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Mini Trains review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: QubicGames
Developer: The House of Fables
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

I feel like Mini Trains should be a lot more fun than it is. I mean, you’re basically playing with toy trains. Even if you never had train tracks as a kid — and I don’t think I did — it seems like one of those things that should be so intuitive that it’s practically second nature.

That Mini Trains isn’t comes down to a combination of awkward controls and lousy explanations. It doesn’t always take the time to tell you what you’re doing, which means you’ll spend some time just trying to figure out how it works. What’s more, even after you know what you’re doing, you still have to contend with a camera that’s functionally useless — which is kind of a big deal when we’re talking about a puzzle game where you need to rotate the board to see how to lay things out properly.

Mini Trains also has a scoring system that makes no sense whatsoever. It awards you points for finishing a level, but they don’t seem to be based on anything, since a) there’s no time limit, and b) you have to collect every star in a level before it’s considered finished. It was always kind of baffling any time I didn’t get three stars for a level, because there doesn’t seem to be any actual difference between a two-star run and a three-star run.

All of this is to say: this game could’ve been good if it just stopped getting in its own way. Given that toy trains have been around a century, I would’ve guessed that it wouldn’t be too hard to translate the experience to a video game. And yet, Mini Trains would suggest otherwise.

Qubic Games provided us with a Mini Trains Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-