Train Valley Review thumbnail

Train Valley Review

Chugging along straight to my heart

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on 🚂

Train Valley is also available for PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Train Valley is rated Everyone by the ESRB

If you enjoy tough indie games that pose arcade-like challenges with a simulation twist then here's the impressively fun Train Valley.

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Train Valley screenshot 1
This modern metropolis could use fewer roads and more train tracks

Arcade-like track-builder

I love trains and I know for a fact that when I'm older, I'll be one of those chums who's obsessed with model trains and has their own ideal miniature town in their basement. For now, I just play train video games and I must say; Train Valley is one of the best, especially because I love a hearty challenge. So, what exactly is it? To put it simply, it's a high-pressure arcade-like interpretation of a track-building sim such as Railway Empire where you frantically build tracks and switch intersection directions in the hopes of not letting trains collide as they work their way to their respective destinations. If that sounds fun to you then I bet you'll absolutely love this. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

Conducting the chaos

Controlling Train Valley is quite simple as you have an action button and various modes that you can switch to on the fly such as building and destructing tracks, sending trains off from their starting points, and toggling the intersections. Being able to build tracks that allow trains to travel between every single combination of 2 stations is challenging on its own so you can imagine how tough it is to ensure that trains don't collide or end up at the incorrect station. To make matters trickier, the goal is to survive without going bankrupt and building tracks costs money so you really have to balance your budget perfectly if you want to succeed. There's a lot to keep in mind. 😅

Train Valley screenshot 2
Looks like I'm stuck in a loop; oopsy-daisy!

Building all over the world

One of the coolest aspects about Train Valley is that you'll end up building tracks all over the world and in various time periods as well. Not only do the stages feature different environments, they'll also be set up in distinct ways that'll force you to change your strategy. For example, perhaps there's a river in the middle that forces you to utilize 1 or 2 bridges or maybe you're building in a rocky desert which has a lot of obstacles that cost money to remove. The variety is fantastic and there are loads of stages to master, too. 😊

Stamps of approval

Simply passing each level will be a steep challenge for most gamers but you can also aim to complete 3 optional missions for each stage that require you to accomplish tricky feats. For example, can you complete the level while ensuring that no train travels to an incorrect station? How about earning a certain threshold of cash before the stage completes? These may sound simple but let me tell you; they're incredibly tough to accomplish, especially all in one go so if you want to complete everything, it'll take an exceptionally long time.

Unfortunate train wrecks

Even though I love Train Valley and plan on playing it a lot more, it does have some downsides. For starters, its bankruptcy system can be brutally unforgiving to the point where you may be tempted to snap your controller in half. I wish that it had some leniency like when a train is almost completely in a station and your bank balance goes in the hole by a small amount even though you were a second away from earning thousands of dollars, they should just let the train go all the way in instead of giving you a game over. 🥺

Another annoying issue is that the cursor is far too small and unnoticeable for console play. I had to keep leaning forward in order to see where it was which is a pain. I also wish that Train Valley featured quick save functionality because levels can take a long time to complete and having to rebuild everything every time you fail gets repetitive fast. I mean; you may devise a different strategy in the process but having the option to save at any point would obviously be an excellent time-saving feature no matter how you slice it.

Train Valley screenshot 3
I think I'm going to be bald by the time I finish this level

Train Valley is a superbly challenging game that strikes the perfect balance between track-building sim and arcade-like structure. If you enjoy tough games that'll keep you strategizing as you think on your feet then I wholeheartedly recommend it.

  • + Incredibly enjoyable gameplay that'll keep you trying tricky levels again and again
  • + Rewarding optional challenges
  • + Large variety of levels to master
  • - Bankruptcy system can be brutally unforgiving
  • - The cursor is far too small for consoles
  • - Could use some sort of quick save feature
8.3 out of 10
Gameplay video for Train Valley thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Train Valley
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