First we managed a skyscraper in Tiny Tower. Then we tried our hand at air traffic control in Pocket Planes. Now NimbleBit is turning us into train magnates with their newest simulation game, Pocket Trains!
Gameplay is easy to pick up, especially for fans of Pocket Planes. You start with a few engines, cars, and cities, and build your empire bit by bit as you earn coins and make deliveries. There are extra challenges and special cargo that help you advance as well. In Pocket Trains each bit of track is "owned" by a single railroad, and it costs coins to claim tracks or change who owns it. This means you'll be dropping cars off a lot so you can get that hayride car from Minsk to Rome, and it means you get to create a brightly colored map of train routes just as gorgeous as the ones in every subway station. You also have to refuel your trains, which happens automatically as they idle in the stations.
As usual with NimbleBit's games, Pocket Planes' strength is in how well it scales. Prices increase at roughly the same rate as your income and you only see train parts that are appropriate for your level, meaning that it's nearly impossible to encounter a bottleneck where you need that new, shiny engine but it would take two weeks to earn the coins for it. You can speed things up in a variety of ways by buying Bux, but there are so many ways to earn Bux that there's no reason to spend real-life money for them if you don't want to. "Balance" would be the name of the game, if the game weren't already called Pocket Trains. There are a few features (Bitbook, social elements like Pocket Planes' flight crews) that don't exist in Pocket Trains (yet) but the game is so polished and shiny and funny that it's hard to even miss them.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a train to catch, just as soon as I'm done deciding what cargo goes in it.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the LG Optimus L9. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.