A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trainyard is a color-based puzzle game that is easy to learn but hard to master. The game is simple enough that a young child could play the easier levels, but the more advanced levels will challenge puzzle-loving adults. There is some connection to social media, particularly with submitting solutions, but that is optional (and requires a password for Facebook or Twitter access).
What's it about?
Kids create and test track configurations on a grid background until they find one that works. Trains run from outlet stations to goal stations at variable and easily controlled speeds. If the trains crash, players have to go "Back to the drawing board!" Double tap to switch connections, and use erase mode to get rid of unwanted track. Sometimes kids have to send their trains on an indirect path to merge or crossover at just the right time.
Is it any good?
TRAINYARD has a simple goal: get the color-coded trains from their outlets to their correct stations. Players draw tracks on the screen with a finger, and then send the trains on their way. However, as the game progresses players encounter new obstacles and techniques: combining trains to mix the colors, creating branching tracks that send trains into different directions, and stations that re-paint the trains into different colors. With short tutorials spaced out throughout the levels, Trainyard is very easy to learn and has a good learning curve. But with about 150 levels, the harder stages can stump even puzzle-loving adults.
The graphics are clean and attractive, and the interface is well-designed without a lot of distractions. There's even an option for color-blind players to label all the elements with letters. The game keeps track of the progress of two players, which is a nice touch, although it would be nice to be able to change the names on the profiles. All in all, Trainyard is a fantastic puzzle game that uses some basic ideas in a very innovative way that both children and adults can enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Science: engineering, motion
Math: counting, geometry
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, hypothesis-testing, logic, prediction, solving puzzles
Creativity: combining knowledge, developing novel solutions
- Price: $.99-$2.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: September 1, 2011
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Topics: Trains
- Size: 7.70 MB
- Publisher: Matt Rix
- Version: 1.66
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up
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For kids who love puzzles and strategy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.