Choo choo! Setting off on a more modern version of Transport Tycoon!
Yay! Yay for Train Fever! There is finally a modern, updated version of Transport Tycoon, that doesn’t force you to deal with 8-bit sprites. This is the game in this category that I’ve certainly been waiting for since the 1990s. Previously, I had a play with Cities in Motion 2, which was good, but limited in scope to only passenger movements. Train Fever, however gets back to the much bigger regional maps that transport business simulations are all about.
Starting up Train Fever is like going into Kmart and browsing the no frills brands, the only “loading screen” that appears is when you’re generating a new random land. When you load a previous save game, the software just hangs while thinking. The first time this happened, I thought it had crashed, but after about thirty seconds, it managed to dump me back into my game. Phew.
There are some small gripes with the rest of the game, of course. The terrain alteration errors you can get when you build train tracks and level crossings are mystifying, because you see no reason why you can have a terrain collision in the middle of nowhere. Building level crossings is a hassle, because you can only build tracks over roads, not the other way around. If you want to build an overpass…well, good luck. Mine look like Salvadore Dali paintings. And those are the ones that worked!
However, the main thrust of the game, the vehicles and the graphics are simply wonderful. They look like the little toy trains and trucks of your youth (or imagination, if you didn’t have any) and the interface is mostly intuitive. Passengers and freight even have their ultimate destination, ensuring that people don’t just go to the next station over. This is very realistic and enhances the idea or trade and commuting over distances.
However, performance is not exactly top pace, with the number of objects in the simulation mounting as you get on through the years, making it slow and in my case start to crash. That might just be me though. Hopefully, stability and vehicle variety increases soon, as that is probably the thing that’s really lacking. Thankfully, it appears the game is very moddable, so once people get their mitts together, we might see a lot more vehicle types trundling through the environs.
Train Fever is exactly the game transport freaks have been waiting for. It’s a bit raw, but then, it’s a modern game that was programmed by five blokes in Switzerland. Credit where it’s due, it’s a fantastic first effort. Watching your transport network function is gratifying and relaxing, and building extensions is half the fun. This is a game that should get better with age.
Fun, lovely and relaxing. Easy to understand, difficult to master.
Should I play this?
If you like trains and transportation, this is right up your alley. And mine.