Trainyard

 

Learning(i)

Route trains to correct stations in this innovative stumper.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Short, text-heavy tutorials are spaced out throughout the game, appearing as new elements are introduced. The levels are well-designed to increase the difficulty gradually but steadily.

Violence & scariness

If the trains run off the tracks or into the wrong station, they "crash," but it's fairly abstract; all players see is a puff of smoke.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A "Rate It" button on the credits screen sends you to the App Store to submit a review. Occasionally when you start the game you will get a pop-up window requesting that you rate the game as well, but this can be ignored. Once in the App Store, it's possible to purchase additional apps.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. The game allows players to share solutions on the Trainyard website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Players have the option of submitting a name, but otherwise are not identified on the Trainyard website. In addition, players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. Players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • geometry
  • counting

Science

  • motion
  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • prediction
  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • developing novel solutions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Trainyard is an innovative puzzle game with clean, attractive graphics and a well-designed interface. The game is simple enough that a young child could play the easier levels, but the more advanced levels will challenge puzzle-loving adults.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn real railway concepts like switching track, train car merging, crossovers, and collisions. Geometrical concepts like symmetry and asymmetry, timing and color mixing make for a concept-packed experience.

Support

Top-notch tutorials walk kids through each skill. The app does require a high level of fine motor skills, which may exclude some younger kids. The game can be adapted for color-blind players. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • geometry
  • counting

Science

  • motion
  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • prediction
  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • developing novel solutions

Kids can learn real railway concepts like switching track, train car merging, crossovers, and collisions. Geometrical concepts like symmetry and asymmetry, timing (based on counting squares), and color mixing make for a concept-packed experience. Levels named after Canadian provinces provide a bit of geography icing on the top. Though trains crash, kids won't be tempted to smash 'em up just for fun ('cuz it isn't). Trainyard is a superb combination of real-world learning and play for train enthusiasts or anyone who loves a challenge.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • If your kids love trains, seek out books or documentary films about trains for them. If possible, take them to see a real train up close.

  • Make Trainyard a team effort. Let your kids take the lead and then help them come up with solutions when they get stuck.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
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

This review of Trainyard was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck March 23, 2011
age 8+
 

Marvolous puzzer is tricky, but fun to play.

Theese puzzles are not a bit easy and you will have to think to solve. But it is a fatastic puzzle game that is deffently worth a try.
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written byJinny Gudmundsen October 23, 2010
age 8+
 
Love the progressively harder logic puzzles.
Kid, 10 years old September 27, 2013
age 6+
 

Fun!!!

This is a great puzzle app. Boredom is not a problem! Although the levels are really challenging when you get to the end.
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns

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