If you dream of having your own miniature railway in the attic, but either don’t know where to start or have the room, Game Insight launched a fascinating free-to-play title that aims to bring the simple joys of building a railway empire onto iOS and Android. In My Railway, you start with an enormous amount of money, but the game’s tutorial wastes no time having you invest it in the fundamentals of laying individual pieces of track to make a connection between a village and a farm, or hiring a shopkeeper to manage all of that fiddly salesmanship.
Once you’ve linked a town to a farm, for example, you can then choose what to produce, and the train you assign to a particular railway will then automatically ferry the goods as long as the item’s production timer is ticking. When it expires, you’ll need to select a new one, and so on as you expand your railway empire. If you don’t have a shopkeeper, you’ll need to manually tap on goods to sell them in the village.
From here, the game’s depth opens up a little more. Do you invest in faster tracks, or open access to a new village? Go for that special job, or keep the basics flowing between factories and villages? You’ll need to constantly tweak and adjust efficiency to make progress in the game, and keep the money rolling in.
To keep you from being distracted by other games, there are a few mechanics in My Railway to maintain your attention beyond mere tinkering. Whenever a bird flies around, you can tap to kill it and get some cash. In addition, your conductors grow sleepy after a while, and you’ll need to tap their icons to wake them up and get the trains moving at full speed again; you’ll also need to deal with the bandits that occasionally appear.
It’s nice to have those things to keep you occupied, though if you’re used to being able to dip in, make a few adjustments, and go back to watching television, you may find it a little frustrating to come back to the game and discover that you’ve made rather weak progress. Still, we found the additional engagement to be worth the trade-off.
As well as doing a better job than most at holding your attention, the game is also pretty good-looking. The trains chug through villages, fields, and past rolling rivers, and there’s a hypnotic charm to the way every element comes together into one flowing whole.
Taking all this into account, My Railway does a lovely job fulfilling those miniature railway fantasies most of us have had at one time or another, and it certainly takes up a lot less space. If you’re looking for a micro-simulator that has depth and a lot of charm, this is one ride worth catching.