Do you see dilapidated buildings and think how has this happened? Can you look at these wrecks and picture what they would look like in their heyday? They are beautiful structures that have been; burnt, smashed, and covered in graffiti! Can you restore these architectural masterpieces to their former glory, or will mother nature swallow them up? Train Station Renovation asks you to clean and repair old station buildings before it¨s too late. Take your time, painstakingly restore and lovingly decorate each building.
Developed by Live Motion Games and published by Ultimate Games, this is a relaxing simulation title that expects you to have an eye for detail. With fifteen stations to look after and a grading system to perfect, this is no easy task. You will walk around rural halts and grand city locations, looking at the wonderful architecture and assessing the damage. Graffiti, dirt, rubbish, damage, and missing equipment all ruin these iconic structures. You must scan the local area, strip the buildings back to the brickwork, and rebuild each room. It¨s time-consuming, hard work, but worth the effort when you see the final product.
If you¨ve played a House Flipper game, you¨ll feel very familiar with the mechanics found in this title.?In?Train Station Renovation you are given a tool belt loaded with equipment. You are a jack of all trades, and no job is too big for you. As you delve deeper into the renovation scene, new mechanics are added that require specialist tools. Luckily, these are explained to you in great depth and your truck is always on hand to help you?carry the new equipment.
As you load into each stage, you will not know what to expect. A list of tasks is presented to you, but you are free to tackle each one as you see fit. Like all these types of games, the levels are graded in a percentage format. To simplify things, the developers added a star system where 100% will score you the maximum points. You need not aim for the maximum score and only perfectionists will attempt this. As long as you complete the main aims, you can move forward to the next station.
I liked this system as it allowed more adept players to focus on harder gameplay, whereas beginners or younger players can simply enjoy ticking the boxes and moving on. There is nothing complex about the renovation work, but the latter stages require a lot of micromanagement and this may overwhelm some players.
Breathe some life into this beautiful place.
Live Motion Games has added a sense of morality to their gameplay with the insistence that recycling is key. You will bag up the rubbish, placing glass, plastic, and paper in their own bins. This wasn¨t just great for the planet, no, it was also good for your bank balance. Keeping yourself cash-rich was essential, as renovating each station isn¨t a cheap hobby. All the items you place down are expensive, so you must put some thought into what is essential to buy and what is nice to buy.
Some items can not be reused and these must simply be binned. Skips are purchased and filled with bulky items and this can be difficult to manage. You must plan what items to throw away first otherwise you¨ll waste space and lose all-important money. Rubbish management, the unexpected task when renovating a site, great fun, eh! It¨s not all doom and gloom though, as cash is awarded for progress on each level. The more stars you earn, the more money you are given. So pick out the easy jobs, place down cheap items, and increase that completion percentage slowly.
So why earn those stars? Our jack of all trades starts with basic equipment. A paintbrush, sponge, yard brush, and so on. As you earn stars, you can improve your equipment. Your sponge turns into a mop, paintbrush a roller, and yard brush a hoover. It makes each job easier and quicker to complete, and this is essential when you hit the later stages. Working alone is hard enough work as it is, but hand scrubbing graffiti is more bearable when the job is simplified.
So much rubbish to deal with.
The gameplay is pretty well thought out, and each task is well balanced. Yet, it was amusing how certain tools could be used for multiple reasons. The crowbar essentially smashes everything and anything; boarded windows, check. Broken doors, check. Massive vending machine needs destroying, check, check. It was a tad unrealistic, but amusing nonetheless.
This silliness continued with the non -recyclable rubbish. Your character has no problem with placing building blocks and large pots in his pocket but rightly has to carry pallets and oil containers straight to the skip. So far, so good. What was hilarious was the inability to bag up small toys such as rubber ducks. You¨ll find one lying down and have to drag it across the map to heave into the bin. Bizarre, absurd, but it brought a wry smile to my face.
It didn¨t break the game, but it reduced the realism factor that was otherwise pretty high. I would like to have seen the requirement to carry a toolbox, purchasing objects, and the need for a multitude of different tools. Though this would have made the gameplay harder and possibly tedious, I think it would have been the right way for this title to go.
Whenever I look at this genre of game, I automatically associate it with PC gaming. Yet, when one comes to console I¨m instantly interested in trying it out. Fortunately, Train Station Renovation works well on console. Graphically it¨s not the most advanced game that you¨ll see, but the levels look great, the buildings have a nice layer of detail to them, and there is an array of furniture and equipment that looks lifelike. A nice mix of colours add depth to the images, and the gameplay runs smoothly with no issues.
A relaxing game requires a laid back and calm soundtrack and that is exactly what is presented. A mix of jazzy piano songs and airy tunes add variety to what is a slow-paced affair. You will enjoy the sounds of your footsteps as you walk around each station, and every task has appropriate noises attached to them. Like the graphics, it won¨t wow you, but the amount of songs that play prevents the game from feeling monotonous.
Get out the mop and bucket and give that a scrub.
With many tasks to complete and lots of items to select, this could have easily been a mess to play. Luckily, it¨s smooth and easy to understand. The radial menu makes tool selection simple. And I liked how it was aimed at gamers of all skill sets. The UI has been redesigned for console gaming and it shows straightaway. I applaud the developers for their consideration when porting this from PC and this makes it a much more enjoyable experience.
Can there be much replay value in cleaning up old stations? Yes, yes there can. There are loads of jobs, new mechanics, and five stars to collect on each level. So, there is plenty to make you keep playing. A large achievement list asks you to get every star and so this may be out of reach for younger gamers. If you love the railway, or you enjoy DIY this will keep you busy for hours.
With so many shooters, sports, and all-action games, Train Station Renovation is a welcome break from the norm. There are plenty of tasks to complete and beautiful locations to renovate. It¨s relaxing and can be played at a mellow pace. It was enjoyable and there is a market for it, so I recommend you to buy it here! Grab your tools, clear out the rubbish and bring these architectural beauties back to life.