You have travelled the galaxy to a far-off planet where you will oversee the administration of the extraction of the planet's resources for the company Nakatani Chemicals. Your job is to take over the colony and improve the current infrastructure of the planet, fueling the planet’s growth through the collection and transportation of the planet’s resources and becoming the envy of all the galaxy. You will do this through the creation of railways.  Railways were once the frontier back on Earth, and now again they are to be used in the final frontier as mankind spreads out across the galaxy in search of resources.

Railgrade is a resource management game where you play through campaigns in which you will have to complete objectives in order to finish the campaign mission. With each campaign mission you must figure out the best way to complete the mission through the creation of a rail network and distribution of resources to Industries, the Zeppelin Dock and City.

You will start the game with a tutorial which will take you over the basics. You will learn different aspects of the game during a few missions, after which you will have to put everything you have learned into practise as you complete each level within the campaign stages.

Each campaign mission will have you complete a set of objectives. Usually, you will have to collect and transport resources to industries so that you can then create new resources, such as copper wire (using copper), and steel (using coal and iron). These new resources will then need to be transported to their destination; this could be the Zeppelin Dock, where you can offload your freight and earn money towards the upkeep and growth of your rail network, allowing you to build and to complete your mission objectives.  The destination for your resources will depend on the mission parameters.

Not only will you have to deliver resources to industries, but you will also have to transport the required resources to the city. Producing energy and resources such as water, oil and other products will allow the city to grow.  A growing city will allow you to gain extra workers which you can then use in certain buildings such as the Oil Powerplant, allowing you to produce more resources for the city.

On the game area you can find reserves of resources scattered around. To make use of these reserves you must build on the reserve so that you can collect those resources. So, you’ll need an Oil Plant placed on an oil reserve, or a Water Plant on a reservoir. Once this is done then they will start to collect those resources. However, they can only store so many resources at one time; if you have spare pennies, upgrading the industry building will increase this level.

Now that you have some resources flowing, you must transport them to wherever they are needed. You do this by laying down a rail line between the resource building and the required building destination. As the land is not always flat you can raise and lower the tracks across difficult terrain; keeping your trains from having to climb as little as possible will keep them running much quicker. You can combat this by adding more than one train engine for extra power, which also helps when you are pulling multiple carriages. Place loading and drop-off points at the industries or in the city, ready for your trains to load and unload their freight.

You must select at least one engine for your train and then select which freight carriages you wish your train to pull. You can have multiple types of freight carriages and it can be a good thing to use your trains this way, depending on your track layout between industries.

I like the fact that you place your industries and lay your tracks down before the time limit (for rank) starts. The time will not start until you have placed your first train on the track, which is good because you get to place everything without being rushed. You can still build once the time has started, and most of the time you will have to keep building because you won’t have enough money to do everything beforehand. You can borrow from the bank to help you if you find your incoming’s a bit slow.

Each campaign is divided into a time zone and depending on the time it takes to complete each campaign you will gain a Rank (S, A, B or C) and you will also gain Vouchers. You will gain from one to five vouchers, depending on how slow or fast you complete each campaign mission. You will use these vouchers to unlock new industries; alternatively, you could unlock new music cassettes with the vouchers.

However, to receive an S Rank, I needed to complete the campaign within twenty minutes; I still got a rank, albeit the lowest C Rank, but I did learn somethings for the future campaigns. I don’t mind getting a good rank (wink wink) but if I do fail then it is fine for me as completing a mission is more important.

You can Edit Modifiers prior to starting a new campaign; depending on your choice of modifiers, your ranking may be affected. There are three modifiers, the first being No Ghosting, which disables train ghosting; trains will be blocked when they come face to face with each other, causing congestion within your rail network. The highest possible rank using this modifier is the S Rank.

The next modifier is No Timer; there is no pressure when playing with this modifier as there is no time limit for your campaigns.  Using the No Limit modifier will not allow you to gain the S Rank however; no matter how long it takes you to complete the campaign you will always gain an A Rank upon completion.

The final modifier is the Millionaire Mode; the rank limit in this mode is a B Rank, however, you will always have plenty of cash to build your rail networks and any cash you spend will be replenished, so you’ll never run out.

I played the game without any of the modifiers, but if you think carefully about things, you could get the top rank for each campaign, even if it takes a few tries.

When played well, the campaigns won’t take too long to complete; they are less complex than I first thought they were. One mission took me over 3 hours 30 minutes to complete because I was being too complex in my thinking and in the execution of my building.

The graphics are good, and the campaigns will provide you with enough challenges to keep you on your toes. I’ve enjoyed playing Railgrade, and while I’m not the fastest at completing the missions, I found time just disappeared. I would spend quite a bit of time creating my rail network only to make some mistakes and then rethink my strategy, but that’s the nature of the game.

I haven’t had any real problems playing the game; if I am to nitpick about anything I guess I would say that sometimes laying tracks down can be a bit awkward, but I found that laying track down in smaller sections would sort this problem out.

In the settings you will find options for Gameplay (Language - English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian), Industry Upgrade, Train Salvage and Industry Salvage Confirm Dialog, Gamepad Hints, Streamer Mode and Screen Edge Scrolling, Graphics (Screen Mode, Resolution, Dynamic Resolution, V-Sync, Max FPS, Anti-Aliasing Quality, Post-Processing Quality, Shadow, Texture, Effects and Terrain Quality, Audio (Master, Sound Effects, Ambient and Music Volume Controls), Accessibility (UI Scale and Daytime Only) and Keybinds (Keyboard controls which you can rebind to your own preference, and you are also able reset any key binds back to default).

Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com

RAILGRADE Steam Store Page 


+ Challenging but enjoyable game
+ Fifty plus campaigns
+ Game modifiers
+ Steam Deck verified
+ Has cards
+ Has achievements


- Laying tracks was at times a bit awkward

Review Summary

Take control of an off-world colony.  Mine, manage, create and transport resources as you complete campaigns and help grow the colony to become the envy of the galaxy, all using the old frontier technology of Earth... Railways.

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Zeepond Rating: 7/10