Train Fever

Is it worth chug­ging away at this rough jour­ney?

Mac Format - - RATED - £19.99 De­vel­oper Ur­ban Games, train-fever.com OS OS X 10.7.5 or later Re­quires 64-bit pro­ces­sor, 2GB RAM Un­lock ve­hi­cles as time passes Very lit­tle tu­to­rial La­bo­ri­ous in­ter­ac­tion Slow and di­rec­tion­less

Train Fever has an ex­cel­lent premise: it’s a trans­port sim that be­gins in 1850 and de­vel­ops over the next 200 years. You’re pre­sented with a map dot­ted with towns and cargo cen­tres, and a text-heavy tu­to­rial that ex­plains how to use the many menus to set up train and bus route.

Mun­dane achieve­ments act as the only ob­jec­tives – you’re given no guid­ance. Aim to link up the dif­fer­ent parts of the map in a cost­ef­fi­cient way then, we guess, or you’ll never be able to af­ford that LNER Class A4 come 1935.

Trains were more ro­man­tic in the days of steam; it’s a joy to watch a green Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn puff its way through the green hills. Stilted an­i­ma­tions, how­ever, leave towns­folk walk­ing around look­ing like they’re car­ry­ing in­vis­i­ble ob­jects un­der their armpits.

The in­con­sis­tency in qual­ity makes Train Fever feel like an early­ac­cess game, es­pe­cially given that it seems to need a more pow­er­ful ma­chine than its re­quire­ments sug­gest. Its ve­hi­cles and build­ings are beau­ti­ful, but tex­tures are flat; its cit­i­zens are in­di­vid­u­ally sim­u­lated, but there are few character mod­els (and they don’t al­ways match the time­frame well). Roads and tracks curve and snap onto each other, but vague er­ror mes­sages abound. The sim­u­la­tion is com­plex, but the game is so un­wieldy that only pas­sion­ate and pa­tient fans will find it en­joy­able. Jor­dan Erica Web­ber

A com­plex sim­u­la­tion that can look pic­turesque, but will put off novices and fail to im­press ex­perts.

Train Fever is sur­pris­ingly de­mand­ing on your sys­tem.

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