Don’t call it a train wreck.
Traintiles is one of those high-stress puzzle games that gets my stomach in a knot. It isn’t surprising, considering that an impending train collision or derailment is an oft-used mechanic to add a sense of urgency, whether it be in film, books or videogames. As a game entirely about train crashes and derailments, Traintiles lives on that stress.
Anyone who remembers last year’s release of Candy Train for iOS will be familiar with the concept of Traintiles. Except that while in Candy Train the goal was to keep trains in perpetual motion by rotating track segments, the objective in Traintiles is to perform the same actions to guide trains from their entry point to an exit. Traintiles also adds multiple trains into the mix, so that players are tapping to rotate track segments not only to usher trains to the exit, but to also steer them clear of one another.
Traintiles is as I mentioned before, a high-stress and high-stakes puzzle game. One mistake, and the level is failed. While the game does facilitate some planning by allowing you to pause and still see the majority of the screen, sometimes the rapid execution of track changes can be challenging- even when you have a plan.
It is apparent that the puzzle scenarios in Traintiles were assembled with care, and the successful player will feel accomplished. Not once did I finish a level and find myself upset with the logic behind the level’s solution. That is something many puzzle games can’t say, and unlike many other puzzle games, Traintiles is a game that isn’t likely to be beaten through brute force. Just flipping through various track configurations won’t help, as Traintiles requires some degree of situational response and rapid decision making. Also, many of the solutions are so intricate that the player isn’t likely to stumble across the solution at random.
Traintiles is a colorful game, and while the several locations the game’s 45 levels are spread across don’t add much but flavor, they are all pleasant on the eyes. The sound Is mostly banjos and train whistles, so fans of banjos (anyone?) will feel right at home.
My only complaints with Traintiles lie in the game’s demand for the player’s rapid reaction. Perhaps I think too slowly, but I found myself longing for a rewind system after losing a game due to a small mistake near the end of the stage. I would also settle for a more methodical approach, perhaps adding timers to switches during a planning stage (alai Blast Moki) and then allowing the player to save the configuration would work well.
For the most part, Traintiles doesn’t stand out from the endless waves of puzzle games arriving on the App Store, but if you’re reading this and the concept appeals to you, you won’t be disappointed.
Traintiles is available for the iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store for $0.99