Train Station Renovation is such a relaxing, entertaining experience it almost made me want to clean up my local station.
I say “nearly” because the worse thing you have to deal with in Train Station Renovation is discarded rubbish. I suspect that if you ran a blacklight over some of the UK’s seedier stations you’d have more to clean up. But in the virtual world of Train Station Renovation, even something as simple as wiping away a piece of graffiti will give you a grin.
Admittedly, Train Station Renovation isn’t the prettiest game out there, and it has some rough edges. You carry rubbish bags and other debris by levitating them between your hands, like you’re some X-Men Z-lister. This, in turn, makes it easier for objects to get yanked out of your grasp when you’re navigating through a doorway.
I was also disappointed that, during my time with the game I never saw trains zoom past; granted, these were supposed to be abandoned stations, but I’d have liked to see at least some through traffic. It’d certainly have helped sell the illusion that these were actual railway stations and not just static sets.
But those gripes are eclipsed by just how relaxing Train Station Renovation is and how committed you’re likely to become to fixing up each of the stations. You start small with a tiny countryside station but move onto city stations, resorts and more. You can technically whiz through the stations once some specific tasks have been completed, but you’ll balk at the notion of cutting corners.
You’re responsible for everything from ordering skips and cleaning broken-down trains through to buying the furniture for the stations you renovate. You might think micro-managing everything, with no help whatsoever, would become tedious, but it never does. I spent a good five minutes dwelling on where I should put the skips so I could make shorter trips each bag of rubbish or chunk of debris.
It sounds like work, but each trip into Train Station Renovation feels like some drawn-out meditation; you’ll be utterly focused on your task, to the exclusion of all else. You’re not spending experience points to acquire a skill that may or may not help you murder the boss quicker; instead, each micro-task you undertake has an immediate, visible benefit.
In some cases, the tasks can be quite cathartic – smashing debris up with an axe never really gets old. Powerwashing is also engrossing, though I’m afraid it’ll act as a gateway to PowerWash Simulator. Even though you know that the train station’s not actually going to get used, unless someone mashes Train Station Renovation together with Train Simulator, you step away from it feeling oddly fulfilled.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Train Station Renovation is just for railheads. Give it a chance and it’ll be the most fun you’ve had cleaning up someone else’s mess.
Train Station Renovation Review: GameSpew’s Score