The Train episode 02 in Review – Murder on the future express

These days, one would find it hard to come across an idea that hasn’t previously been covered in some fashion or an other in a well-known movie, TV series or plain old book. But still the powers of imagination are limitless and a small indie team has managed to create a whole new original universe in the The Train episode 01 (TMA Review), one that you can continue to explore in The Train episode 02….if you dare.

The Train episode 02 mimics closely the gameplay of the original in attempt to look like a full-scale adventure. Left hanging with a sudden and illogical cliffhanger from episode 01, this time the developers offer a chance to dive deeper into the life of the dreaded Great Emperor. The game opens with a view of the Emperor’s office, where he reveals the reason for the hunt for the mysterious girl who helped us in the first game and reminisces about how it all started…

It seems that little less than a few weeks have passed since the release of Train episode 1. The gameplay is mostly the same this time around and it’s skewed more to the side of minigame puzzle-solving, with roughly half-a-dozen items across all of it. Unfortunately the overall length of the game won’t let you get much enjoyment out of them with roughly half-an-hour or even less of pure gameplay being available, plus the wandering around trying to understand what the hell you’re supposed to do.

And I’m not joking about the last bit – I’ve spent literally hours trying to find a way to proceed having explored all available areas more than a dozen times. Making full use of the hotspot highlighting (thank goodness at least it is present) I literally tapped on everything and everyone before turning to the developer for assistance…only to find out I was supposed to play with the headphones on to find an obscure clue on how to proceed (Sorry, no spoilers here).

One good thing about The Train episode 02 is the graphics; it’s updated to make full use of the iPhone 4’s Retina display and they look great. The technical part of the game is still not so good however. Sticking with the Gamesalad engine, it takes literally up to 30 seconds to load when transitioning between areas every 4-5 screens or less. Furthermore you’ll immediately find yourself smack right into a bug with the dialog popup not disappearing if you tap too often, requiring you to change the area blind or even restart the game overall. At least the horrible joystick panning is gone and the savegames are a bit more straightforward.

However much I wanted to see The Train episode 02 learn from the mistakes of the original, I can’t. Of course some things have changed for the better, with the worst of the interface pains removed. Unfortunately the horrible performance of the Gamesalad engine on even the iPhone 4 (thanks to some of its inherent bugs) makes struggling through the game pure torture, albeit rather shortlived if you manage to overcome one single puzzle in the very beginning. Even for the most die-hard adventure game fans I would advise to steer clear from The Train episode 02, at least until the engine performance and bugs are worked out.

With this I declare The Train episode 02 officially touched!

Slap Rating - 2/5

App Summary
Title: The Train episode 02Developer: The Moonwalls
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$2.99App Size:385.94MB
  • Nice graphics
  • Interesting story
  • Decent minigame puzzles
  • Only 15-30 minutes of pure gameplay
  • Horrendous loading times even on an iPhone 4
  • Frustrating dialogue bugs
  • One very very obscure and puggy puzzle

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