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Teeny Tiny Trains review – “Runs better than most real-life railways”

  • Teeny Tiny Trains is the new puzzle game from the makers of Teeny Tiny Towns
  • Manage small toy railways to solve simple puzzles in this intriguing little game
  • But how does it hold up? Let’s find out…

When it comes to puzzle games, mobile is one platform where this genre thrives, with dozens of amazing titles that are both visually pleasing and punishingly difficult. There’s no better way to while away the hours than flexing your brain’s muscles. And now you can do so while reliving the joy of playing with your toy train set in Teeny Tiny Trains.

From Short Circuit Studio, the makers of Teeny Tiny Town, Teeny Tiny Trains takes the ‘action’ from city-building and instead to rail-line building. You’ll go from the floor of your bedroom, to the living room and beyond to solve the increasingly complex rail networks needed to make sure your trains reach their destination on time.

Okay, so it’s not exactly high-octane action or anything, but don’t write it off because of that. Teeny Tiny Trains has more than a few unique selling points that make it one to consider adding to your library. Having gone hands-on with the game, here’s what we thought of Teeny Tiny Trains.

Gameplay

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Teeny Tiny Trains starts off deceptively simply; build a line from point A to point B and watch your train head to the station. Simple, right? Well, as you might’ve expected, it doesn’t stay that way for long. Teeny Tiny Trains does a great job of ramping up the difficulty, adding a whole host of new wrinkles like obstacles, tunnels, junctions and more. You get plenty of time to experiment at ease and there’s no way to ‘fail’ a level, meaning you can focus instead on achieving a perfect set-up.

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You only have two real ways of interacting with your train set, and that’s by laying tracks or switching the direction of ‘flip-flops’ – the direction trains on junctions go. Simply draw out the necessary rails, crossing and intersecting as needed, then hit the play button and watch them go. You can even alter the speed of their journey if you want to test multiple iterations or just don’t want to sit around and observe while the trains travel.

Additionally, as we said above, you’ll find new challenges and obstacles being introduced over time. Navigating these can be a real challenge, although sometimes it feels as if they’re introduced a bit too slowly for some situations.

Graphics

Visuals-wise, Teeny Tiny Trains is nothing to write home about, but that’s not necessarily the bad thing. The framing device of playing with toys on the floor of a house is a pretty comfortable one, and the idea of a toy-inspired puzzle game puts me in the mind of older titles like Hitman Go. Don’t expect any flashy visuals or any real flair, though. Even your trains crashing only causes them to bounce into each other or off the track. Puzzle with red and blue car

But of course, the flipside to this is that you can enjoy Teeny Tiny Trains on even lower-end devices with little trouble. We did find one or two crashes happening, but not enough to detract from the experience and seemingly not graphics-related.

The backgrounds, set around a typical suburban house, also help to ground the game in its sense of cosy charm. It definitely takes you back to the days of playing around with building blocks, Lego or other toys in order to make your own perfect world. In many ways, what Teeny Tiny Trains challenges you to do is to make sense of the world you created as a kid.

What I liked

As far as mobile puzzle games go, Teeny Tiny Trains is definitely one of the quintessential ones. It’s a low-stakes, calming and genuinely challenging game at times. So if you see toy trains and expect something easy-going, you may want to reconsider. I’m not a person who’s particularly nostalgic about toy trains, but there’s definitely a cosy atmosphere that helps to put me in a good mood when playing.

The variety of obstacles on offer here is great too, and is sure to please anybody who enjoys laying out the perfect track. Despite being based around the appearance of a children’s toy, this game will certainly prove to be a bit too complex for kids, methinks.

A lot of different puzzle maps in Teeny Tiny Train

Teeny Tiny Trains also offers a wealth of content, with dozens of levels in each of its multiple chapters. Better yet, the game comes bundled with a level editor that lets you create your own levels and play ones created by others.

What I didn’t like

I wouldn’t consider myself much of a puzzle gamer, but I do enjoy the genre from time to time. My main issue with Teeny Tiny Trains was there wasn’t really anything to grab my attention. As noted above, there’s no real visual flair to seeing your trains travel, or even crash, so unless you’re really invested in the puzzle aspect, you’ll probably just skip the actual conclusion. 4x4 squares puzzle with different obstacles

The controls can also be a little frustrating at times. Short Circuit Studios has obviously aimed for an intuitive gesture-based system where you simply trace your thumb over a given route. However, that also means it’s prone to error and you can end up being confused as to why a route is going one way, or breaking a connection you already made.

It would’ve been good to have some kind of option to lay the track piece-by-piece, avoiding this issue altogether. I also found the difficulty ramping up very slowly, meaning there are more than a few stages you really only need to complete for competition’s sake.

Final thoughts

That said, many of my criticisms are personal preference, and as much as I find the tracing unintuitive at times, some of the track pieces – like double-corners – can be very quick to lay down. Overall, if you’ve enjoyed games like Teeny Tiny Town, or other titles by Short Circuit Studios, I think you’ll find plenty to enjoy with Teeny Tiny Trains as well.

My final score doesn’t necessarily take into account the addition of a level editor, which is sure to offer a great deal of new content from other players over time, ensuring plenty of bang for your buck. Subjectively speaking, I’m not sure it’s the game for me, but objectively for the price they’re asking for, Short Circuit Studios has delivered a complete package for any player.

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