Game: Paper Train
System: Nintendo Switch (also PC, iOS and Android)
Developer|Publisher: IsTom Games
Age Rating: EU 3+| US E
Price: $9.99 | £8.99 | € 9,99
Release Date: 26th September 2019
Review code used, big thanks to IsTom Games
If you are a regular reader here in the site, you have no doubt seen me mention more then once that I currently work in finances. But I don’t think I ever mentioned that before my current workplace, I worked at the Dutch National Rail Service. It doesn’t make me a train-nut, but I am interested in them. Love to travel on them too.
Maybe this is the reason why I’m drawn to train games: I reviewed Mini Metro before, where you had to make the subway grid yourself to get passengers from A to B quickly. We also reviewed Conduct Together n the site, another game where trains feature.
And now we have a new Train game on the Switch: Paper Train.
It started out as a mobile puzzle game
Hungarian developer IsTom Games started out in 2009 aiming at the iOS gaming market. Since then they have grown and entered the international market in 2012. Paper Train is their third game coming to the Nintendo Switch, after first appearing on mobile devices and Steam.
In the Nintendo eShop, Paper Train stands out because of the unique art style. Remember how in school you could doodle away in the margins of your paper drawing the most fantastic patterns (while listening to your professor, of course)? That’s how Paper Train looks, all scenes seem to be hand drawn in pen on graph paper and it’s very pleasing to look at.
No frills added
It also sets the tone for your upcoming puzzle adventure. Paper Train is a game with no frills. No deep menus or lots of texts. There are only a couple of options and hardly any instructions. Though this is all you need to exercise the grey cells, I do feel as if they could have made more of an effort on the instruction screen. Somehow, it looks a bit dated. But then, it does what it’s supposed to do: get you going.
Basically, there are three buttons to push. A red circle stops the train. A green square starts the train. And a blue square switches the track. The buttons used are A and Y, and the shoulder buttons. I’ll come back to them in a minute.
A lot going on to confuse your attention
And what are you sinking your teeth in? Into 300 increasingly difficult levels. At first you feel it’s too easy: just make sure you block a rail to let another train pass, and then unblock it again. Your goal is to make sure a set number of trains arrives, and then you have succeeded.
Using the shoulder buttons makes the trains speed up, and allows you to finish the level quicker. This in turn enable you to earn a higher time bonus and star bonus. But it will also mean you have to pay extra attention not to let the trains collide. Collision makes for a dramatic red splash, stops the level, and it’s back to the beginning. Of the level, fortunately.
Pretty soon you will be wondering where the easy levels went, as getting your trains in becomes more and more of a challenge. More tracks intertwining, more things happening on the screen. Planes flying overhead dropping bombs that come down as a sort of ink blot, a field of wind turbines moving, trains on a line that doesn’t cross the one you are controlling. All to confuse you and draw your attention away.
Paper Train is a fun experience with no frills but entertaining anyway. 300 levels to jog the grey cells and if you want to, you can strive to better your own scores.
The art style is unique and the levels take you through ever changing locations in the background. The game is challenging but forgiving: you can retry the levels as many times as you want to. And when you beat a particularly difficult level, it’s a sweet feeling!