Station To Station: Train Valley Steams Ahead
Transport tycoon redux
Train Valley [official site] is an exceedingly pleasant game. There are similarities to the minimalist joys of Mini Metro but where that game's visual design is reminiscent of the Tube map, Train Valley contains beautiful microcosms of different periods and places. I've been playing on and off since it launched as an Early Access title and find the combination of puzzling and light management both endearing and panic-inducing. Developers Flazm send word that they'll shunt the game out of Early Access on September 16th.
Initially, I thought the entire challenge lay in efficient and rapid signal switching to ensure trains reached their destination rapidly and intact. As the miniature maps become more complex, however, balancing resources becomes a necessity. I've scuppered my company several times by building a couple of improvised loops to speed along a single train, only to find that there's no money left to connect a new station further down the line. Incredible that even within the limits of its tiny world, Train Valley is capable of modelling the bureaucratic nightmare of public transport management.
Spanning 1830 to 2020, it's a smart, cute game that is currently indulging my desire for an interactive model railway, following the disappointing initial Bounty Train launch.