iPad Game Review: Train Conductor 2: USA
Reviewed by Guy Dayen
I can summarize my review of Train Conductor 2: USA very simply: Get this now! It's fun to play, and it's the kind of game where you say: "Just one more try... just one more time..." and still find yourself playing an hour later. The original game was called "Train Conductor" and it took place in Australia. The game now shifts to America, and this is one of those unusual times where the sequel is as good, and yes, even better than the original.
Gameplay in Train Conductor 2: USA is simple and addictive. You must guide oncoming trains onto the correct track before they hit another train. This is done by dragging each train to its track, as was done in the original game. Trains can be stopped to avoid collisions. Each time a train arrives at its destination, a point is earned. Sounds easy enough, but when you?re trying to work with five tracks, the action builds up to a frenzy.
The game proceeds in stages; get enough points, and a new city is unlocked. There is a short introductory tutorial for each of these stages. There are Facebook leaderboards where you can boast of your train conducting prowess and share game stories.
In this sequel, a new variation is introduced: the kind of train changes according to the location you are in. In Miami Beach, you control monorails; in New York City, there are subway trains; and in the Grand Canyon, the player will find steam trains. Trains come in various lengths and differing speeds. There are also obstacles on some tracks, another new element which adds to the complexity of the game.
Nashville and Las Vegas offer nighttime play with ghost trains and demon trains. The Las Vegas track offers a fun variation in game play: instead of managing trains, you must flick pink and aqua ghosts towards their respective sides of the tracks before they fall into ghostly traps. It may sound simple, but it is incredibly challenging. My fingers were flying up and down, left and right, in a desperate attempt to better my score just a little more.
The trains in this new addition to the Train Conductor franchise look very good. They are colorful, and each different type of train runs on a special kind of track; a very amusing touch. Each location has a different look, and different animations. In Miami Beach, for example, you play next to the ocean?s crashing waves. The New York subway station is filled with graffiti. The character design is quite nicely done as well, and it is refreshing to see a girl as the lead train conductor in this game.
The developer has already indicated that a graphic upgrade is on the way, so a great-looking gate will get even better.
Another area in which this game truly shines is with the music and sound effects. Let?s start with the music. Each city is graced with its own distinctive soundtrack, and each piece of music is pleasant to listen to. It really suits the location it was written for. It?s this level of attention to detail that sets this game apart from many inferior games in the App Store. You can?t play your own music in this game, but the soundtracks are so good that you will actually enjoy listening.
Sound effects are wonderful, too. There are ambient sounds as well as train noises. In the ?Extremely Cool? and ?Well-done!? departments, players using earphones will find they have a much-enhanced experience as well as a bit of a strategic advantage. In the game, trains come from the left and right of the screen, and the developers use the stereo capabilities of the iPad to indicate the directions from which the trains are coming. This is the kind of stuff you boast to your friends about whenever you discuss the superiority of the iPad in comparison to whatever device they stoop to using.
This game might just bring back bib overalls! Fun to play, easy to learn, hard to master. It has much replay potential, and you can?t beat the price: just 99 cents. Considering the production values the developers put into this effort, it?s a true bargain. The game is appropriate for all ages, which only adds to its appeal. Gameplay is varied enough that it?s almost like getting a few different games for the price of one. As I indicated at the beginning of this review, do not hesitate to get this game. It?s a shining example of what good game development can be.
Screen shot links: give us 2-3 screen shot links
YouTube Video: we mostly use developers? game demo videos or even promo videos if they show enough gameplay. If they don?t have one, it?s OK to use a user-made video. We can figure this out on case-by-case basis.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - A great visual style, good character design and fun environments to play in.
Sound: - 5 - Stereo sound effects and great music. Get out those headphones!
Controls: - 5 - Intuitive and responsive controls make this game a joy to play.
Gameplay: - 5 - Fun, simple and addictive; the perfect game for a quick break or for a couple of hours playing alone or with friends. Leaderboards on Facebook lets you boast to all your friends and followers. Developers are promising that international leaderboards will be added soon. (Aaarrgh! More rivals seeking to better your high score!)
Playing Hints and Tips:
- If at all possible, play this game with two hands; the action gets so frantic as more and more trains come from both sides that it?s practically impossible to control everything with just one hand.
- Keep in mind that when a train is stopped on a track, another train can very well come out of the tunnel on either side of that very same track, so get trains moving again as quickly as you can.
Here is a game trailer on the iPhone, looks good!
Developer: The Voxel Agents
Release Date: Jul 13, 2010
Buy App: Train Conductor 2: USA
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