STAFF REVIEW of Train Station Renovation (Xbox One)

Friday, June 25, 2021.
by Kirsten Naughton

Train Station Renovation Box art I've been a huge fan of renovation type games for a very long time. As a self proclaimed expert with many hours of experience in House Flipper, I felt quite confident and qualified to review Train Station Renovation. From what I'm accustomed to, this renovation project is a little more advanced, from the UI to the gameplay. Whether or not I am flipping over Train Station Renovation is the real burning question. The developers behind Train Station Renovation, Live Motion Games, have a variety of simulation titles for those who like the genre to enjoy, but I'm not going to lie, I've never heard of them until now, most likely due to this being their first game release on Xbox.

Train Station Renovation from the opening moments seems like a quiet and peaceful way to wind down after a long day of work. With the main objective of completing levels containing neglected train stations with garbage all over the area, graffiti on the walls and endless repairs needed, even a person who has never played a simulation or renovation game in their lives can figure it out. Whether you have the patience to deal with one glaring quirk, that's another matter. While I didn't find it that irritating, the quirk drove me a little crazy sometimes.

In the UI you have one main tool that you use to navigate your different tools and actions, your command wheel. Some of the tools you'll use are a crowbar, a sponge and the broom. Other than the hand function which lets you pick up garbage and full bags, I found you'll use the crowbar, sponge and broom the most. The crowbar pretty much does all the repairs you'll need to do, whether you're taking broken glass out of a window frame, replacing railroad tracks or dismantling broken furniture. Think of the crowbar as your multi-tool. The sponge removes graffiti and the broom sweeps the floor... go figure on that one.

I found the tools themselves to perform as they should, so there's no guesswork needed. The command wheel could have used some tuning up though, as it was often difficult to lock onto the tool you needed quickly. Perhaps a different button layout may have resolved that. All I know is that most of my time was spent trying to get the cursor to land on the exact tool I needed and stay there. The tutorial was enough to get a person going, but didn't "wow" me in its initial moments. Not that tutorials should impress you, but at the same time, player engagement felt like it was on the back burner. The instructions on the right hand of the screen also weren't always clear in that I could understand them quickly and proceed through the tutorial.

Even though the UI was a bit of a drag, Train Station Renovation's gameplay and level length made it shine and left me able to tolerate the UI issues. The gameplay is quite simple. It's your job to clean up the mess and achieve the goals set forth. These goals are usually get rid of all the garbage, clean all the graffiti on the walls and repair everything needs to be fixed. At the bottom, there is a main percentage of completion you need to track. All of your milestones for the level will be tracked through there. I found this to be not always helpful though.

On the top right, you'd see a little rectangle with “Ongoing Tasks”. Most of the time it would read 'Tasks Completed' while the bottom would tell you the level was 60% completed. Not a deal breaker, but for someone who takes pride in finishing a job from start to finish, I found this a little annoying. In my experience with another renovation game, the levels were lengthy, but not too lengthy that you become bored. Train Station Renovation's levels are quite a bit longer than I'm normally accustomed to from other games, but it was a welcome change, as I like working until I fully completed a level to 100%. I also like when I can pick up every single piece of garbage and repair everything in sight. I believe the longest a level was for me was just over an hour. I enjoyed that each level slightly changed whether it be the environment the train station was in or the station itself. It kept things fresh and interesting as I cleaned my way to perfection.

If you're wanting a renovation game with a vibrant and engaging musical background, do not expect anything here. It's very desolate and doesn't offer much for an engaging or memorable soundtrack. You can hear your tools at work and what seems to be like a very faint audio track in the background that doesn't seem to change throughout the course of Train Station Renovation. I can see their reasonings however, but it's also nice to have something to tap your foot to while you're picking up fifty or so pop cans and throwing bags of garbage in a trash can. I don't know many gamers that would find this enjoyable without at least some average tunes to keep them mentally busy, so prepare to put your own music on in the background.

Overall, Train Station Renovation didn't blow my mind nor did it exceed my predictions, it simply met my expectations at par. I enjoyed my time with Train Station Renovation but I have a feeling I won't be returning anytime soon to renovate again unfortunately. I think I'll just take the train home from here.

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.0 / 10
Sound: 3.0 / 10


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