Review: Railway Empire – Nintendo Switch Edition – Highly Addictive

Review Railway Empire

Developed by Gaming Minds Studios and published by KalypsoMediaGroup, Railway Empire is not a brand new title for the Nintendo Switch. It was previously released on other platforms and has been out since 2018. However, the title has just made its way to Nintendo Switch and it comes with its currently available DLC as well giving players a complete Railway Empire experience on the portable console. This is our review of the Nintendo Switch version of the Railway Empire in which we lay down some tracks and expand our railway network to every edge of the USA.

The very first thing you notice when you start Railway Empire is how easy the controls are on Nintendo Switch. Being an empire building game, you would normally expect to have a mouse for the best experience but surprisingly, using the two joysticks for moving the camera and the cursor around is really easy. The cursor is not moved alone since it is locked in the center and when you move around the camera, it also moves around the cursor which makes it much more manageable to play using the joysticks. During my very first time playing, I remember that it hardly took me 5 minutes to getting used to the controls of the game since they are very well made and do not feel clunky at all.

Review Railway Empire

Railway Empire comes four unique game modes for you to dive in. If you need a completely structured game with a narrative, you can dive into the main campaign of the game which takes you on the long journey of the evolution of the railway network in the USA and you travel through various important milestones in the country’s history. If you want to jump in some quick challenges, you can head over to the Scenarios mode where the developers have some scenarios all set and ready for you to tackle. You can change some minor settings of these scenarios before jumping in them. If you prefer playing without any narrative with your own custom parameters defining the game, you can try out the Free Mode. However, if you want to simply lay back, pass hours, and hours of time without worrying about your income or any sort of competition annoying you or forcing you to rush in the game, you can play the Sandbox Mode which is the ultimate Zen of railway empire building. There is no worry about earning money before expanding and it is just you and your imagination about where you want to expand. I’ve spent the most time in the sandbox mode trying out different things however the campaign mode is a great way to experience the evolution of the industry as well.

The gameplay is where Railway Empire shines the most. No matter which game mode you start, you will always begin with a single train station in the city that you chose to begin. After that, you are all set to further expand your railway lines to more cities as you build your train stations, lay down railway tracks, purchase and manage railway engines as well as the tracks. When you first start the game, depending on the city you choose, it will be pretty basic but as you continue to connect it to more and more cities and production facilities, it will continue to expand on its own and will soon start giving you resources of your own. You can then transport these resources to other cities and trade with other cities to earn profit and further expand your empire. The best way to start playing is the campaign mode of Railway Empire which not only introduces you to all of the basic mechanics of the game but also offers you some excellent scenarios to complete while living through some of the key events of world history including the Civil War in the US.

Apart from the basic infrastructure of railway lines, you also get to build and manage different complementary mechanics of having a railway business such as maintenance sheds, supply towers, cross paths, signals, and switches. All of these are vital for your railway network and these will ensure that your trains never cross paths with each other or break down in the middle of the tracks. Poorly maintained trains will often breakdown in the middle of the tracks leading to delayed shipment and goods and if you do not have any alternate routes on that particular track, these trains will delay other trains as well halting your major trade routes between cities. Apart from linking to other cities, there are numerous production facilities scattered around the maps which when connected to your railway network will allow you to use them for your own purposes. You can sell them and earn profits however sometimes you will also need to take over these production structures just to gain more ground than your competition. Competition plays an important role in the game as well.

Since you are not the only railway chief engineer in the country, you will often find competitors trying to take over the production facilities and cities expanding their own railway empires. You will need to duke it out with them and push them to bankruptcy while ensuring that you keep expanding your own empire. However, you do not always have to resort to good tactics to win over the competition as well as the game gives the freedom of using bandits and spies to get an edge over the competition. If you have money, you can purchase businesses yourself as well which will increase your profit yield from them. Building and expansion depend on the year you are playing in as well. While playing during older eras, you will have the older infrastructure but as you progress in the game and move towards newer eras, everything will improve however it will also pose a challenge to you because you will be required to upgrade your infrastructure along the way as well or you will start lagging behind your competition. This keeps ongoing and you can look forward to hours and hours of fun in the game as you try to expand your empire to the very last city in your region.

Review Railway Empire

As time passes in the game, you will be notified of major key happenings from around the country via newspaper updates. This creates a really experience and makes you feel like you are actually living in that time with the newspapers alerting you to different happenings such as civil unrest and people refusing to go to war and much more. These small things all combine to ensure that you have the most immersive empire expansion experience ever and seeing all this on Nintendo Switch makes it even better because Railway Empire is a pretty complex simulation game and we can experience it fully on Nintendo’s flagship device without any major frame drops or glitches. This is an exceptionally well port of the PS4 version of the game. During my entire playthrough, I did not notice any glitches or bugs but during the tutorial mode, I was once stuck on a particular mission and I had to restart the game because I could not trigger the next mission. Apart from this particular glitch, the game ran pretty well. There were a few frame drops when I was fully zoomed out with plenty of trains moving around the map and with a lot of activity on the map but since I was playing with the camera zoomed in mostly, it did not bother me as much because you cannot really manage your empire with the map fully zoomed out.

Final Verdict:

With Railway Empire finally released on the Nintendo Switch, you can literally build and expand your railway empire while riding an actual train. It brings an immense amount of content and play-time to your portable console. Although its lacks the visual fidelity of its PS4 counterpart, it brings every last bit of content including its DLCs to Nintendo Switch. I absolutely loved playing it on-the-go, digging back in my railway empire whether I was at home, in transit or while I was in my office. There is hours and hours of fun with complex city-building and expansion mechanics as you start from a single railway station and spread across different continents of the United States while crushing your rivals. With various gameplay modes, each offering either a relaxed playing mode or a challenging scenario for you to conquer, Railway Empire is an absolute pleasure-fest of a simulation game for Nintendo Switch. I will highly recommend that you give Railway Empire a shot on Nintendo Switch because it will offer you hours and hours of gameplay and peaceful empire expansion mechanics.

Final Score: 9.0/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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