Tiny Rails is a clicker game. You know what I mean. Those games that your main goal is to simply click the screen repeatedly. What separates Tiny Rails from normal clicker games is, well, they included a cool little game to break up all the clicking.
While other clicker games have you wearing out your phone digitizer, Tiny Rails does things slightly differently. You are not exactly clicking repeatedly – just regularly.
At first, I was wondering just what is so interesting about Tiny Rails. After a couple of days playing this game by Tiny Titan Studios, I am now stuck playing it every chance I get.
Much like other clicker games, your game continues even when you are not actively playing. In the case of Tiny Rails, your train continues its route and your company continues earning money.
That is all par for the course with a clicker game. But what sets Tiny Rails apart?
That train aspect.
I have reviewed a few clicker games over the years, one that stood out was Idle Space. In that game you controlled a space ship taking on enemies in what felt more like an old school overhead arcade shooter than a clicker game.
Tiny Rails feels more like Railroad Tycoon for mobile than it does a clicker game.
You are not simply clicking, you are running a small up and coming train company, continuing the family legacy.
Much like Railroad Tycoon, in Tiny Rails you oversee a train company. Success or failure is all on your shoulders.
As you build up your train company you can start buying stations and factories. Completing areas of the various countries by meeting the necessary goals opens the factories in that area.
Factories make certain train cars when you provide the required raw materials. This can take a while to complete as you may end up on the other side of the country carrying the necessary raw material for that latest car creation.
Do you abandon your goals, for a moment, race to that factory and drop the raw materials off or do you wait and bide your time till you are in that area again?
The allure of a new train car can be tempting sometimes.
As you play Tiny Rails you will see various times of day roll by. Night time, day time, morning, and evening are all represented. I have yet to run into inclement weather though.
Each area has clearly defined goals for you to complete. It is up to you to follow through on them or ignore them and go for the quick buck.
As you play, you will gain the services of advisors that can give you valuable boosts in Tiny Rails. Their services come at a premium though – everyone must eat. Right?
Keeping these advisors working costs gems. That is cool because Tiny Titan Studios apparently suck at getting gamers to part with cold hard cash.
What I mean there is, while gems are the rarer of the two currencies present in Tiny Rails, they are certainly not as rare as other developers would have made them (Rocket Jump, I am looking your way).
Take this scenario for instance. There was a flash sale, about eight hours long, that featured a train engine that I wanted to get. It cost 200 gems. I had just gone on a spending spree with the gumball machine and had less than 10 gems left.
By the time I saw the special train engine I had less than seven hours. I figured there was no way I could cover that spread in the few hours I had left before I planned to go to bed.
I was wrong. I not only got the needed 200 gems, I was able to get enough to buy a special caboose car as well (another 50 gems).
This was through regular play, swapping cars, upgrading them as I could, paying employees (with gems) and doing other basic “train” stuff.
Let’s discuss the way you get new cars a bit more. I already mentioned that you can buy factories in regions and provide the necessary raw materials to get new cars.
You can also buy them with gems or coins that you earn while playing.
Another way to earn them is to buy gumballs in the gumball machine. There are two types of gumballs you can go for. One is a normal gumball for 25 gems. The guaranteed rare gumball costs 50 gems.
Certain cars are available for coins in the shopping cart area in Tiny Rails as well (this is where you can buy them with gems as well).
Okay, retro gaming fans may be wondering just how Tiny Rails is like Railroad Tycoon?
Other than buying stations, you are in control of what cars your train carries from station to station. You can swap out cars based on the route you are sending your train on.
Just remember, much like that classic train game, if you overload your engine with too many cars, it will not run as fast or efficiently as it could.
Don’t worry, you are given a very clear number of cars that the current engine can carry and how many you have enabled already.
There is miniscule amount of RPG elements in Tiny Rails as well.
When you have more than one car that is the same level you can upgrade them to one of the next level. This new car can carry more passengers, materials, etc and take up less space in your train.
Stations that you purchase can be upgraded to handle more materials, passengers, etc. This gives you an opportunity for higher profits per stop.
Okay, now let’s discuss some of the clicky stuff in Tiny Rails and I will let you go after that.
Since this is a clicker game the idea is to click the screen, right? Well, in Tiny Rails, there is a purpose for those taps.
Tapping on your engine while in transit will make it speed up with a boost for a brief period. This makes your trip shorter and gets more money rolling in for your company. This also makes satisfied customers who will pay more for the privilege of riding your train.
Pay attention to the background as well. See a plane, helicopter or other object in the sky? If you are fast enough to tap them you can earn a reward.
Okay, look, clicker games have one inherent problem – they often do not feature any reason to tap the screen other than a higher score. Tiny Rails is not like that. Tiny Titan Studios have included enough “game” stuff to make Tiny Rails interesting and engrossing at times.
I do want to thank them for not going overboard with the In-App Purchases. I do plan on making a purchase of one of those exclusive deals when I see one I really like. That is something I hardly do with mobile games – such as Major Mayhem 2 which beats you over the head every chance to buy something.
Tiny Rails by Tiny Titan Studios
Platform: Android (Ascend XT2 used for review) and iPhone
Genre: Clicker, simulation
In-App Purchases: Yes, non-intrusive
Rated: E for Everyone on Google Play and 4+ on iTunes
Available now on Google Play and on the iTunes App Store