Railroad Corporation is the game developed by Corbie Games and published by Iceberg Interactive. The game, as the title would suggest, is about running a railroad company. Railroad Corporation has several game modes, such as the campaign, sandbox, and multiplayer. They released railroad Corporation into early access on May 27th of this year, and now the game has released out of Early Access, how does it fair?
So immediately when you go to start the first tutorial mission you are met with the customization option of a time limit. This is a feature that Corbie added during Early Access, since originally it forced you to cram and attempt to complete missions in the allotted time, and you felt pressured. To fix this, they added the ability to turn off time limits. So you can customize and do missions in whatever time you want.
The first thing I noticed was that the game had atmosphere because of the music. It puts you in the “Old-Timey” railroad baron mood. So the music in this game is a positive, but the counter to that is that the selection is limited. The gameplay I would similarly like to say is fun, if there was more time put into it. It doesn’t feel ready to leave Early Access. Why is this? Well, it’s because the user interface is bad. The core gameplay of the game is running a railroad company and connecting tracks, so the track laying should be very smooth. However, in reality, the act of laying tracks is far from it. When you lay a track, it attempts to form these odd curves and won’t straighten. Don’t get me wrong though, I understand that rails must curve out of each other and trains can’t make flat turns like cars can, however the track laying pathing it attempts to make is so odd that it is inexcusable and annoying. It doesn’t make it unplayable or anything as you can force it to cooperate with you, but considering they are releasing this out of Early Acess and as a full game you would expect it to work better than it does.
The other issue with the track laying is that there is only one type of track. A one-lane track that only a single train may use at a time. This means trains will have to just stop what they are doing and sit at a station doing nothing while a different train passes. This problem amplifies the fact that if you try to craft shortcuts or different routes, the train won’t use it as the pathing will only make it go down that one track, and you can’t manually change what track it uses as it is just stuck there. You can however put multiple one lane tracks, the issue with this is that the pathing does not like to use them, and it is expensive so not feasible early game.
The actual trains aren’t limited to just one total, as there are 11 trains in the game by my count. These trains have different stats and can be upgraded using R&D, and in the campaign mode, you must unlock each new train. The Research and Development tree is expansive, however, the tree is the same for each train with things such as “More Storage” or “Faster”.
The act of unlocking R&D and other things is also annoying because of a lack of a good tutorial or explanation of how. In the example of setting up an R&D department, it just says “Set up Research and Development” in your office. So you have to sift through everything and then find your office. This is a continuous problem and overall the UI does not make things clear enough, the same thing goes for repairing trains UI.
The poor UI translates to the rest of the game too, as I found it very hard to figure out which places want certain items, and which places want to get rid of certain items. Not that this information isn’t accessible though, you can hover over and look over each city to see it, its just that it is a hassle to go over each city when there are so many. The game has cool features though, for example, you can lobby laws to make things cheaper or more expensive.
The full release of the game includes a multiplayer version, admittedly I didn’t play this as I don’t know anyone else who owns the game, but the premise is to play until you get 500,000 dollars. So I can’t in good faith comment on this, however because of the UI and track issues I would say the same core gameplay issues I have would translate.