A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism
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A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism is a train and city management simulation available for download exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. The game casts players as an executive in charge of a train line running through multiple towns, helping these locations grow as more tourists roll through the countryside to new places. There's no inappropriate content to be found in the game, but players will find that there are lots of details explaining the basics of economics and business in the included tutorials. But the biggest thing that could frustrate some players is the finicky menu system, which could easily confuse players, making things harder than necessary.
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What’s It About?
A-TRAIN: ALL ABOARD! TOURISM is a city and train simulation game set in Japan in the 1990s. Players take on the role of the president of a train company who's tasked with fueling your company's growth, turning it from a small or regional line to a key artery of transportation across the countryside. Players will have set guidelines across eight separate scenarios from six different decades to accomplish goals, such as boosting rider records or turning a specific profit by a certain date. This will involve a number of actions, including laying down new train tracks, purchasing and maintaining your fleet of train cars, and establishing operating schedules. But there's more to your success than simply keeping the trains running on time. Your plans will affect the regions that the train connects, building sleepy villages and towns into tourism destination hot spots and more. Players will be able to affect and manipulate the growth of cities by purchasing land, developing stations and locales, and making sure that people and goods are being funneled directly where they need (or want) to go. Government officials will also chime in to help run ad campaigns or provide funding to support your business. Players will also have the option to create their own scenarios and maps, with the option to upload them to servers so that other gamers can try their hand at these user-created levels.
Is It Any Good?
While the unique nature of this game provides flexibility in creating your transportation plans, the complexity and awkward controls limit this for only the most hard-core sim fan. Instead of being in charge of a city, A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism puts you in command of the vital transportation needs of a region. Among your many tasks, you'll set hours, lay tracks for commercial and passenger trains, and build your business into a massive success. Incidentally, as you're trying to accomplish your goals, you'll find additional bonuses, such as the growth of towns along your train lines. The success of your company benefits the area around it, and by reinvesting in land, you'll further boost its prospects. It's intriguing to watch as you start a scenario that's sparsely developed, only to see the land around you become more metropolitan as you establish more subways, freight lines, and other trains across the countryside.
All that being said, A-Train has an incredibly steep hill to climb. While there's a lot of tutorials provided, the level of detail is highly complex. There are graphs that dive into profit and loss, the inner workings of economics, and other info that could swamp just about anyone other than a business major. This is made trickier when some of the other details of gameplay aren't as easily explained. For example, you may buy an expanded, new train for a different train line, but for some reason, these are always placed on a pre-existing track, causing service delays or blockages on your lines. Some of this can also be blamed on the control scheme, which is horrendous. It's too easy to get lost within the nested levels of menus, or find yourself accidentally laying down track that you'll need to demolish later, especially if you're not playing on a television to understand the finer details. It can be mastered with a significant amount of effort, but if you're not a hard-core city sim fan, you may not want to buy a ticket to ride this train.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about simulations. A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism provides a lot of in-depth info about business and economics. Does a player need to have that knowledge to enjoy this game? Would this game be as enjoyable if it wasn't as detailed? Does it make you interested in learning about these details in real life?
What's appealing about trains? Is it because it's a different mode of transportation? Is it watching the landscape roll by at a consistent speed? Would you rather go somewhere by train or by car? Why?
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Artdink
- Release date: March 12, 2021
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Trains
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
- Last updated: April 5, 2021
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