Railroad Corporation by Corbie Games
Railroad Corporation is a simulation and management game based in 19th century North America. The game sets the challenge of establishing trade between disparate settlements across randomly generated maps. With systems for researching new technologies, lobbying for resources and for creating new structures, Railroad Corporation strives to offer a detailed simulation experience.
I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
My first thoughts on Railroad Corporation regarded its aesthetic; the earthy color palette and acoustic soundtrack coupled with the imagery and sounds of classic steam trains to immediately conjure a nostalgic feel.
Moving onto starting a new career mode game, the first decision presented is a choice of character portrait and company. Both are largely cosmetic choices, with the latter providing one of three boons, each relatively equivalent to the next.
The game provides a tutorial that underscores the basics but for the most part Railroad’s systems are easy to get to grips with. Each town produces certain resources, and railroads can be set up between them to create viable trade routes for moving these resources around in return for cash flow. Passengers can of course also be transported for additional funds.
My first disappointment came from the way tracks simply bend and snap into place between source and destination. I would have preferred more direct control over the placement of railways and the ability to tweak on a far more precise level. Nonetheless, Railroad Corporation’s choices do make things simple and easy to get to grips with, so to every cloud a silver lining, I suppose.
A research tree adds additional upgrade potential, increasing the speed and other features available to your locomotives. It is also possible to purchase larger trains to augment your selection with greater carrying capacity and other broad-ranging advances.
Off the Rails
The career mode provides an ongoing challenge where bankruptcy must be avoided at all costs. An overdraft is provided as a buffer and the task in each mission is to establish a solid economy, widen influence and develop new technologies. Objectives are provided within each mission as a kind of guiding hand, and an optional time limit is available to add an extra layer of difficulty.
All of this helps to solidify the experience but I can’t help but feel that there is a missing layer of depth and customization here; more options to develop different kinds of stations accepting various tracks, for example, would be great.
Train Kept A-Rollin’
Railroad Corporation does succeed in creating an atmosphere appropriate to its setting. The aforementioned aesthetics are more than adequate; trains, landscapes and towns are all rendered with a certain charm.
The music reinforces this with a quaintness that helps to make the game endearing. Unfortunately, the game itself feels only just deep enough and never vast or truly absorbing.
I think Railroad Corporation has a lot to offer; the career mode has considerable potential and there’s even a multi-player offering where aspirant train managers can go up against each other to race to a target income goal (although I have to say, I don’t feel that this is where this genre’s strength lies).
I would like to see more options added to earn the title of simulation, but Railroad Corporation is certainly one to watch for fans of steam trains and management games.
Railroad Corporation is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for Railroad Corporation below