Everyone who has dreamed of creating a model railroad but lacked the time or money for such an exclusive hobby should check out Loco Mogul. By laying tracks, shaping the landscape and managing your funds to create effective and profitable routes, you’ll build up your own successful railroad company. This new game by Apezone defies categorization, and its unique and addictive gameplay is definitely worth a try.
At the beginning of every level the first thing to do is survey the land. Gameplay here is similar to the classic game Minesweeper, because you have to uncover the squares on a grid-like map, with red numbers indicating possible customers on the fields around. However, each field’s survey costs you a certain amount of money, so it is important to do this strategically, because the clearance of the whole map is both expensive and unnecessary.
The next step is the placement of your tracks and the construction of train stations. This part of Loco Mogul is the most complicated, yet very entertaining task. To do so you have flatten small hills, build tunnels through mountains, construct bridges over rivers or cut down trees. When you have finished the creation of the route, it is time to place train stations, which have to be close to possible customers like cities, sawmills, mines or fishing spots.
When you route is finished you simply have to push the "Run Train" button and the time to earn money, which should optimally exceed your former expenses, has come. Each station is assigned a letter to simplify its identification, and has a rail car bouncing above it. This rail car is also labeled with a letter that indicates its destination. Each rail car provides a different amount of money for its delivery, and has a shorter or longer wait time depending on the goods it contains. This aspect of Loco Mogul somewhat resembles certain time management titles, though the gameplay still feels totally different. In the beginning, your train can only pick up two rail cars at the same time and the miles it is able to drive until the level ends are limited by the number of customers that are in the reach of train stations.
The variety of upgrades is rather nominal and probably the weakest point of the game. You are only able to increase the number of rail cars your train can pick up from two to four as well as buy out investors, so some more upgrades would have given more depth to the game. Furthermore, the campaign of Loco Mogul only features 19 levels, though five of them are exclusively accessible if you have bought out all five investors earlier. Then again, each level of the campaign is created randomly, which simply means that the replayability of the game is not limited at all since the experience will always be different. Successfully completing the campaign for the first time unlocks the sandbox mode, which offers
a quicker challenge for the player.
A very big plus of Loco Mogul are the little details which might sound trivial, but are in fact highly entertaining. By flattening hills you are able to find so-called experts who can become handy in certain levels and might save you a lot of money. The sheriff is very helpful in levels with gold mines which attract bandits, the digger flattens 25 hills for you, the engineer enables your train to drive 25 extra miles and the banker will lend you 5,000 coins at any time. The decision whether to uncover more fields of a map and to flatten every hill to eventually get an expert is always a balancing act.
Loco Mogul admittedly has some weaknesses. The graphics are definitely substandard and the game itself lacks complexity. But all in all these are the only complaints we have after playing it and the positive aspects clearly prevail. It is always a joy to find a game unexpectedly that turns out to be really unique and addictive at the same time. It is nearly impossible to stop trying to beat your own high score in the campaign mode, and this is the strongest sign any gamer can think of for a great game.
Due to the game’s uniqueness it is hard to say to whom it might appeal, so just give it a try by downloading the demo – you might be pleasantly surprised. Loco Mogul will likely stay on your PC for a long time, and it’s the kind of game you’ll go back to it regularly. We can only say that we liked it a lot.