Train Conductor 2: USA Review

There’s a saying that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In our review of the original Train Conductor, we stated that Plus+ integration didn’t quite work because there weren’t endless levels. Train Conductor 2: USA has a new problem: It doesn’t have online leaderboards, but every level is endless.

Before we delve into the game itself, we want to give a warning to anybody thinking of buying the game to play on the iPad. While the developers are saying this app is universal, it actually is not. On the iPad, it plays in a permanent pixel-double window and looks very blurry.

We aren’t sure if this was an honest mistake or an attempt to cash-in, but for the moment hold off unless you plan on playing the game on an iPhone. Also, our testing found that the game is not optimized for the iPhone 4′s Retina display.

If you never played the first version of the game, the idea is that you move numbered trains to their correct track by drawing in crossways for them. The level starts off easy, but gets progressively harder. You must also micromanage traffic by starting and stopping trains to avoid a crash. In daytime levels, putting a train through the wrong track results in the loss of one point.

Las Vegas and Nashville– horrifying!

Train Conductor 2: USA has five stations based in different states, each of which is unlocked once you’ve successfully guided a certain number of cumulative trains. The first three, Miami, Nashville, and New York, are similar to the maps found in the first Train Conductor. The twists to these include walls between tracks and faster trains. There’s even a replica of the ghost level from the first game, where ghosts can’t be stopped but can go through one another, and train cars must reach their destination or the game ends.

The other two levels, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, are the more original of the bunch. Grand Canyon’s twist is that you must help trains cross the canyon. Most trains stop before plummeting to the canyon floor and will wait for you to draw them a path, but occasionally a ‘dark train’ will come by and refuse to stop.

Las Vegas is an entirely new kind of game. Instead of having a path-drawing element, this map is about sorting pink and green ghosts into their respective groups before they hit the soul destroyer near each track’s center. If you fail to sort a ghost in time or sort a ghost into the wrong pile, the game ends.

Travel across the States without leaving your lounge chair.

If you feel comfortable with a level or want to speed up transitions between train waves, a fast-forward button is available. It would be nice if there were safe fast-forward like that found in Flight Control HD, but it isn’t a reason to avoid this game.

We enjoyed the new levels, but Train Conductor 2 is missing the crucial factor to any high score game: online leaderboards. It doesn’t make any sense that the developers would have decided not to implement Plus+ again, or another social gaming platform. They did implement Facebook connect, but this certainly does not replace true leaderboards.

In the end, the lack of online leaderboards and the faulty iPad version are what keep us from giving this version of Train Conductor a higher score. It has the potential to keep us occupied for a while, but after unlocking every level in under an hour, we saw no reason to keep playing.

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