Railway Empire is a tycoon simulation strategy game originally released on the PC, PS4 and XBO in 2018. Since then, players enjoyed several major DLCs for the game, taking them to different parts of the world.
Fortunately, the Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition includes three of the DLCs with the base game, which are The Great Lakes, Mexico, and Crossing the Andes. Yet, is this tycoon strategy game worth the hefty price, even with all the content? Let’s take a look in this detailed game review.
|Platform reviewed:||Nintendo Switch|
|Release date:||19 June 2020|
|Price:||£35.99 / $39.99 / R659|
|File size||5.6 GB|
|Developer:||Gaming Minds Studios|
|Publisher:||Kalypso Media Group|
Railway Empire Story
The first element that really leaves a good impression is the depth of the story in Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition. You’re taken back to the 1800s, working your way through railway evolution in each chapter. Even during the gameplay, there are story events that unfold with specific tasks that you need to achieve.
The first chapter is an introduction to primary game aspects of sorts. It’s woven so well into the story, you may not realise that it’s a tutorial at first. Furthermore, Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition has a great way of making you feel like you’re part of the history of railway development in the United States.
As you progress through each chapter, the tycoon simulation game adds more story aspects. For instance, competitors arise to steal your clients. The more shares they buy in your company, the more chance there is that they can completely take it away from you. Yet, you can do the same to them, conquering the railway empire.
Once you’re done with the base game, there are three more DLCs to enjoy. Each of them have their own story elements in their specific countries. It unlocks new types of trains specific to those countries with new objectives. If anything, the story is what drives the excellence of Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition.
Playing Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition
The first concern was how well the simulation game would play on the Nintendo Switch. On the PC, you can click and scroll to zoom in. Does the handheld console play Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition well enough?
Surprisingly, yes. What makes navigation effortless is the function wheel that pops up at the hold of a button. You can then select the option for what you need, such as buying a new train or creating a new track.
However, it does have some small flaws. There are times you’ll need to call up the function wheel more than once for the same command, as clicking on a function sometimes doesn’t work the first time. Yet, the developer could have designed it as a safety feature, to make sure you selected the correct option.
The tutorial only shows you once at the beginning how to play the game. It may take some time for you to get used to the buttons and commands, but by the end of the first chapter you’ll be a master. However, step away from the game for too long and you may forget what you’ve learnt.
Luckily, you can enable tutorial tips in the settings. Furthermore, small little help bubbles appear in select areas of the map in case you need a refresher. I find that this was really helpful for a first time player of Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition.
Another frustrating element was the track creation. You have to zoom right in at connection points to get it right. However, even when selecting the link to continue expanding a track, it sometimes jumps at the last moment and the track starts away from where you had planned.
It’s easy to select which portions of a track you want to delete, though. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll stop making small mistakes that wastes time.
Supply and demand
In a way, the gameplay almost feels like the Civilisation games, with the primary focus on trains. Each town has its own needs if you want them to grow. The more you supply those demands, the more money you’ll make.
You’ll need all the money you can get to expand your railway empire. When cities grow, they unlock the ability to build a new factory. These factories convert raw materials. For instance:
- Livestock becomes beef and leather;
- Wheat becomes beer;
- Cotton becomes fabric;
- Fabric becomes clothing.
At first, you won’t grasp the value of building these factories. As the tycoon game progresses, you’ll soon find that cities are looking for these products. The only way you can supply them is by building a factory in a city and then transporting the end products to the towns that need them.
This feature is where you require the best strategy. Your ultimate goal per city is to grow them to level five. Moreover, the only way you can do this is by looking at each city’s demand and making sure you have a train that transports those goods from an urban farm or settlement.
Another fascinating part of the gameplay is the research in the Railway Empire Nintendo Switch Edition. There are improvements and new trains to unlock. However, you are bound by the timeline of the mission.
What we loved about the research aspect is that it requires research points to unlock each item. It saves your bank from using money to unlock it. Moreover, the more you use your trains, the more points you receive to unlock further goodies.
So you’ve spent weeks playing the base game, and then several more weeks for the DLCs. Is that the end of your railway empire? Are you doomed to cry in misery that your favourite game is over?
Not at all. Kalypso and Gaming Minds Studios have done a great job ensuring that you spend as much time as possible in this tycoon simulation game. There are numerous other modes to try out, such as:
- Scenarios: special story-based missions that aren’t part of the main campaign;
- Free mode: build your massive empire with no financial restrictions;
- Sandbox mode: build your network as you wish, with tasks and objectives for each region.
The only element missions is online multiplayer, where you can compete with other players online for global domination. Sort of like Risk, but with trains instead of armies.
How Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition looks
Although the graphics may look really cartoonish at times, there is quite a lot of detail in this game. Sure, you need to zoom right in to see it, but when you do, you’ll see how much work went into designing every element.
The icons are bright and colourful, which helps in drab environments. Each train has its own design. Additionally, there are different track features, such as bridges over different land elevations and tunnels through hills or mountains.
The problem with zooming in too much is that the graphical details reduces in quality. The images go a bit grainy and doesn’t look as excellent as you first thought. However, we’re still impressed with how much design went into each of the elements.
The most outstanding feature is the ‘Ride Along’ function. You can select a train and ride on the main part of the train. Furthermore, you can look around at the countryside. When you ride through tunnels and over bridges, the view is spectacular.
How it sounds
The sound is another element where Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition excels. There is voice over acting, not only for the story narrative, but also for each in-game competitor. You can hear the emotion when you beat them and they get upset at you.
Trains go chooka-puffa and toot-toot! There is also some pleasant music in the background so that you don’t fall asleep waiting for the money to rise. All in all, the sound is a rather pleasant experience.
Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition – Final Verdict
You may have fainted when you saw the price of the game at the beginning of this review. However, with such amazing content and three massive DLCs, Railroad Empire Nintendo Switch Edition is worth buying.
Yes, there are some gameplay elements that become frustrating, but overall it’s a solid game that delivers. Of course, those gamers that abhor strategy and tycoon games probably won’t enjoy it. For everyone else, this game is a truly enjoyable experience. I think even Sheldon Cooper would get a Big Bang out of it. (Forgive me, I had to).
Other Reviews and Guides
If you liked this game review, here are some more for you to enjoy.
Railway Empire plays amazingly well on the Nintendo Switch. It has a detailed story for the base game and DLCs. The graphics are good until you zoom all the way in, while some functions could work better. Overall, it's a great game for any tycoon simulation gamer.