has adequate housing but inadequate industry, so where are all these people going to work. Well, zoom down and you can see where they are heading. In most cases they will only be making it to the next town, so this is where you can start your travel empire.

Review imageYou have two primary modes of transport, your trains and your buses, as well as trams if that’s more your bag. So, within your budget you can lay down track to the next nearest town. But this is not enough. How is your population going to access the trains? For this you can lay down bus routes which will link the town with the rail. Provide these and you will start to generate revenue.

It’s probably worth starting on a smaller, flatter map. The reason for this is to get used to the controls. Whilst it may be more of a challenge to start on a large hilly map, you have to remember that creating bridges or tunnelling through hills may seem more exciting, but are a more costly build.

The game does not provide you with one single time period, but allows you to play over multiple periods, so as time moves on you get access to newer vehicles.

Review imageSo far this looks and feels great, but sounds a little limiting. However, your success or failure in you empire building will have a direct effect on the prosperity of your towns and as the towns grow you have to keep up with the challenge of an ever evolving world. The game will continue happy alone by itself with goods and people moving around the best way they can and so it’s often worth looking around the map to see if any industry appears to be isolated as it’s always a good source of revenue.

In order to set up your first link you can drop two stations between two towns and then build track between the two, having completed this you build a bus station and determine a bus route by placing bus stops and then start to see money rolling in as the little people use your company. Those resources which you do not link up are not just left to rot; the game will handle any resources as well as it can. Of course, if you get involved in building rail and roads, all of these will add revenue.

Review imageYou have a general ledger with which you can track how much revenue each of your towns is generating as well as any excesses of people and goods.

It might seem a little complicated but the general idea is really easy to pick up. Beneath this veneer is a wealth of options to play with, adding greatly to the games overall depth and play time.

If you feel like playing god, with a leaning towards transport the Train Fever is likely to tick all your wish list boxes.


Charles Packer

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