Review: Railroad Puzzle
Railroad puzzle is a shifting tile type of puzzle, with the goal of getting the train from the starting station to the ending station without running out of coal (let's hear it for steamies!). Along the way, you have to pick up various "extras" that may be blocking the track, while utilizing tunnels, signal, and extra piles of coal.
First off - the instructions. The instructions are very nicely designed. It consists of a scrolling screen that includes animated descriptions of how you play the game (specifically how the pieces move). The scrolling feature means you can just read along as the instructions scroll by.
The option include basics like turning sound on or off, the difficulty setting (easy, medium, hard), and changing the "handed-ness" of the game.
When you start, you are presented with a jumbled puzzle. You need to reorganize the pieces of the train track (by moving and/or rotation them) to get the train to the end. Remember to pick up all the various "goodies" lying on the track - that is a requirement! I found this out the hard way as I made it to the end, only to lose a life and start over because a pile of gold was left sitting on the track. The train moves slowly enough so that you can be shifting the track on the fly - an important strategy as you attempt to maneuver the train about the field.
The various levels simply consist of different jumbled tracks (which can be mixed up by shaking the iPhone), and increased difficulty is simply adding more goodies that you need to pick up and more things like train conducters and signals. The train may move faster at higher levels - at one point it seemed like it did, but I couldn't be certain.
Some problems with the game. Some of the button use is no intuitive. For example, to speed up your train, you need to press and hold the black train icon in the corner of the screen. In addition, the only way to pause/exit the game is by double tapping the starting train station - not that apparent to pull up an in-game menu. Once you figure these out, they are great but figuring them out is not obvious.
Like many games, I think this game would be a killer multiplayer app. Racing to try to get to the end, while also disrupting your opponent would be great. I assume programming for multiplayer is more difficult, but I really wish some of these would games would give it a shot. Even a competition mode where trains race to complete the same puzzle faster would be fun. It seems to me with the wifi and 3G capabilities of the phone, programming some sort of multiplayer mode should almost be mandatory!
The sound and graphics aren't going to blow you away (although an ability to get a "trains eye view" of the track as the train moves would be...well...really cool) but the serve the game well. The graphics are easy to see, and the sound (with the train puffing in thebackground) adds to the experience.
Pros: Fun puzzle type game
Cons: No multiplayer
All in all, this is a fun puzzle game that can be replayed quite a bit. It isn't one that you can really sit down for a couple of minutes as it can take a while to plan a route for the train to take, but I find it a fun, relaxing in the evening type of game. At $1.99, the game is well priced and enjoyable. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.