Trainyard Review

Trainyard Review

May 30, 2012

Matt Rix’s iOS puzzle hit Trainyard is now on Android, courtesy of the Noodlecake Games “Game A Week Project.” This game kicks it 19th century style, with players tasked to manage train routes in order to get them all safely to the gates. However, the challenge comes from the fact that all the trains are different colors, and they must all go into the correct train station. Oh, and sometimes the trains that come out don’t match the colors of the stations, or there are more trains starting out than slots in the stations. However, trains can’t crash, per se: they can mix colors, and merge into fewer trains.

The game becomes a tricky mental exercise, where plotting and timing of routes must be used in order to figure out how to solve the puzzles. Yet, the game is oddly addictive, and trying to solve one puzzle to get to the next becomes irresistible. The game looks great on both phones and tablets. For those that hate artificial content unlocking systems, there’s the ability to unlock all puzzles at once in the options menu.

The only real issue with Trainyard is the controls: it can be difficult on a phone to make the accurate path drawing that is necessary, especially since the player’s finger obscures where a path is, and making a wrong curve is easy. It gets a lot easier on tablets, just because of the fact that the squares are bigger, and paths are easier to formulate. However, the overlapping paths become tricky to make because the latest path made goes on top, so working from beginning to end is made more difficult because secondary paths wind up coming first, which can mess up a puzzle. Switching them is easy, by double-tapping on the path, and it may be better than any control alternative, but it’s still just not easy to use.

Trainyard may be tricky to control, but it’s still fun to solve its many difficult challenges. The game is available on both Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, and this feels like it would be perfect on the Kindle Fire.