Tren – PS5 Review

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Uncharted 4 has a scene set in an attic that is filled with nostalgic treasures from Nathan Drake’s past adventures. It’s a brilliant stand out moment for me in that game. Tren is also set in an attic but the sense of nostalgia, for a kid who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, is even more profound.

Tren – What Dreams Are Made Of

Having previously released Little Big Planet 1 & 2 on PS3, Tearaway on PSVita (long live the Vita) and Tearaway Unfolded on PS4, the talented team at Media Molecule brought their ambitious project Dreams to PS4 in 2020.

The highly anticipated physics based puzzle game from the BeechCorp team at Media Molecule is finally here. Launched on Aug 1st to coincide with Dreams landing on PS Plus, Tren signals the end of the line for the Guilford studios work on Dreams.

It must be a heartwarming full circle moment bringing Dreams community creators onto this project for John Beech, who himself was hired by MM for his creative talents as a player of the original Little Big Planet.


Powered by the BeechCorp InfinityCell Rechargable Battery, players take on the task of driving the JB-004 motorised train across a variety of different levels. Levels which are built from the Tren Modular Play System.

There are 3 level types to get to grips with – Puzzle, Timed and Survival. Puzzle is a chill experience where the task is quite simple and done at the players own leisurely pace. Figure out how to get from start to the finish line by pushing buttons, flicking switches, raising bridges, opening gates and delivering cargo. Take in the view as you embark on a pleasure cruise.

race against time

Timed raises the stakes with a bronze/silver/gold award system for completing tracks under the allotted times. A frantic fun ride that will have you punch the air with joy. The survival levels offer up some true hair pulling brilliance.

Players have a Motorstorm style boost at their disposal that comes complete with cooldown. This is very useful for defying gravity to navigate sections of track with loop-the-loops. It’s also essential when trying to bag the elusive gold times on the timed tracks. The mechanic adds a tactical element to the levels too. Balancing boost/cooldown and knowing the right places to deploy is key to success.

A teal coloured wooden toy train drives around a bend as it pulls 5 carts carrying cargo boxes
easy does it

Any self respecting Scalextric fan will know that it’s a big no-no to get over zealous with the boost on corners that don’t sport a guardrail. The other thing boost helps with is Tren Tricks. Backflips and frontflips landed successfully will reduce the overall time you achieve as you race against the clock.

The level design on show throughout this game is absolutely exquisite. It’s some of the finest, most clever and quite frankly most sadistic design I’ve ever come across in a game. Flippin’ glorious.


Brilliantly balanced is the progression across the tracks. There’s a nice ebb and flow to the sequence of levels with a steady flow of new mechanics, vehicles and hazzards to get to grips with. What is equally well done is the on-boarding with each new element introduced. Its seamlessly integrated and cleverly delivered with just the right touch of hand holding.

the world map branches

The world map is a sprawling continuous track laid out across the attic, segmented into 9 branches. These branches and some special levels are gated off from players until they hit the required milestone to unlock. As you drive around the world map there is plenty to see as the team has lovingly decorated the scene with nostalgic treasures, memories and little nods to different things. Its delightful just to wander slowly round the track and appreciate the effort that has gone into making this special.

Graphics & Audio

An enormous amount of detail has been put in here with meticulously crafted visuals and audio. The game looks and plays like a real wooden train playset. The lighting sells the realism, enhancing the experience. Also the little details like working LED’s and realistic stickers on the models make you feel like you can reach out to pick up the little teal Tren.

just beautiful

The attention to detail goes further still with little animations and materials used to craft the set. It really has to be played to fully appreciate what the Molecules have pulled off here.

The fantastic soundtrack does a great job of being a compliment to the gameplay. The more uptempo tunes used for the more frantic highspeed levels while the chill vibes are reserved for the leisure voyages around the tracks.

all aboard

This is all rounded off with some amazing audio design that is the cherry on the cake. The little whine of the tiny electric motor in the teal choo choo. The satisfying sound plastic wheels on wooden track as you land a double flip. The little automated robot arms that so precisely place your precious cargo. A true work of art.


If the 95 levels wasn’t enough, the brilliant minds behind this game have also included a “Tren Set” kit for the players to get creative. Dreamers can do as they like with designing their own tracks and layouts. The care that’s been put into the design and layout of this kit shows just what the passionate community of players mean to the team.

do you have the skills?

If that isn’t enough, the team has also chugged a photo mode in there for good measure.

Final Thoughts

Set amongst the sentimental treasures of the attic, Tren is a wonderfully crafted and brilliantly realised endeavour. It plucks at the nostalgic heartstrings as it takes you on an evocative journey down memory lane.

At its core Tren is a puzzle game. Yet it is so much more than that. Charm, polish, attention to detail, along with how fun and easy it is to pick up and play, means it hurtles down the track with the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.

The heart, effort and passion that was put in here quite literally jumps off the screen. Clearly a lot of fun was had creating this remarkable title. As Media Molecule reaches the end of the tracks with Dreams, Tren leaves us with the reminder that it’s not the destination that is important, it’s the memories that are made along the way.

This game is a TREN OUT OF TEN.

Thumb Culture

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