By Patricia Monticello Kievlan,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Virtual trains take a spin through a 3D world you design.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Though not created with educational intent, there's great potential to get creative and hone problem-solving skills, as kids can build tracks to solve their own design challenges: How can you get a train to cross a body of water? How can you create two tracks that overlap without having two trains collide?
Ease of Play
Big arrows point the way for kids to get started, and it's pretty simple to discover all the things you can do. Still, it would be nice if kids could access that information later on, and it would be even better if kids could save more than one map.
Parents Need to Know
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
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What’s It About?
When kids open TRAIN KIT, they'll see a gray grid where they can place items from three menus featuring roads (including bridges and tunnels), trains (in blue, yellow, and orange), and objects (including buildings, trees, and windmills). Kids can drag and drop items from the three menus onto the grid to make their own landscape, and they can drop items off the grid's edge into the water to delete them. Once you place each train on-screen, a color-coded controller appears to let you stop, start, and reverse the train that matches the controller's color. You can also hit the video-camera button to get a train's-eye view of your landscape and see what it looks like to travel around the tracks.
Is It Any Good?
This simulation game is part Minecraft, part virtual reality, and all fun, despite its minor limitations. Creating your landscape and setting your trains in motion is consistently absorbing and lets parents and kids work together to problem-solve to make their trains go as far and fast as possible. It's especially fun to get your train moving and tap the video-camera button, which gives you a rider's view as the train moves along your creation.
One downside is that if you place your trees or windmills too close to the tracks, your trains may knock them over or push them along. Also, since you can't rotate objects, if you'd like the road to bend to the left, you have to select the particular shape you need. It's also too bad that you can't save multiple landscapes for later use and that there aren't human characters to play with, but aside from these minor complaints, Train Kit does a nice job of providing the fun of a traditional train set and adds the cool on-screen feature of being able to virtually ride the train, so for families without the space or funds for elaborate setups, this app has a lot to offer.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Train Kit compares to a real-life toy train set. What are the main differences? Pros and cons of each? If you have a train set, work together to make a complicated track arrangement.
If your kids love trains, seek out books about trains for them to explore. If possible, take them to see a real train up close.
Work on some maze puzzles with pencil and paper together. For an extra challenge, ask your kid to design a maze for you to solve.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: motion, physics, Hobbies: building
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically, Creativity: developing novel solutions, imagination, innovation, Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: August 24, 2016
- Category: Simulation Games
- Topics: Trains
- Publisher: Stripey Design Ltd.
- Version: 1.03
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
- Last updated: October 23, 2019
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