Trainyard for iPhone/Touch Review

iPhone Apps

We are all feeling the financial pinch!    Blue Plate Special is a weekly review of bargain apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing over $.99.

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Yes, I am a sucker for puzzle games on my IOS devices and love to find new games that fit the Blue Plate Special price.  Trainyard is currently on sale for $.99 so jump on this one quickly.  It is always interesting to see the many ways developers can create a puzzler.  I have a soft spot in my heart as a train lover for this one.  My dad loves to watch trains and we both used to have extensive model train setups.  Of course, mine was before I had two little boys who can tear something like that up.  This is one of those games that is easy to learn yet difficult to master.  Lets take a look.

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Basically, the game involves stations where trains start and stations where they end.  You must successfully guide each colored train to the designated end station.  To lay down the tracks, simply drag a finger and it will draw wherever you desire.  This sounds simple enough, but as the game progresses, much care and planning will be crucial in order to safely guide all of the trains across the board.  This is really the entire game play.  The beauty of the game comes from the difficulty of solving the puzzles.

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The early levels act as a tutorial for the game, slowly increasing in difficulty and adding skills that will be required in later levels.  One important skill you will learn is creating switches.  These are used in tight spaces or when rocks are in the road and need to be bypassed.  To create a switch, simply draw the track through the existing and turn where you would like it to go.  The track that is continuous is the track the next train will follow.  For example, the above picture will utilize the left hand curve when the next train comes through.  A double tap will change which track is active.  This will be crucial to make sure the correct colored train heads down the right track.  Once a train passes a switch, the track will change to the alternate direction.

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Once all of the tracks are in place, it is time to send the trains.  Tap the button “Start The Trains!” and off they will go.  The speed button at the bottom is a slider and will change the speed of the trains.  This will be of no strategical value, but can help make a level go by faster when multiple trains are moving.  Tapping the “Erase” button will make each new tap take a piece of track away.  This comes in handy in later levels where extensive tracks are laid.  Each square in the grid will only allow two tracks to be brought through.  If there is a mistake made, simply fix it by drawing what you intended and the first one will disappear after the second track is drawn.  Take your time in each level since there is no points or time limits.  Success means delivering the trains to the correct depot.

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Trainyard is a totally addicting and enjoyable puzzle game.  One reason I like this type of game is that I can open the app and play a level while I’m standing in line or have a spare minute and always come back later to continue.  The levels in this game are creative and increasingly difficult.  The added difficulty keeps the game fun and fresh.  As I said earlier, the game is on sale for $.99 right now here in the app store.  Give it a look!


What I like: Addicting and challenging game play.  I like how the switches come into play for the levels.

What could be improved: I would like to see some added animations or fancier graphics used.

About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of kool-aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.

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