All aboard! We're going to Train Valley


Train Valley is a nice indie game that's easy to learn but hard to master. The early levels are extremely simple, but the difficulty goes up really quick and you will soon find yourself struggling to complete all the objectives. You will use the Pause button more than you'd think.

The game has two modes: a classic mode, which is a series of objective-based scenarios that take place in the United States, Japan, Russia, and Europe, throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, and a sandbox mode. The levels do not actually take place in those locations exactly, but in geographical approximations of these places.

For example, Florida, which is the third level of the second area, is represented as a coastal environment that offers unique challenges for your design due to the bottleneck effect of the map's terrain. You will be forced to map your design around two tunnels and a bridge in order to travel across the landscape.

The first level plays the role of a tutorial, it tells you the basics, how to build rails and how to move your trains, and it tricks you into a false sense of security about how relaxing and easy this game will be. Don't be fooled though.

As you make money, existing stations will expand and form cities around them, and new stations will pop up on the map. Connect these stations to your existing rail systems and you will have the oportunity of sending more trains around the map at any given time. Diverging rail lines need to have their tracks manually switched by the player before the train reaches the exchange.

However, misaligning just one track switch can have hazardous results: your train will end up in the wrong station (which will cost you precious money), or even worse, it could end up hitting a different train, ending in an explosion that will destroy the tracks nearby. If you don't have the money to repair the track, this can lead to isolated stations, which will also cost you serious money if your trains can't reach their destination.

Terrain is the only obstacle at the moment. Some terrain features are impassable, such as volcanoes, hills, rivers, while others can be built through at a cost (villages, forests). While you have directional control over where your tracks go, the game lacks elevation.

For instance, if you have a body of water in your way, your only escape is to path your tracks around it, because there are no options for bridge-building, tunneling or any form of elevated construction. This may make the game seem a little poor in content, but it's not a game-breaking thing.

The second mode is an open sandbox mode which lets players build train networks across the same maps as in the classic mode, but without the loss conditions or resource management (money is gone). This mode is only available for every map that is completed in classic mode and mirrors the set-up of each map.

The Germany DLC adds new levels to the game, adding a new area to the campaign. The game becomes even more challenging, since the DLC adds new unexpected conditions to the game, like biplane bombing or a super-train express moving across the map.

Train Valley is a perfect game for those evenings when all you want to do is lay down on the couch and play a quick game. It's not very expensive, and for $9.99 you can't really go wrong. If you are into challenging puzzle games witch nice graphics, this is certainly the game for you.

P.S. The devs announced a sequel.

Name: Train Valley
Developer: Flazm
Publisher: Flazm
Released: September 16, 2015
MSRP: $9.99

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