What A Lovely Way To Burn: Train Fever

That is, indeed, a train.

Trains! Yes. Because I went to university in the late ’00s and am awful, I have a poster on my wall depicting a line drawing of a boy that says “Keep calm and like trains.” For similar reasons, I have never played a train simulator or management game. Train Fever is the most provocative so far, not least because of the name. Literal train fever would likely be very unpleasant, sweating scalding steam and burning oil. Here it thankfully simply relates to the passion needed for track-based vehicular movement so you can guide a burgeoning empire from 1850 up through the modern day. It launched on Steam and Humble today if you’re feeling train-frisky and you’ll find a disappointingly jazzless launch trailer through the ticket barrier.

In the Steam blurb, Train Fever makes a big deal of not having a grid system for its placement of objects. Freeform jazz tracks galore, then, along with ones that can go through hills thanks to “randomly generated, modifiable terrain with realistic dimensions.” Hot.

Train Fever was originally funded through a games crowdfunding website known as Gambitious. I hadn’t heard of it before, but according to the about page, it’s for serious investors with more dollar to put down. This explains how Train Fever got over £210,000 from just 651 backers. It’s ‘real’ investment in that there’s revenue share and returns for those who help out. Frankly it sounds, uh, quite a lot better than the Kickstarter model in a lot of ways. Not as popular or as open though.

Surprise Peggy Lee!

17 Comments

Top comments

  1. Arctem says:

    I've only played for a couple hours so far, but so far the core mechanics seem pretty solid. Placement of roads, tracks, and stations are all pretty flexible and work well, with a couple of issues caused by the maximum slope allowed. What seems to be mostly flat or just gently sloping land can end up forcing you to build a tunnel or bridge you wouldn't think would be necessary. Still, this is usually something you can work around and it requires snaking back and forth to climb a hill.

    The interface is functional. I wouldn't call it bad, but I certainly wouldn't call it good. It feels fairly standard for an indie simulation/tycoon game. Similar to Banished or OpenTTD, though hopefully it receives some post-release polish.

    It will be a while before I know for sure if I'm happy with the purchase, but so far it's scratched an itch far too few games scratch.
  2. onodera says:

    The game feels kinda... spartan. Maybe it's because the devs are German, but the main menu has a static background picture (OpenTTD menu is animated), I couldn't find the minimap, the construction interface feels a bit clunky (there's no way to plot the whole railroad before constructing it, I can't build the switches when dragging in one direction, but can when dragging in the opposite direction), the economy feels a bit too brutal.

    But like Obi-Wan, it's our only hope to get a modern OpenTTD. Train Fever seems mod-friendly, so we will get lots of cargos and trains to play with.
  1. Hunchback says:

    The steam reviews are sadly, not very good so far. People talking about unfinished products, “beta-feel” etc, the game being badly optimised and stuff.
    I’ll wait a bit and see how it all goes, but if it’s bad i’ll be so sad… It’s been ages since a decent transport game came out (cities in motion is crap imo). Here’s to hoping!

    • El Spidro says:

      It seems to be a weird mix bag at this point, a few citing aforesaid beta feel, one guy complaining about bad UI, while others are singing the game’s praises. I’ll hold off a few months and see how things develop.

      • Arctem says:

        I’ve only played for a couple hours so far, but so far the core mechanics seem pretty solid. Placement of roads, tracks, and stations are all pretty flexible and work well, with a couple of issues caused by the maximum slope allowed. What seems to be mostly flat or just gently sloping land can end up forcing you to build a tunnel or bridge you wouldn’t think would be necessary. Still, this is usually something you can work around and it requires snaking back and forth to climb a hill.

        The interface is functional. I wouldn’t call it bad, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good. It feels fairly standard for an indie simulation/tycoon game. Similar to Banished or OpenTTD, though hopefully it receives some post-release polish.

        It will be a while before I know for sure if I’m happy with the purchase, but so far it’s scratched an itch far too few games scratch.

  2. Villephox says:

    Dramatically urban simulated environments! Most games have simulated environments that are only cautiously urban.

  3. Nice Save says:

    Wait a second, is that Percy in that first picture? Does this star the cast of Thomas the Tank Engine in an otherwise super-technical po-faced train simulator?

    Because I would buy the shit out of that.

    • Optimaximal says:

      This isn’t a sim, it’s basically a new indie Transport Tycoon.

  4. onodera says:

    The game feels kinda… spartan. Maybe it’s because the devs are German, but the main menu has a static background picture (OpenTTD menu is animated), I couldn’t find the minimap, the construction interface feels a bit clunky (there’s no way to plot the whole railroad before constructing it, I can’t build the switches when dragging in one direction, but can when dragging in the opposite direction), the economy feels a bit too brutal.

    But like Obi-Wan, it’s our only hope to get a modern OpenTTD. Train Fever seems mod-friendly, so we will get lots of cargos and trains to play with.

  5. Ben Barrett says:

    As was hopefully clear, this isn’t my area, so I’ve highlight a couple of comments. Please keep ’em coming if you’ve bought it and have thoughts, always good to help your fellow readers.

    • tormos says:

      Ben I’m super late to this post but I have to say I really enjoy the way that you interact with commenters. You are one of the best people at that that I’m aware of and that’s neat.

  6. P.Funk says:

    I remember being wee and collecting bottles and cans to pay for a brand new copy of Railroad Tycoon II. Good times.

  7. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    I like trains. I like trains maybe too much. I’ll probably buy this eventually, even if it’s bad.

    Here’s some more, strange fever.

  8. the-regretto says:

    I played it last evening -till night. Its good, the landscape is beautiful, the track construction is going well after 30 minutes of mishaps. The hills and valleys are a challenge, you need to plot your route carefully, otherwise the building costs (and max operating speeds) will be pretty bad.

    First impression: addictive.

  9. Arathorn says:

    I’m slightly miffed because my laptop is toast so I can’t play it, but on the other hand, when I finally have enough money to buy a new computer, perhaps a few rounds of updates will have added the polish it seems to lack (judging from comments). Still can’t wait to play.

  10. bstard says:

    Trench Fever. Promising game, wishlisted but reading the posts of players it seems not quiet finished yet.

  11. melnificent says:

    Looks interesting enough to buy, but no linux support so I can’t play it :(

    • Arathorn says:

      According to the Steam page, Mac and Linux versions will arrive the 11th, so you’ll have to wait another week.