Train Conductor 2: USA Review
All aboard! Travelling by train can be a majestic way to ride, but managing those trains can be a whole other story. Hopping from track to track at any given second, ensuring passengers arrive safely at their destination – the life of a railroad worker can be a harrowing experience. We thought we’d all but mastered it in the Australian outback in Train Conductor. Now the developers have brought their frantic train puzzler to the west with the release of Train Conductor 2: USA.
The gameplay in the Train Conductor series is centered around putting trains on the right tracks. As a train enters from one side of the screen, a number indicates which track it needs to depart on. Players will draw a line with their finger connecting the train to the appropriate track. The challenge is to get all of the trains to their desired destinations without letting them crash into one another. This means thinking fast, tapping on trains to stop them when need be, and overcoming a variety of obstacles meant to impede a player’s progress.
The original Train Conductor upped the challenge in each level by increasing the number of tracks you had to contend with. In Train Conductor 2: USA, developer The Voxel Agents took a different direction. This time around each of the five levels offers up a totally unique obstacle to overcome. In New York, players will have to be mindful of pillars when making connections. At the Grand Canyon, trains won’t be able to cross the gap unless you create a path that can bridge the distance. In Las Vegas, you’ll be saving ghosts from an evil villain that’s set up Ghostbusters quality traps in the middle of the screen.
No two levels ever feel alike thanks to the unique gameplay, as well as the varied presentation. New York sees you struggling to manage their famed subway system. In Miami you’ll be tackling monorails. Sure these little changes are mostly cosmetic, but it lends a unique personality to each of the five locations you’ll explore – a big step forward when compared to its predecessor.
Not everything in Train Conductor 2: USA feels like an improvement over the original, though. The progress bar that let you know how close you’ve come to unlocking the next level has inexplicably disappeared in #2. You’ll be unlocking levels at a much faster rate, mind you, but that’s little reason to keep players from tracking their progress. The levels this time around are also endless, which is something of a double-edged sword. Players who master a level will no doubt love the option of playing it until their luck runs out, but the timed levels of the original offered up a different kind of challenge that’s sorely missed. Adding an endless mode separate from the timed levels would have been a big plus, but replacing one with the other means some players are bound to feel left out in the cold.
The day/night option that was offered in the original Train Conductor was also cut from the sequel, though once you get your hands on the finished levels you can see why. With two of the five levels taking place at night, and one of them offering an experience similar to the night levels in the predecessor, it’s a feature that simply wasn’t required to make this sequel shine. Night levels were Train Conductor’s way to offer up a different experience from the main game. With no two levels playing alike here, night versions simply become redundant in Train Conductor 2.
Apple fans with multiple devices will be glad to hear that Train Conductor 2: USA is a universal offering, running on both iPhone and iPad with a single purchase. iPad owners, however, may be slightly disappointed to find that their version of the app is little more than a slightly crisper version of the iPhone build. Black black bars around the presentation make it pretty clear that this is just an up-rez of the smaller version, and while the trains and characters look sharp, the normally gorgeous hand-drawn backgrounds come across a little blurrier than they should.
There may be a few curious changes from the original version, but the outstanding level design makes Train Conductor 2: USA a top notch sequel that any fan of the original can relish in. If this is your first time riding the rails, you’re in for a smooth ride. This is one puzzle game that twitch-fingered games won’t want to miss.
- Fast, frantic puzzling action for twitch-fingered gamers. Variety of obstacles make every level feel original.
- Lacks the timed levels and progress bar of the first game. iPad version isn't everything it could be.