There’s something odd about turning to games to effectively get a slice of working life. It’s a cheap way to get an idea of jobs you’d never really turn to but I do wonder what the appeal of the mundane is. Train Station Renovation has just pulled in from Live Motion Games offers exactly what the title implies. A lot of cleaning, repairing and painting awaits as you spruce up over a dozen stations of varying size.
There’s not much else to it. Across a fictional country map, you’ll be renovating a number of stations across the country. These start with smaller jobs and increase in scale. There’s nothing tricky about improving the locations but a decent tutorial is on hand to show you the ropes. From a first-person perspective, you have plenty of jobs to get on with and several tools to help you do it.
The most basic of these is picking litter from station platforms and replacing broken furniture. You can pick most litter up with your bare hands but larger items and bagged litter needs bins to store them. There’s spaces on the map where you can place skips or recycling bins. Whilst the latter is for more specific litter, the skips seem more suitable for mixed litter. There’s no real incentive for recycling so I just found myself using the big metal dumpsters to get the job done. These receptacles can be emptied for a nominal cost and your budget seems fairly sizeable.
Aside from litter-picking, you have sponges to remove graffiti, brooms to banish cobwebs and sandpaper to grind away rusted rails. There’s a lot of tasks to get on with and, much like real life, you can concentrate on one or just take whatever takes your attention. You’re not under any time pressures and there can be something therapeutic about cleaning up a neglected dump.
Train Station Renovation does feel very relaxed. Each level comes with some named tasks that are to be taken care of. Some of them involve pumping water from flooded underpasses, locating lost keys for offices and fixing train cars. There’s variety to it and it does help alleviate the repetitive nature of cleaning up.
The final part of the process is replacing furniture and station amenities. This is where most of your money goes as you place benches, toilets and signage around the location. You order these through your tablet and there’s plenty of items to choose from. Placing the objects feels very tactile and does allow you to personalise a location. Each area gives you a checklist of what each platform needs and it’s not often you’re at a loss for stuff to do.
You can also ping the environment and anything that needs your attention highlights in red. It can be really helpful in the more darker environments and really assists you in keeping track. Your jobs are rated in stars and you can complete a job at 50% completion. I’m all for anything that rewards you for a half-arsed job. Given how time-consuming these levels can become, it’s welcome to just clock out with the bare minimum.
Not that there aren’t incentives for better results. You have a tool shed that gets updated with more effective weaponry against grime. Jet washers and grinding saws can speed up the more laborious tasks. Bonuses for better jobs do boost your bank balance as well. Admittedly, your budget is never going to feel stretched during the campaign. Even the more complicated items like screens and ticket machines don’t feel like massive expenses.
At times, it does feel like work. Cleaning up can feel like a chore but there’s some joy to be found seeing an area transformed by your efforts. These locations begin in an absolute state so it’s fulfilling to see pavement beneath your feet. It’s simple and repetitive but there’s some merit to it. I feel like the campaign is the right length not to outstay it’s welcome. Most levels are wrapped up well under an hour but more creative people might decide to work longer.
Presentation is fairly basic. The visuals aren’t anything to write home about and I’ve had some moments where invisible walls interfere with my character. Picking things up involves levitating objects between your hands which can result in some clumsy interactions with physics. It’s not polished by any stretch but the budget price reflects that. Your time spend tidying is accompanied by a very chill soundtrack that fits with the job at hand.
Train Station Renovation has a relaxed mood that permeates the whole product. It’s a job simulator with absolutely no pressure and that, in itself can be quite a sedate experience. Cleaning, fixing and transforming a downtrodden area can be satisfying. It’s not for everyone but I did manage to get some enjoyment out of the campaign. Sandbox mode is unlockable but, given how money isn’t usually a problem, it feels a little redundant.
+ A surprising amount of variation for a mundane job.
+ The campaign does take you to some interesting locales.
+ Simple to grasp and jump into.
- Sandbox mode feels a little redundant.
- Can be very time consuming.
- Moving objects can feel occasionally clumsy.