Around three years ago I looked at the game Urban Flow. I enjoyed the game quite a bit as it was oddly satisfying playing a game where you are in charge of the traffic lights directing traffic. I bring this up because today I am looking at a new game from the same developer. Train Traffic Manager has a similar premise as Urban Flow. Instead of directing cars though, you are directing trains. As I enjoyed Urban Flow, I was intrigued to see how Train Traffic Manager would turn out. Train Traffic Manager is a fun cooperative train conductor game that fans of the genre will likely enjoy even if it can be on the easy side.
In Train Traffic Manager you play as a train conductor. In each level your goal is to control the tracks and trains to prevent them from colliding or running into environmental obstacles.
The gameplay is pretty simple. Trains move onto the screen, and you need to guide them safely off the screen. To accomplish this task you control various parts of the tracks. These impact how the trains move around the screen. Some of the trains move on tracks that have stop lights. When the lights are on red, trains will stop until you turn the lights to green. You can use this to control the flow of trains. Some of the tracks have switches which can send trains down different tracks. There are also bridges that you need to raise and lower.
If I were to describe Train Traffic Manager I would say that it kind of plays like a puzzle game. That might seem like a odd comparison, but I think it works well for the game. The game is built around managing all of the trains to make sure that they don’t collide. This requires a lot of planning and analyzing the layout of the tracks. You can’t really go into the game just willy nilly choosing which trains to send. You need to figure out which trains will intersect and how to avoid that. This needs to be done fairly quickly because new trains will come soon which will crash into your other trains if you don’t handle them quick enough.
I would say that a lot of the gameplay is built around figuring out the pattern/rhythm of each level. Each level is designed where you have to figure out the order in which you send trains through the tracks. In some cases this relies on some trial and error. Usually you need to survey the area to figure out which train needs to be sent first and which way you should send them. If you can’t figure out this pattern you will eventually have some train crashes.
Train Traffic Manager’s gameplay is pretty simple on the surface. You basically just need to figure out the right time to press buttons as you analyze the current situation. The game is really easy to pick up and play. Even those who rarely play video games should be able to pick it up fairly quickly. Under the surface the game is more complex though. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I found the gameplay to be quite satisfying. It is fun handling a series of trains and preventing them from crashing. It can get surprisingly tense when two trains are barrelling towards one another, and they barely miss colliding. The gameplay is not going to be for everyone. I found it to be oddly satisfying though.
I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed the gameplay is that the whole game is co-op. You can play the entire campaign with one or more players. The co-op basically takes the single player game and divides up the work between all of the players. Each player controls some of the control points. This means each player has less buttons to worry about. The tradeoff is that the players need to have good communication/teamwork in order to succeed. Players need to trade off sending trains, or otherwise there will be a lot of collisions.
While I think Train Traffic Manager would still be fun in single player, I think it shines the most if you play it cooperatively. This is the type of game that was built for co-op. The gameplay is simple and straightforward meaning that it is a game that you can play with people that don’t play a lot of video games. At the same time it requires a lot of teamwork in order to succeed. If you are a fan of cooperative games and think the premise is intriguing, I think you will have a lot of fun with Train Traffic Manager.
While I found Train Traffic Manager to be pretty fun, I don’t know if it will be for everyone. While I found the gameplay to be fun, I don’t see it being for everyone. The gameplay is pretty simple and to the point. Outside of occasionally adding in a new mechanic, the gameplay never really changes all that much. Basically you have to be intrigued by the premise of directing trains to avoid collisions. If this doesn’t sound all that interesting to you, Train Traffic Manager probably won’t be for you.
I would probably say the biggest issue I had with the game is the fact that I would consider the game to be kind of easy. There were a couple harder levels, but I would say that I was able to three star most of the levels on my first attempt. Most of the more difficult levels only took a couple attempts. I would say that there might have been five or so levels that were pretty challenging.
I think part of the reason the game felt easy was because I have actually played a number of these type of train games before. Therefore I already had experience with the game which likely made it easier. Second playing with more players likely made the game easier as well. If you play with other players you split up the control points, which means each player has less to worry about. As long as you have decent communication with the other players, this should make the game quite a bit easier. If you play the game by yourself, it likely will be a little harder as you will have to juggle more things at a time.
The main reason I think Train Traffic Manager is easy though is that once you figure out the rhythm/pattern of each level, the levels aren’t that difficult. If you follow the pattern you shouldn’t have any trouble reaching three stars in the level. Most of the difficulty of each level is just figuring out the pattern. For most of the levels it was pretty easy to figure out the pattern. Once you know the pattern you just do the same thing over and over until you three star the level.
As for Train Traffic Manager’s length, I think its pretty good. It isn’t the type of game that you are going to play forever. You should get enough out of the game especially if you try to three star every level. The game has 80 levels. I would estimate on average that each level takes around 5-10 minutes. Most players should be able to beat the game in around 8-12 hours.
There is also an endless mode. The endless mode basically takes some of the levels from the main game and lets you play them for as long as you want. Basically you want to survive for as long as possible without causing a crash. This mode is fine as it will add some time if you want to explore it. I don’t see it as a mode that I would spend a lot of time with though.
Train Traffic Manager is a fun game that I enjoyed my time with. The premise is pretty simple as you basically just guide trains to prevent them from crashing. The game is really simple to play, but there is depth to it. Each level feels like a sort of puzzle as you try to figure out the rhythm/pattern of how to send the trains to avoid collisions. This is oddly satisfying especially when two trains narrowly avoid colliding. The entire game can be played co-op as well, which leads to a fun cooperative game.
I only really had two complaints with the game. First the gameplay stays mostly the same throughout the game. It may occasionally add some small new mechanics from time to time, but the main gameplay never really changes. The gameplay simply won’t be for everyone. Otherwise Train Traffic Manager is on the easier side. There are only a handful of levels that I would consider challenging. The rest are fairly easy to complete with three stars. This creates a fun relaxing environment, but I wouldn’t go into the game expecting a big challenge.
My recommendation for Train Traffic Manager is fairly simple. If the premise doesn’t really interest you all that much, I don’t think the game will be for you. If the premise intrigues you and you generally like cooperative games, I think you will enjoy Train Traffic Manager and should consider picking it up.
Train Traffic Manager
Release Date: November 24th, 2023 | Systems: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Baltoro Games | Publisher: Baltoro Games | ESRB Rating: Everyone for Violent References
Genres: Co-op, Indie, Puzzle
Official Website: https://baltorogames.com/
- A fun straightforward game that is quite fun if you play with other players.
- Satisfying gameplay that requires strategy as you figure out the pattern/rhythm of each level.
- The gameplay doesn’t change a lot throughout the game.
- On the easier side as only a handful of levels are particularly challenging.
Recommendation: For those who find the premise intriguing and are looking for a fun co-op game.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Baltoro Games for the review copy of Train Traffic Manager used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.