2020 has been quite the tumultuous year. So I think now’s a better time than ever to release a game like Tracks – Toybox Edition on Nintendo Switch. Charming, soothing and dream-like, Tracks will help you slip into a much more serene frame of mind as you build a virtual train set however your imagination sees it.
If you’re anything like me, then model trains were the ultimate toy back when you were a kid. I still have my models sitting on a shelf in my room. Thus, playing Tracks has transported me to a time where I’d spend hours building the set and having imaginary train journeys: especially with Thomas the Tank Engine playing in the background.
With Tracks – Toybox Edition, you will be at the helm of a small, simple wooden model train with the ultimate toy box at your disposal. The track-building mechanics are extremely simple and easy to understand: simply press A to place the track and move the stick either left or right to create a bend. Junctions and switches are added automatically when you intersect a new track piece with an existing piece, so creating a sprawling network of intersecting tracks is extremely easy. On top of that, these tracks straight-up defy gravity as they can be suspended in thin air with no concern for physics. So, want to build a track from the floor to the ceiling? Have at it!
The ultimate toy box
In addition to building the track sets, you can also add various scenery objects to populate the environment however you see fit. Buildings, flora, fauna, people, vehicles, and more are all present to decorate your virtual world. While you can construct all of this in a blank void, there are also three 3D worlds: an apartment, a bedroom, and the Moon. The Moon is its own thing, but as for the other two interior rooms, it’s pretty cool to construct your set across a life-like room. Beds, closets, and tables become like tall mountains and hills, offering a neat perspective as you chug along up and down the virtual room. The Moon environment is a little special since it’s unique and even switches the train model from wood to a special lunar rover-themed design.
Beyond building your toy towns and landscapes in Tracks – Toybox Edition, you can also make passenger runs in certain environments. Passengers will randomly generate in different parts of the room, and it’s your job to build a route from their position to the main station. There are also special business passengers who want to be transported to the specific business station within a certain time period. Even though the clock would run out by the time I would build the train and shuttle them over, I never got a penalty for it. Regardless, it’s a pretty neat feature to have that adds more purpose to the Tracks experience.
My one real gripe with Tracks – Toybox Edition would have to be the camera when building. This game originally came out a few years back on PC, and that’s where I initially played it. Building with a mouse and keyboard is great, but with a controller, it was just a tad wonky as I would often misjudge the height and position of the object I was placing. But it’s nothing to really complain much about.
Speaking of the PC version, Tracks on Switch retains a lot of the visual fidelity. Textures are nice and crisp, effects are great, and the lighting is terrific. The frame rate sits comfortably at 30 FPS, and the game looks and plays well be it in handheld or docked mode.
Tracks – Toybox Edition is just the type of game to sit down and have a hot drink with and let yourself go for a while. It’s like reading an easy book — just enough to capture your mind, but it makes you feel good and distracts you from everything else going on. Whether you’re older with fond memories of toy trains or intend to pick this up for a new, young player to have a virtual toy, Tracks is worth it just for its feel-good nature alone.
A review code was provided by the publisher.