Choo choo! We love trains here at Eurogamer, which is why we're jumping on the tracks with excitement about a new holiday scenario for Sid Meier's Railroads!
Or Railroad Tycoon 4, as it's definitely not going to be called. Yes, it's that train network management time again, complete with industrious-sounding theme music and lots of options to click as you watch your virtual wallet grow satisfyingly fat, or despairingly thin. The huffing steam engines and whirring diesels are almost inconsequential to the overall puzzle-tweak-challenge of connecting supply with demand and making the world go round. It's management at its most genial: connect A with B in the most efficient manner possible and personal satisfaction arrives in droves. Or at least that's the idea.
Meier's latest platform game is sort of unremarkably entrancing. We expected it to be enjoyable, if simply because the Railroad games are some of the best-crafted management games in the world, but we could have done with something a little more muscular. As the game unfolds it feels entirely intuitive, with everything in its place (even if the interface is a bit too dinky). The friendlier, cuter approach we had been previewed previously makes this an altogether more playful experience than other Tycoon games and those folks who spent hours nuzzling the stats pages of Railroad Tycoon 3 will likely find this more like a rummage around the toy box than a serious outing to the land of computerised Hornby.
Firaxis has released a playable demo of one of this week's top releases, Sid Meier's Railroads!, giving you the chance to work through a tutorial and then play around in a smallish map that starts off in the town of Towson.
Ever wondered how Railroads! came about? Well, Eurogamer TV is hosting a video today delving into just that, with commentary from the likes of Sid Meier, executive producer Barry Caudill and lead artist Greg Foertsch - even including some amusing footage of the very first prototype, for which Meier learnt how to use 3D Studio Max so he could do the artwork without bothering anyone.
The creator of Civilization, and granddaddy of prefixing game titles with the lead designer's name, then suffixing it with inexplicable exclamation marks, has won back a lost child. The Railroad Tycoon series departed from the station and ran off with another developer after his company, Firaxis, fathered the first one in 1990. Now though, it's come back to Papa, and is retitled as Sid Meier's Railroads! On the eve-ish of its release, Eurogamer chatted with one of videogaming's oldest and most respected luminaries about trains, hats and Stairway to Heaven.
Sid Meier is at it again - this time with a new PC game that will allow you to build your very own rail network, laying tracks, deciding routes and even designing trains.