Build model trains all around the house without the clean-up.
Setting up model train tracks can be a really fun activity, but there’s no denying that the set-up process can be cumbersome and it takes a lot of time to clean up. That’s why train simulation games have become a hit among hobbyist gamers, none more so than the highly realistic simulators from N3V Games. N3V’s My First Trainz Set, slanted toward a younger audience, lets players set up train tracks all around the house – a virtual house, that is – without all the mess or the parental scolding.
What’s unique about this game is that instead of building tracks across expansive stretches of land across the entire globe, everything is contained within a house. Players can go to the bedroom, living room (lounge), kitchen, or garage and let their sandbox creativity run wild as they build tracks around cereal boxes, bed sheets, and tools.
The track-building process has been simplified for this game as compared to some of the other simulation titles from N3V and other developers. However, in simplifying it the process becomes a bit more tedious at times. It can be difficult to move around the room, and the track design ends up being extremely limited.
Additionally, there is no in-game tutorial for how to build the tracks. This is the biggest flaw in the entire presentation, because although the interface is very unintimidating, the few buttons that are on the screen instantly become confusing for players who are not familiar with other train simulation games. It takes a lot of guess work, or combing through the game’s physical manual, to figure out even the most basic aspects of building.
But this game is less focused on the pure building aspect and more on the delivery tasks. When it comes time to drive on the built tracks, players can choose from nine different trains.
Instead of the typical train tasks of delivering oil and crates of cargo, these trains need to bring utensils to the kitchen counter to make a cake, or collecting pencils to put on the bedroom desk.
Players are able to switch views to see the train from an overhead or first-person perspective. When inside the train, there are realistic-looking train controls.
Players can also have fun sounding the train’s horn, which we’ve all wanted to do at some point or another, as well as switch the lights on and off. These have no effect on the operation of the train but are nice little distractions to keep players occupied while the train chugs along.
To keep it as accessible as possible to gamers, the menus and game design are left very simplified. The game’s menu just has four big pictures of the different selectable rooms, and once a room is selected, a screen with “Drive” and “Build” appears.
My First Trainz Set is meant to be a very simplistic train simulation game, and it does just that. It is refreshing to see a game in this genre with a completely different presentation. It has more of a cartoon style than the sophisticated simulators that are already on the market, and building train sets around the house should appeal to younger players’ desire to build stuff in environments they are familiar with.
It is disappointing that the construction element comes off as needlessly confusing with the absence of an in-game tutorial, but once players get past that learning curve, it doles out a good, fun casual gaming experience.