App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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My initial impression of Train Crisis HD+ was that is was a decent, if simple, reactionary puzzle game. But that's only how it starts. After a few levels are put to rest, things start to get a bit more complex. And once that new time period opens up it turns out to be kind of a little awesome.
The basics of Train Crisis HD+ are fairly, well, basic. By tapping on a given intersecting piece of train track, players can change the path a locomotive will take. The key goal of almost every level is to get each train to its matching station (i.e. red to red, blue to blue, etc). As expected things get tough fast and it won't be long before these lumbering behemoths are dancing circles around each other with mere virtual centimeters separating them from each other. And that's still only covering the basics.
It's these added complexities, in addition to the promise of at least two more groups of levels yet to come, that make Train Crisis HD+ something special. Signals can be used to hold up a specific train for up to five crucial seconds. Tracks will wind through hidden tunnels, requiring some luck (or a little trial-and-error) to plan a safe route. Some tracks will be blocked by rubble and require dynamite to clear, but a limited amount of TNT means that players will have to really scrutinize the layout in order to find the best way through. And still there's more. Ghost trains that never stop moving, banks that supply cash needed to complete specific levels, and so on. There's always something new or an insane mix of the recently-learned and familiar to keep things feeling fresh.
It's unfortunate that there's very little reason to return to previously completed stages, though. Sure there are three stars to earn for each, and they can be gathered in order to unlock even more levels, but the ranking system makes little to no sense. Losing a single train means failure, but in most cases any form of success means three stars. Then again, I thought I did quite well on a few levels but ended up with two (or even one!) stars for now discernible reason. A little guidance would go a long way, I think.
Even though I worry about Train Crisis HD+'s longevity, what's already there is certainly worth it. I can't get over just how much more interesting everything became once a few of those new elements were introduced. And to think, there's potentially at least twice as much game looming on the horizon!