Less of a train simulation and more of a resource-management game, Incredible Express (iTunes Link) from Chillingo asks players to transport commodities, such as vegetables, food, and other resources, from point A to point B, all while avoiding obstacles and choosing the quickest path.
The game quickly becomes an exercise in spinning plates as players will have to make sure the track is clear, the correct track is selected, and the train has enough cars to transport the goods it picks up in its path. Because extra points are given for speed and efficiency, Incredible Express can quickly become a frenetic experience. But once players get accustomed to the tricks of the track, the game becomes an enjoyable and addictive experience.
In Incredible Express, you begin as the plucky owner of a small locomotive who’s looking to earn a reputation for quick and reliable service. The game walks you through the basics, teaching you how to lay down new tracks, pick the best route, change course, and deliver the goods on time. All of the actions are performed by tapping different spots on the train. Touch the switches to change course, the track lights to stop and reverse direction, tap on the cows to remove them from the path and tap their milk to load it up onto train cars.
Fortunately, the added real estate provided by the iPad’s screen helps to accommodate all this touching and tapping. The key to success, though, is planning ahead. It pays to look forward and plot your course as boosting your train forward at top speed, hoping to hit the right levers along the way can result in frantic tapping and missed opportunities.
As you progress through the game, the pace will pick up at a steady clip, as will the challenge. However, earning cash for your good work will give you the opportunity to upgrade your train, allowing you to carry more payload and more.
The one critique for Incredible Express is that it seems to run a bit sluggish on the original iPad. Menu selections can lag for a few seconds and levels take a bit of time to load. I wasn’t able to test the game on iPad 2, but I would guess that the increased power of that machine would certainly benefit the game.
Bottom Line: Incredible Express is a fun game that emphasizes resource and time management rather than train simulation.
Incredible Express is compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.