It's been a good few years for relaxing, sandbox building games, and Islands & Trains looks to fit right in. Its name also does most of my job for me: this is a game about constructing islands, right? And then you build trains on them, yeah? It's "coming soon" and it looks delightful in GIFs the developer has been posting on Twitter.
I spotted GIFs of the game going round Twitter last night, but Alice0 beat me to it, including Islands & Trains in Screenshot Saturady Mondays. I think it's worth its own post anyway.
Building a tiny little island with a tiny little (new) trainstation & some happy little (new birch) trees and bushes that Bob Ross would hopefully be proud of☺️#screenshotsaturday #lowpoly #gamedev #indiedev #WIP #game #madewithunityhttps://t.co/KTPC7AwK3T pic.twitter.com/6O00WZciN6— Fabi Smith (@Just_Game_Dev) June 26, 2022
Or here's another:
Here's a little island building timelapse.— Fabi Smith (@Just_Game_Dev) June 19, 2022
You really have to watch this till the end to see the train moving ! It's finally placeable ingame 🥰#screenshotsaturday #lowpoly #gamedev #indiedev #WIP #gamehttps://t.co/KTPC7AOlst pic.twitter.com/b65vF5F36M
And here's another with a bigger island. Check the little sheep!
Go big or go home. I finally faced my fear and tried to build a significantly bigger level - thinking of all kinds of little stories that might happen in this world 🙃#screenshotsaturday #lowpoly #gamedev #indiedev #WIP #game #madewithunity pic.twitter.com/FIpQncyrqQ— Fabi Smith (@Just_Game_Dev) May 26, 2022
Like many of its inspirations, there's apparently no goal to Islands & Trains. It's a zero-stress building sandbox about making something you find satisfying to look at.
I played a lot of Townscaper, whiling away the hours by tinkering with port towns of my own design. I enjoyed it partly because it provides a procedural partner to your construction work, which helps to turn your simple clicks into surprising and delightful architectural creations . Islands & Trains looks like it offers simpler asset placement, by comparison.
But then, it's got trains. Whenever I felt my town was fully scaped in Townscaper, there was no reason to keep watching it. Trains solve that. I've also had enough fun clicking together Ikea train tracks with my son to know that I'll enjoy clicking together virtual tracks, and I don't need a Transport Tycoon economic simulation or a Cosmic Express puzzle to make that interesting. I do hope Islands & Trains goes so far as to let me set up little track switches, though.
Islands & Trains is the work of Fabian Smith, whose Twitter bio says he's both a game developer and kindergarten teacher. Perhaps he too has spent time clicking together Ikea train tracks. You can wishlist the game and find more screenshots over on Steam.