Railway Empire Switch Review
Railway Empire, originally released on PC, XB1 and PS4 in 2018, is a simulator and economic management game by German developer Gaming Minds Studios which allows you to build a railway tycoon from the ground up. While there have been many issues with larger simulator games porting from current-gen consoles and PC over to the Nintendo Switch, a few have managed to do so quite successfully. Will Railway Empire join the sparse ranks of successful ports or will it be yet another game that has to sacrifice too much, and in the wrong places, to make the transition? Let’s take a look!
Railway Empire begins with a somewhat overwhelming tutorial, that both impresses the importance of the information it is giving you while simultaneously offering complex controls that you demonstrate knowledge of very briefly before being thrown into your responsibility to grow your empire.
It is quite evident that when making the port to the Nintendo Switch, a few compromises had to be made on overall graphic quality. It is not to the detriment to the game, but fans of the PC or XB1/PS4 version will be sure to notice a drop-off. Honestly though, when thinking about the areas I would most prefer games to take a hit when making a Switch version of their game, graphics is the obvious choice for many reasons.
Keeping as much of the gameplay the same is integral to any port, while also making any required adjustments to controls or QOL features that are specific to the platform in question. Dropping down the graphics does not take away from the actual game itself, simply the skin-deep looks, as it were. Kudos to the developer for making the right adjustments in the right places for this Switch port.
But I digress – back to our Railway Empire! Your main goal is to create railways that link towns to each other as well as the farms and other resources nearby. This allows people to use your trains to travel between towns and for resources to be provided to those towns as well. This system is quite simple to start, as you will only be linking a couple locations together. That, combined with the low budget and relatively few options for train engines and pathways, allows for a low-stress easing into the game.
The challenge quickly ramps up however, as you begin competing with the AI-controlled opponents that are also vying to create the ultimate railway empire. Add that pressure to expand with your budget management, the train engine research tree and the need to repair/replace your trains and you will start to realize just how much strategy is involved in this wonderful simulator.
For those looking for a more relaxed experience – don’t give up just yet! Many aspects of the game’s difficulty can be individually adjusted, providing ample opportunities for you to start out with an advantage over your opponents, giving you more time to build your empire without being pushed out.
The one downside to Railway Empire on the Nintendo Switch is how confusing and non-intuitive the controls can be. At the beginning, when connecting your first two cities, you may come across a few issues with needing to both confirm your track path and then hitting a second button to actually build it. You may also have some difficulties in having the track place in the manner you would like – often I have had to split my simple tracks into sections to avoid unwanted curves or other costly inefficiencies, as your budget must always be in your mind!
At the end of the day, Railway Empire’s port to the Switch is a very engaging and entertaining train simulator game that will appeal to sim fans and train fans alike. Although the graphics are subdued in the Switch version, the main complaint is with the non-intuitive controls and how they can add some irritation to an otherwise enjoyable experience, especially if you have put the game down for a few days. This is no reason to avoid the game, however, as it more than makes up for this sole shortcoming with customizable and engaging experiences!
For more information, visit: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/railway-empire-nintendo-switch-edition-switch/