Publisher: Tiny Titan Studios
Developer: Tiny Titan Studios
Job simulators, or any simulation game in general really don’t appeal to me, but once I saw the proposal for a game called Tiny Rails, I was intrigued. Sure it was a sim game, but it seemed to have a charm to it that I needed to experience. Thankfully, I was right and Tiny Rails is a sim worth playing.
In Tiny Rails, you have been contacted by Grampa to help grow his tiny train company. He’s been in the business for years and is now looking for a worthy successor and it may just be you! You start out with a basic train and are guided through the basics by your conductor Valerie, and after giving your new company a clever name, you are on your way. As you progress, you meet up with Lance who teaches you how to maintain your ticket prices and funds, buying and selling a good balance of cargo and keeping your passengers happy.
Once you start gaining money and more passengers, you can upgrade your cars, or even add more cars with Tiny Rails’ Gumball machine system. The Gumball machine is how you can add cars or collect different cars to make your train even better. There is also a small RPG element present where using certain cars can level them up and make them better the longer they are in service. Changing and upgrading cars nets you more passengers which in turn gets you more money. Everything you do changes the way the game progresses. For example, If you do not have a food car, customers complain and you lose money, adding a food car may take entertainment or comfort away, so they complain about that.
The main goal is to make sure your customers are happy and continue to use your company. You can earn extra money by delivering cargo from city to city, clearing debris that block the railroads and completing random missions given to you by Lance. Be careful though, as you have a rival company run by Harold Blackwell that is trying to take away your business, and it takes some clever managing to outwit him at times. Overall, it’s a fun and involving experience that never seems to get stale or boring, since there is always something to monitor or something to work towards. One cool thing is that occasionally you will pick up passengers with a golden crown by their names. These passengers are based on classic Video game Characters, but do not share the same names (for copyright reasons). During one trip, I had Mariano (Mario), Princess Pear (Peach) and Lonk (Link) on the same train!
Tiny Rails has very simple point and click controls. You will mostly use the mouse to click on everything, but you can set up hot keys to make selecting certain things faster. While you play, there are times where there is no action required, but if you just sit back and watch the train, you may miss little secrets zooming by that you can click on to gain money. A few times I just found myself clicking on random objects while the train was in motion and found some clever things that made me laugh.
Visually, the game resembles classic Super Nintendo games, just at a much higher frame rate. The classic style is very cool and surprisingly works really well for a game like this. You also have some nice train sound effects like the train whistle and the sound of the rails as you move from city to city. The music is very soothing and kind of makes you feel like you are taking a nice relaxing train ride.
At first I wasn’t sure about Tiny Rails, but once I started playing it and progressing, I was hooked. It’s simple, fun, and very addicting. The visuals and overall presentation make this a joy to play. Those looking for nonstop action or hardcore game play found in many other games on Steam, may not find Tiny Rails to their liking. But, those looking for an involving challenge and enjoy simulation games will find something to like here. I may not be the biggest fan of Sim games, but I can recommend giving Tiny Rails a try!