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Choo Choo Steam Trains review (iOS/Universal)

April 29, 2011

“They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight”

10 word description: Conduct your own model railway. Real time train management puzzles.

The menu is a constantly changing, fully animated view

10 word review: Fun, addictive, fairly hectic train conducting. Not just for children!

There are several different levels, each with their own set of track challenges

You will like this if you enjoy: Trainz; Rails & Trains; Train Conductor; Railroad Tycoon (although it’s really not the same type of game); time management games (although it’s really not the same type of game); puzzle games; model trains, Thomas and Friends.

He's different enough from the Fat Controller to avoid a law suit, but let's call him "The Fat Controller" anyway.

The good news: It’s a surprisingly fun and polished game. Unlocking track pieces, trains and buildings for “Build” mode by completing levels in “Play” mode is great. There are lots of achievements. Playing with model trains, at least in this game, is not just for young children – it’s surprisingly challenging.

Passengers appear at each station. Tap the points (small light blue arrows) to choose which direction the train goes.

The bad news: Maybe the graphics could be a bit more detailed. Although it’s Universal, there’s no Retina support.

Graphics aren't exactly jaw-dropping. Oh look, there's Percy!

Arcadelife verdict: This one genuinely surprised me – the time management/puzzle style game in “Play” mode is really rather good. There are numerous challenge levels, starting fairly easily where you just have one train travelling around a track and only a single set of points to operate. Later on, it gets much more hectic with the introduction of additional puzzle elements like turntables, that can cause crashes if not set correctly, and more trains. It’s definitely not just a children’s game, even though it looks like one.

The Fat Controller was cross! "You have caused confusion and delay," he said.

“Build” mode allows you to freely create a train track from available track pieces and various buildings and other items. Initially, you don’t have much to use but you unlock track pieces by beating levels in “Play” mode. Actual track building is intuitive and fun. There’s an almost organic feel to placing the pices of track; they don’t have to be perfectly aligned and will bend slightly to match whatever shape you’re trying to create – within reason. Once built, you can view a train travelling around your track in 3D.

Building tracks is easy and quite satisfying. There are achievements for using certain numbers of pieces.

The final mode, “Watch”, is just a free ride on tracks that have been unlocked in “Play” mode (I think!). There’s not much to do, but you get achievements for using it.

There are lots of achievements but no Game Center

Overall, this is a great little game for puzzle and time management fans. Obviously, train fans and children hooked on Thomas and Friends will probably love it just because of the subject matter. The trains are even coloured in the same basic blues, reds and greens as the T&F trains … coincidence? I doubt it!

Arcadelife rating: 78/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1

iTunes link

Chillingo – Choo Choo Steam Trains website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.2)
iPad (OS 4.3.2)
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