Rail Nation is a trade and railroad simulation that allows you to build up a railway empire by constructing railroads and establishing trading routes. When you start the game, you will first be asked to create and customize an avatar and choose a city in which you want to play, and then you can start your business by trading with the industries located around the city.
A very intelligible tutorial walks you through the basics and well informs you of what you can actually do in this game. From the bottom menu bar, you can switch between different interfaces. To name just a few, you will get a bird’s eye view of your city and all the industries that can be connected to it from the map interface. The train station interface is where you enter your head quarter, while from the vehicles interface, you can inspect all the trains you own, and buy engines and wagons to assemble new trains.
The core gameplay in Rail Nation is to keep your trains running to transport and deliver goods. To do this, you need to set up schedules for them. By clicking on the cities or industries, you will add them as stops in the schedule. The train will load and unload automatically at the stops. Once assigned to a schedule, a train will repeat a particular route back and forth to make profits continuously even after you log off.
With all the trains running and profits flowing in, you can enter the train station and start to upgrade the buildings. Some buildings in the train station, like restaurants and hotels will generate profits too, and by upgrading them you will receive more funds. Other buildings, on the other hand, will determine the overall strength of your railroad empire. The bank’s level restricts the upper limit of your account. The level of the engine house will decide the total amount of engines you can own, and the level of the track production will decide how many business routes you can own in your network. Through doing upgrading work in the train station, you can be in possession of more trains, and connect more trading routes to the network.
In order to increase the overall transportation capacity, you will be in need of more advanced engines, which will be more superior in aspects like tractive force, speed, reliability and acceleration. For different journeys, you have to prepare engines with different performances. You can research and upgrade engines with new technology. Alternatively, you may also purchase the next engine even if it has not yet been researched in exchange of gold.
Other than upgrading everything and keeping the train running, you also have to complete a series of tasks, which will get you rewarded with both money and prestige. The latter is the main criterion for victory in the game, and shall determine your ranking among players. The one with the highest prestige wins.
Gold is the currency in this game. It can be used to accelerate everything and purchase all kinds of fine stuff. You can get more gold through in-App purchase or from the very generous task rewards.
Social features in this online game include friend system and association system. You can join an association to make investments and get benefits as reward, and to interact with other association members. There are two in-game chat channels, through which you can either address to the world or have some private talk with a particular friend.
Rail Nation is an excellently made game. The interface is intelligible and thoughtful. The visual presentation is so marvelous that even someone who has no particular interest in steam trains will find them beautiful. On the other hand, the gameplay is deep and well designed, which gives players a really great business simulation experience.