Developed and published by Horrible Guild, Railroad Ink Challenge started off as Kickstarter. However, it wasn’t for the video game, it was for the original board game version. The campaign was ridiculously successful and the board game became a reality. Due to its popularity, we are now blessed with a digital version of that exact game.
A stunningly designed simplistic puzzler!
I haven’t dabbled in a puzzle game like Railroad Ink Challenge in quite some times so I am extremely excited to see how I get on with it. Since moving over to PC I have played nothing but multiplayer titles, keep reading to find out how I get on.
In short, the main game within Railroad Ink Challenge is to build railways and highways to connect the highest number of entrances and exits. Sounds easy? However, this has to be completed over only 7 turns.
To start each turn you are given 4 dice, each side having a route type on it. There are railway roads and highway routes, each dice has different options. For example, some might have straights, some might have bends. There are, however, conversion tracks that convert the highway to the railway, end track, and even crossings. You also have 6 special dice which are on the lower right, these can only be used once but give you the crossroad option in various ways.
So not only do you have the challenge of connecting the exits you also have 3 challenges per game. These can be chosen before you start or you can let the game decide. Completing these will also get you extra points at the end. Along with these bonuses, you also get various bonuses on the map by connecting villages, universities, and factories.
The ultimate aim is to have the least number of dead connections and the highest score. This may sound easy, but it proves very difficult and you can quite easily back yourself into a corner if you aren’t covered for all eventualities. The controls prove very easy due to the simple manner of the game, most of it is quite simply drag and drop. Once you have got used to the dice and how to use them, the games get faster. However, the frustration of placing a tile wrong and realising the next turn also creeps up due to this.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics on Railroad Ink Challenge are beautiful. They are a clean take on sketched-based graphics. The colour palette used, despite it being simple, really brings the game to life. Looking at the content that will be coming in the future it will have the same styling, however, it will be developed in different colours. This will add another level to the game and visually mix up what the players see on screen.
The audio throughout the game fits the calm upbeat nature of the calm. There is a nice upbeat acoustic track that sticks with you throughout the menus and gameplay. Alongside this there are also sound effects within the game, an example of this would be when you complete a turn a train comes along the bottom of the screen. It all fits together really well and helps bring the board game experience to life.
Railroad Ink Challenge is a puzzle title, therefore if puzzling is your thing. Then there is a chance you will always keep it installed and visit it when you want a bit of downtime. It could also be that filler game when you are waiting for friends to come online as the games are nice and short but entertaining. It definitely isn’t a game that you get bored with after a few tries. You will always be trying to beat your last score. You can even get friends and family involved and try to compete against each other. There are hours of fun to be had in Railroad Ink Challenge.
I really enjoyed taking a step back and trying out a title that I wouldn’t usually go for. Puzzle games are usually not what I steer towards. However, on this occasion, I am glad I did. Railroad Ink Challenge doesn’t have a lot of modes on offer currently, but the one it does have is flawless. I was thinking about the award whilst playing, I was thinking what is the game missing? The only thing I could think of was maybe extra content. However, the developers are already on with that. I, therefore, give Railroad Ink Challenge a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.