Train Life – A Railway Simulator is the latest release from Polish devs Simteract. Published by Nacon, it is out now on PC and will be coming to consoles on 22nd September.
Being a lover, for some bizarre reason, of transport tycoon-style games, I looked forward to actually being able to take part in the driving, as well as the managing of a railway empire.
Train Life – A Lot Different to Park Life!
Simteract appears to be a very interesting developer that originally focussed on creating professional simulators for training purposes, with a train simulator being one of them. They began to make games in 2018 and had the ability to build their creations based on the simulation technology that they already had perfected. From Traffic AI to City Generators, they seem very well set up to produce these types of games.
Let’s take a look at Train Life – A Railway Simulator! Don’t forget to like, share, comment or even go ride on a train if my review brings out your inner train spotter!
For anybody new to train driving or even management sims, do not fret. There is a long and fairly in-depth tutorial that lasts a good couple of hours to ensure that you are fit to take the reigns of a railway company.
Set in Europe, there are a number of starting locations that you can choose from however if you begin via the tutorial, which I strongly suggest you do, then you begin in Germany for this duration.
Now you would be wrong to think that the controls of a train are simply, forward and backward. I was blown away by how many more controls and functions are required in order to drive a train from one location to another! There a quite a few keys to get used to pressing although as with any game, the more you play the quicker you get. There is also controller support.
Through your guided lessons you will learn all there is to do with driving a train including setting routes, changing tracks and using the radio to notify stations of your impending arrival. While all of the controlling of the train can be carried out from an external view, there is the opportunity to stand inside the cabin and use the mouse to point and click the various dials, switches and levers.
Once the hands-on experience has been manifested in your head it is on to recruiting drivers, allocating trains, obtaining contracts and setting tasks. You control the whole railway company, all the way down to maintaining the trains and adapting to any challenges that lie before you such as fallen trees, stalled cars and anything else that can impact your journey.
From cargo to passengers and post, there is a huge world to explore that contains real-world behaviour such as dynamic weather and a beautiful day and night cycle. Signals and speed limits must be adhered to as well as the aforementioned braking distances!
As you progress through your career you are awarded money for successfully completing contracts that then allow you to purchase bigger and better trains and more staff to go with them. Just remember that you need to be driving a train yourself for your other workers to also want to drive their trains!
Graphics & Audio
When it comes to graphics, Train Life has all of the detail that you need. While each of the trains and controls is fully furnished along with other items critical to the train experience, i.e. signs, signals, tracks etc. The buildings and scenery are ok, with some textures at times looking a bit bland, but I guess you must remember that deep down when you are hurtling along the tracks everything is darting past you anyway.
The attention to detail within the world is good in places with animated people as well as cars traveling along the road. There were a few things that stuck out for me such as the wheels not actually turning on the cars and the electricity pylons being of a continental variety when you are driving through England. Nothing to break a game though. One item I did like, however, was that when driving to Calais you do actually travel through a long tunnel to simulate the real-life journey!
The audio has a good soundtrack to it while the whirl and screeches of the trains seem spot on from my times sitting on trains and waiting at platforms. The tutorial is fully voiced as well as the radio interactions when notifying stations.
With sim games this can be endless. Clearly, with Train Life, you are there to grow a logistics empire and this will take a long time through completing contracts, gaining money and enhancing your company through new train acquisitions, drivers and routes. There has been a lot added to the game since its time in early access and it appears to be constantly evolving!
I must say that I enjoyed my time playing Train Life – A Railway Simulator. Despite the initial simplicity of what I was required to do, I still managed to pick the wrong tracks and slam into buffers countless times causing no end of problems for myself.
If you fancy playing a sim game that is chilled at times but can be a little more practical than the usual run-of-the-mill management games, then I would say this is for you.
Train Life – A Railway Simulator scores a Thumb Culture Gold Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.