Having launched – and seen great success – on the PC back in 2015 (even getting a sequel with numerous DLC packs), it’s taken a long time for Train Valley to reach consoles. Its cover art might make it look like a cute and chilled out train game, but be warned: Train Valley Console Edition is a pretty challenging, sometimes even stressful, puzzle game.

So what’s it all about? The basis of the game is building tracks to get scheduled trains to their specific destination without mishap, which sounds straightforward enough, right? Lay tracks, make sure it connects to the right station and off you go. Having multiple trains leaving from different stations at the same (or near enough) time, each trying to get to their own destination, makes the process quite a juggling act, particularly when it comes to the direction they’ll be sent at junctions. Click the wrong way or at the wrong time and disaster leads to money being lost; lose all of your money and it’s Game Over for your train management career.

It’s a pretty addictive game, with an excellent and comprehensive tutorial, but there does come a point where things get incredibly overwhelming. Control can sometimes be a bit awkward, usually when under pressure – switching the right junction at the right time needs a cool head and a good amount of accuracy. Special trains, which need to arrive at a certain time, add further wrinkles to the basic formula and raise the pressure too.

It is possible to pause the action and make changes that way, however – and that definitely seems like the best course of action when things get insanely hectic. It does feel a little like cheating, but it’s a viable tactical option and does sometimes feel like the best, perhaps only, way of conquering certain stages. Especially as control of the cursor and functions using the left stick isn’t perfect; it’s definitely a game that benefits from smooth, fast and precise mouse control.

A range of modes, including a sandbox mode, are included – so there’s quite a bit to do in Train Valley. If you’ve always harboured ambitions of being in control of the construction and running of a railway – at various historically represented points in time – it’ll be right up your street. Though not perfect in terms of the way the controls gave translated to console, there’s a lot of content and when things fall into place, it’s an incredibly satisfying experience.

Many thanks to BlitWorks for providing me with a key for Train Valley Console Edition, for review purposes. Train Valley Console Edition is out now on Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, priced at 11.99 EUR/USD.

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