Railway Empire is right up my street, I’m by no means a train geek that writes down numbers of trains, in fact I barely recognise model numbers of trains. What I do find interesting is the logistics of keeping a railway running though, this game does a lot to help you learn that.
Advances in train technology began a long time ago, with Railway Empire you’ll go right back to the 1800’s when the railways in the US first began. Once you have named you character you’ll begin the first chapter, which is essentially a tutorial, teaching you how to use the camera, lay down tracks and get signals working. It’s quite a detailed game and even 12 hours on I felt a bit lost at times, through trial and error I finally began to grips with the game. I more detailed tutorial certainly would have helped.
The developers, have done a good job of making everything work seamlessly with the controller, laying parallel tracks can sometime be a bit cumbersome, and you’ll need to zoom right in to manage signals but generally putting together your Empire shouldn’t cause too many issues.
Each chapter sets you various objectives, such as connecting cities to each other, delivering certain types of goods or making your home town profitable. Most of the objectives are time based and failing one will cause you to fail the whole chapter, manually saving often is a must. There are optional challenges but they only affect the overall score you get at the end of the chapter.
The first couple of chapters aren’t too hard to finish but later on in the game is where the challenge really begins to ramp up, there is a good chance you’ll have to replay them until you find the right combination of routes to get you through.
Managing your resources, most importantly your money is key. When building new routes you have to consider the terrain, as soon as you head towards hilly areas the cost goes up because bridges and tunnels need building. You can spend as long as you need plotting the route to save as much money as you can by altering different points of the route, it can be time consuming, but worth it in the long run.
Over time, your research department will unlock points that allow you to implement new technology into your company, the more you unlock, the better the equipment, you’ll eventually get to use better trains which will increase your profits. You’ll also be able to unlock other attributes that boost population in certain towns or the amount of mail that needs moving between cities.
In Railway Empire you are able to zoom right down into the world you have created, you can travel along with the different locomotives which have been put together in great detail.
There were a few things that annoyed me about the game, when you compete against other companies you could see more than one train on a single track with no signals or side tracks, which if you tried the same would bring your network to a standstill, as I mentioned before, some of the tasks you were given were achievable but they were maybe a bit too challenging at times. It certainly would have helped if you were taking through a few more tutorials.
Having said that, I’ve played a good 30 hours and haven’t even started the extra scenarios available, if you are looking for a new management sim this could be a great game to start with.