(Reviewed on Xbox Series X by Games of DAYNE)
There’s something very satisfying and relaxing about being presented a train station in complete disarray and tasked with cleaning, repairing and restoring it. Train Station Renovation is exactly as described. From removing all litter, tearing down broken benches and clearing cob webs, there is no shortage of tasks to keep players busy as they attempt to restore the stations to newfound glory.
With an array of tools at your disposal, accessible via an inventory wheel, the job is simple. Renovate the train station. On top of the chores mentioned earlier there’s graffiti clean, broken walls to fix, floors to clean and so much more. Each tool has a specific purpose, for example, the sponge is used to wash graffiti, the crowbar is required to dismantle broken benches and windows and the broom to sweep or remove the cob webs from the corners of rooms. Understanding the tools and the types of cleaning tasks becomes second nature before long and the cleaning aspect of each train station, which act as level equivalents, becomes simple.
There are several different types of cleaning that is required and this carries over through each of the train stations. Repetition certainly sets in but the zen-like quality of the exercise keeps it from becoming overwhelming, especially with the relaxing score playing in the background. A scan function can be used at any time to highlight objects within the environment that need cleaned. Some can be somewhat obscured but there’s little need to actually use this feature if care is taken when exploring each station.
Restoring a broken station requires more than cleaning. An instantly accessible in-game digital store front is available that allows players to buy waiting benches, interior decorations, computers, chairs and outdoor accessories for instance. Money is earned by cleaning previous stations and accumulated with progression. It’s oddly satisfying getting to showcase your potentially hidden flare for interior design and restoring these stations in a manner that’s appealing to you, the player.
Aside from actually cleaning and restoring the train stations each one has a small but unique objective chain that can be as simple as restoring power or draining a flooded area. The instructions keep it simple and the tasks can be completed pretty quickly. It’s nice to have a little structure to each level but cleaning and placing new items comprise the bulk of the experience, more of those little objective chains would certainly have helped break it up a little more.
While renovating each station there are various visual indicators that represent different types of cleaning such as general rubbish, graffiti and debris. As the specific types of cleaning is carried out these gradually increase and contribute to an overall level completion bar that awards one to three stars. Each star awards more money when choosing to complete the level, which can only be done when at least one star has been attained, and new special tools.
The visuals are very basic and simplistic, a little rough around the edges both environmentally and in regards to the objects that inhabit the stations. The simplicity works with the basic gameplay elements however and fail to distract. A relaxing, almost meditative score is a welcome addition to a game that focuses on cleaning. It works well and contributes to an overall relaxing presentation and experience.
Train Station Renovation may not appeal to everyone as the core gameplay experience is simply cleaning and decorating. I personally found satisfaction in clearing out the messes and enjoyed it more than I expected, pleasantly surprised by the casual and calming vibe the game presents. For those who enjoy taking pride in their labour and visual gratification of their work, Train Station Renovation is a pleasant cleaning simulator while players looking for a little more structure and variation will likely not find the appeal.
+ Oddly satisfying gameplay
+ Variety of tools and tasks to apply them to
+ Relaxing score
– Very repetitive
– Level design is very similar
– Unique tasks are too easy, more would have been welcome
Developed by: Live Motion Games
Published by: Ultimate Games
Release Date: June 2 2021
Platforms: Xbox One/Series X|S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and PC
* A digital code was kindly provided by the Publisher for the purpose of this review *
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