Train Station Renovation
Developer: Live Motion Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Website: ULTIMATE GAMES S.A. – Video Games Publisher and Developer (ultimate-games.com)
Platform: Xbox Series X (also available on PC and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 02/0/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Not a lot of people in the gaming industry know that my day job is currently on the railway. So when I saw Train Station Renovation was releasing on Xbox I had to jump at the chance of playing it. It’s no secret that the railway network in the UK isn’t the best in terms of infrastructure and speed. Delays galore in built-up areas and signalling problems in the more challenging rural areas of the country. The truth is that the railway takes complex logistics to run. It is almost like a giant jigsaw puzzle, if one piece goes missing or wrong then the remainder is in a sticky situation.
Train Station Renovation focuses on a totally different aspect of the railway than driving a train or the operational side of things. Instead, you’ll be tasked with the project of sprucing up an abandoned railway station. You are responsible for tidying up the mess left behind by neglect. If you have played the hugely successful House Flipper, then imagine that game but in a railway environment. If you’re a rail enthusiast or simply love the simulation of games similar to House Flipper then I urge you to keep reading.
Work tools at the ready, there’s a lot to do!
Before you commence any form of renovation you’ll be designing a company name and logo. This can be customised with colour and differing insignias. In your company cabin, you’ll notice a range of tools on the wall. You can also choose to dive into tutorial challenges or straight into the several levels available. As always, I urge people to complete the tutorial in a simulation game as there can be complex parts to go through. The tutorial is very simple with the majority of the gameplay mechanics covered.
The first station you’ll renovate is a small quaint little place with the mammoth task of cleaning the place up. Broken bottles, cans, bricks and general debris litters the platform and surrounding areas. Spray paint artists have daubed the walls of station buildings with graffiti and electrical elements are worn down. You’ll have areas where you can hire skips for general waste and skips for materials that can be sent for recycling. You’re given a budget to pay for these things and money can be made by recycling. It is tempting to chuck it as a normal skip item if you want to get the job done. If you’re a perfectionist like me though and want to clean every nook and cranny, there is no time limit.
Don’t like being told what to do? There is a mode for you too!
In the levels, some tasks need to be completed as a minimum to bring the station to a standard of being reopened. You can choose to do as little as is needed or bring it to pristine condition and do much more than required. As time-consuming as it can be, it is satisfying to see the result. There is a sandbox mode if you just want to crack on and not be told what to do.
How Does it Play?
If you have played titles similar to Train Station Renovation then you will be comfortable here. You’ll be assigned a tablet that can be used to check on your progress and challenges. A great feature is a scanner that will highlight what stuff can be cleared out of the way or cleaned in bright red. This does have a cooldown so that it can’t be spammed, so take your time with things.
The tool wheel is what you’re going to be using most but takes some getting your head around. Pressing the X button brings up a range of tools such as brushes, crowbars, sponges and more. These will be used for specific tasks, for instance using a sponge to wipe off graffiti. I had a habit of trying to clear something and then realising I had to change tools. This took some time to wrap my head around but you get used to changing tools before approaching objects in time. You can even go as far as filing rust off railway tracks and fixing broken wooden planks. I was surprised at how much work is involved and you get sucked into getting it all up to scratch.
Graphics and Audio
I have to admit I didn’t go into Train Station Renovation with high expectations in term of graphics. I was pleasantly surprised with the visuals. They have done really well to capture the essence of the quiet rural atmosphere with stunning backdrops. Colours are vibrant in the right places and shadows are brilliantly done. I expected to see elements like graffiti repeated with the same designs but this wasn’t the case so hats off to the development team for this.
Audio is nothing to shout from the roof about but does everything it is supposed to do. The in-game music is something I personally had to turn off as I found it tedious after long periods of time. For some, the music may add to the already relaxing casual aura of the game itself.
I have to admit Train Station Renovation is a title that isn’t my go-to genre of choice. For its low price point, this game is outstanding and massively addictive. There is something very therapeutic about clearing the mess left behind and coming out with a clean and tidy station. I had a little bit of worry about the levels becoming repetitive and similar, but the development team did enough to make it varied and interesting. There is enough here to keep you going for hours on end and whilst I found the control system a little fiddly, it didn’t ruin the experience. I’d say if you enjoy simulation games and love titles like House and Castle Flipper then this is right up your street. If you haven’t played any titles like this I highly recommend Train Station Renovation even if you have no passion for trains or the railway environment.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase Train Station Renovation on the Microsoft Store here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.