Train Master [rating: 3/5]
I can imagine that there will come a time when there is no form of transport that hasn’t got an iPhone game created for you to manage them, however until that time there will be developers building them and this time it’s you chance to manage a train network.
Train Master is the brain child and first iPhone game from Nick Desjardins and while there are the obvious similarities between Train Master and the successful vehicle management applications that it follows such as Harbor Master (iTunes Link), Taxi Jam and Flight Control there are a couple of differences that could make Train Master an App Store hit.
The aim of Train Master is to guide the color coded trains into their designated stations. There are 3 stations to manage, red, yellow and blue and as each train travels along the track it’s your task to ensure that they make it to the correct station without crashing into each other.
Unlike the other similar applications and much like a train in real life you can’t control the direction of the trains anywhere on the map, the trains, as you would expect, can only travel back and forth along the predefined tracks. Instead you control the junctions and the direction of the trains. Tapping the Junction Switches will change the tracks and send the trains along the other junction, while tapping the train directly will send it in the opposite direction.
The trains start appearing on the screen relatively slowly highlighted by an alert triangle and alarm sound and will not only be of one of the three various colors but will also vary in speed. The blue trains trundle along like a Stevenson Rocket while the red trains speed past them like a high speed express train, however both of these are left in the shadows of the two carriage yellow trains that speed around the track like a Japanese Bullet Train. Keeping out of the way of these speeding bullets is the key to a decent high score.
After a while though the trains start coming thick and fast and your fingers will be a blur as they dance around the screen changing the direction of the train and the junctions before the trains become a mass of mangled metal.
The graphics aren’t anything to write home about, proving more practical than beautiful, although as with all games of this type it’s not the graphics that make or break this kind of game. It’s not the sound either which is also just affective rather than mind blowing.
What does make or break these style of game is the addict-ability of them, how easy will you find it to put down and how quickly will you get bored of it. On the former point Train Master scores high on the addict-ability scoreboard with a constant feeling of just having one more try to beat your high score making this game a must have. Unfortunately at present there is only 1 track to play in the app and therefore you may find yourself getting bored of it relatively quickly once you’ve mastered it.
The game is for one player only but the online scoreboard does help you compare your scores to other players around the world.
Train Master is a fun distraction, but to make it to an iPhone/iPod touch must have, the developer must see through on his promise to add more train types and even more importantly more tracks.
Price $.99 (iTunes Link) as of 22/12/2009
Version reviewed 1.0
- Fun alternative to vehicle management with a twist
- Simple controls
The Not So Good
- Only 1 track
- Basic graphics
Reviewed by: @CraigWillis
Expedited Review: Request received on 21/12/2009 , reviewed on 22/12/2009