Train Sets Come to Facebook with TrainSetGo

Customizable virtual spaces are always a popular number with people. There is something to be said about having the ability to build something in the way you see fit. However, a new app by the name of TrainSetGo takes this prospect and combines it with one of the most classic of hobbies: Train sets.

Train sets have always had an allure to them. Whether they catch your attention at a fancy hotel or amusement park, or you spend hours yourself, placing tracks and building models in order to create your own little world. Unfortunately, quality train sets are a bit pricy, and for the good ones, very space consuming. But not on Facebook.

This is the concept behind TrainSetGo. Users begin with a simple starter track and watch a 3D train go round and round a digital living room. Okay, granted this isn’t too much fun yet, but as it travels it stops at the train station to pick up random Facebook friends. Then, players earn tokens when it passes landmarks such as castles, cottages, or the post office. These are called “attractions” and the bigger the attraction, the more tokens are earned.

This is where the entertainment value comes in to play as this currency is then used to purchase more track, more decorations, and more attractions. It’s all very simple to work with (though the editing screen is rather busy looking with about 9000 grid lines) and can even be done in real time. Furthermore, players are also able to edit their train as well, adding cars, changing engines, and even getting a nice social car that cycles through random Facebook pictures (though it is a bit blurry).

As with most social games, nowadays, TrainSetGo also makes use of a purchasable virtual currency beyond the tokens – TrainStock. From what we’ve seen, no items are restricted so that they can only be bought with this currency; rather, items just cost significantly less with TrainStock than the in-game tokens.

Of course, there was one highly obnoxious issue in all of this customization. With each level gained from traveling about your virtual village, you learned about a new feature. First was shopping, then the train cars. Now, this style of tutorial isn’t an entirely bad thing, but the designers don’t even show the editing or shopping buttons until those levels are earned. While their heart was in the right place regarding new user experiences, new users might be left wondering if the game is even working right.

This nuance aside, the only other major complaint is visuals. Train sets are meant to be highly aesthetically pleasing, and while the concept TrainSetGo is pretty cool — even using the Unity Game Engine to provide the 3D interface — the artwork is very drab and sophomoric. At the start of the game you get to pick between a model or toy type train, but the model – which one would expect to be realistic looking – still looks very simple and blocky with relatively flat colors. As a virtual space type of game, having something look amazing is part of the goal, and more than anything a visual upgrade would be the best thing for this app.

In the end though, TrainSetGo is a very nice concept. There are many a user that would likely enjoy building something new for themselves to show off. Already we have seen people flock to customizing farms, restaurants, and aquariums, so why not trains too? Currently, TrainSetGo has about 4,500 monthly active users, which isn’t too shabby considering it’s only been tracked on AppData for seven days or so. With a little spit and polish, it could actually be something pretty cool.

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