Trainyard for iPhone review: Trainyard for iPhone

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Typical Price: £1.79
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4.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Challenging, innovative gameplay; Great learning curve; Beautifully presented; Share solutions on Facebook and Twitter.

The Bad Requires plenty of patience.

The Bottom Line Trainyard demands a good deal of patience, but you'll be rewarded -- this is one of the most satisfying and addictive iPhone games we've ever played. Beautiful presentation and brilliant sharing features don't hurt either.

8.8 Overall

Trains, eh? Can't live with 'em, can't get to work without 'em. We're taking a look at Trainyard, an iPhone game that will have you laying tracks and shunting trains, and no doubt swearing in frustrated rage too. All aboard!

Premise

Trainyard is a puzzle game developed specifically for the iPhone. It's currently priced at £1.79, although there's a free companion game, Trainyard Express, on offer too. The premise is simple. Trainyard's playing field comprises a grid with colour-coded sheds dotted around. Your goal is to guide trains from one coloured shed to another by connecting them with train track.

You succeed by navigating trains into the correctly coloured sheds, which initially is easy enough. But soon the game requires you to plan the routes of your various coloured trains way ahead, and lay down the right pathways to ensure they don't collide before reaching their goal.

Once the track is laid to your satisfaction, you hit the 'start the trains' button to set everything in motion. If the trains do crash or if they wind up at a shed of the wrong colour, you'll have to go back to the drawing board. When you eventually succeed, it's full steam ahead to the next challenge. Woo-woo!

As the puzzles become increasingly complex, you'll be introduced to the art of combining differently coloured trains, to make a single train of a new colour. For example, if there's a shed that requires a purple train, you'll have to sneakily engineer red and blue trains to merge on the tracks, making one purple train.

From then on, things become increasingly complex, and soon you'll be dealing with complicated issues like point-switching.

Full steam ahead

There are around 150 puzzles on offer. While figuring out what to do can be a little baffling at first, there's an extremely smooth difficulty curve, so you'll never feel as though you've been thrown in at the deep end. Then, when you're elbow-deep in track, with dozens of trains scurrying around your fingertips, you'll suddenly realise that you've attained a Fat Controller-like understanding of rail organisation.

Besting Trainyard will require the patience of a thousand saints, with some puzzles so fiendish they'll keep you baffled for days on end. You'll have to invest plenty of time, but finding the solution always feels incredibly rewarding. The finest thing about Trainyard is that it delivers a gaming thrill without ever hurrying or penalising you.

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