Game: Tracks – Toybox Edition
Genre: Racing, Education, Simulation, Puzzle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam and Xbox One)
Developers | Publishers: Excalibur Games
Age Rating: EU 3 | US E
Price: EU $29,99 | USD $29.99 | UK £24.99
Release Date: November 24th, 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Excalibur Games
Tracks-Toybox Edition is a sandbox toy train track builder in the manner of old wooden toy trains. The main aspect of Tracks is relaxing, building worlds around intricate tracks. It’s toy trains without any restrictions or the cost of building, with plenty of scenery items to let your creativity go wild in worlds that look like model train sets.
One of my younger Grandsons has a wooden train set just like this, which we have played with for many hours together. So, of course, I had to review the game that reminded me of his toys. Let’s hop on the train and go full steam ahead and find out what Tracks-Toybox Edition is like.
Wooden Trains and Tracks
Once the game starts you are taken through a tutorial of how the controls work. The game asks you to “press the right button” on numerous occasions. Maybe my brain stalled for a second or two as it took a while for it to click with me that press the right button meant press right on the D-pad. If it had said press right on the D-pad I wouldn’t have had a hiccup at the start of the game. Once it did dawn that’s what the game meant I was off laying tracks.
Once you are past the tutorial you are free to build whatever you want. You start by choosing your location template, whether it be a winter wonderland, a modern Ikea house, or even a blank white void or a green grassy one. You then have a small piece of track with a wooden train on it, and from there it’s up to you to build more track and have fun!
Choose from Different Environments
From your toy box, you can place houses, factory buildings, and even a space station as well as adding landscaping and building all-around a map. There are tons of items you can choose to set down and build a little world for your train to navigate around. Choose to make a town, forest, river, or maybe a combination of them all!
You can add stations and platforms and even little wooden characters that need to be picked up and delivered to the station. You can customise your tracks and the environment to your heart’s content. If you try out some of the pre-made environments you can add to the tracks that are already laid down in those.
Pick a Gingerbread Train
Once you have your new world designed you can change the environment options and fiddle with the fog density, add rain or snowflakes falling from the sky. Additionally, the terrain can be altered from blank to either grass, mud, stone, water, sand, hay or snow. The train toolbar allows you to alter the train decoration, the standard default is wooden but you can add your own style options which includes your choice of colour for different parts of the train. Or different patterns again with different colour options, and a few other preferences. Or you can just click the gingerbread option!
Let your Imagination Run Wild
Letting your imagination run wild is really what it’s all about with Tracks -Toybox Edition. But some may find not having a predetermined goal to work towards a little off-putting. I didn’t mind not having a goal as it makes for some very relaxing gameplay.
Outside of building your toy towns and landscapes in Tracks – Toybox Edition, you can also make passenger runs in some of the predetermined environments. Little wooden passengers will randomly appear in different parts of the room. And it’s your job to lay a track from their position to the main station.
Pick Up Wooden Passengers
There are also wooden business passengers who want to be transferred to a specific station within a short time slot. Even though the clock would run out by the time I would build the train and transport them over, I never got a penalty for it. Though it’s not much, it is a pretty nice feature to have that adds more of an objective or goal to the Tracks experience.
Take a Ride on the Train
Once done with your track laying, you can take a ride from inside or outside the train. This is easily my favourite part of the game. Riding around on the train, blowing the whistle and enjoying the course you have built. I think it would be pretty great to have this going during Christmas on the TV screen if you have young children. There is a Christmas environment you can choose all set with a tree and there are Christmas items to place as well.
The Nintendo Switch Tracks – Toybox Edition comes with two DLC’s Tracks. Sci-Fi, which adds lots of space vehicles and Tracks Suburban which adds extra items to use in your worlds.
Visuals and Controls
The graphics are pleasant and colourful and the colour palette used gives the game a retro feel. There is a decent amount of detail in everything, right down to the wood-grain of the tracks.
The music really compliments the atmosphere, with soft piano music gently playing in the background whilst you are building. And you’ll hear the sound effects of the gentle clickety-clack of the wheels of the train as you are chugging along.
It gives a nice calming feel and doesn’t distract you. The music can get a little repetitive but it is also not that noticeable.
There are no touchscreen controls as everything is controlled with the joy-cons. They work well and they do feel intuitive once you get to grips with the control system.
Tracks – Toybox Edition is a simple pick up and play game. It offers a huge amount of space to build your dream track on. With plenty of decorations to choose from the Toybox to add to your work of art. It certainly has a calming and a relaxing gameplay atmosphere to chill out with.
With its simplistic approach Tracks – Toybox Edition would be an easy game for young children to play or a family. It would make a perfect gift for any children that are receiving a Nintendo Switch for Christmas or any adult who wants to let their inner child imagination run wild!
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot