Written by  :  Les Nessman (281)
Written on  :  Apr 19, 2004
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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A train based puzzle-game, reminiscent of Lemmings.

The Good

Loco-Commotion offers a series of increasingly challenging levels to complete, and they very cleverly designed. Some of the levels are timed, but most are not, and this is a good thing - I find that I have to carefully work my way through many of the levels, methodically thinking about the processes involved. The graphics are quite good, although not on par with other train games such as Microsoft's Train Simulator or Trainz. You can zoom down to tree-top height and examine the terrain close-up or watch the action from on high. A transparent map view can be overlayed on top of the screen, and is quite handy. Sound is well implemented. A track editor is included in the game, allowing you to develop your own tracks and terrain. With the track editor, the game functions as a model railroad simulator as well as a puzzle based game. The game loads quickly and saves your place automatically upon completion of a level.

The Bad

My primary concern regarding Loco-Commotion revolves around the complete lack of support for the game by its publisher. The box states that levels created by the track editor can be uploaded to a site on the internet and shared with others, but no such site has ever, to my knowledge, existed. In fact, the publisher's site does not even acknowledge the existence of the game. This is not because the game has been a commercial failure. A quick search of usenet finds that buyers of Loco-Commotion were unable to find any support of the game upon its initial release. Loco-Commotion has now been re-released as a freebie included with Railroad Tycoon 3, but you still won't find the promised site to upload any levels you create. This is a shame, because Loco-Commotion is a good game. A fairly simple though challenging puzzle based game, it probably never merited an $80 price tag as other games do, but might have done well had it gone for $20 or $30. The level editor is somewhat buggy and prone to crashing, so save often.

The Bottom Line

If you want a train simulator, go with Microsoft Train Simulator. If you want a model railroad experience, go with Trainz. If you want a train based strategy game, go with Rails Across America. If however, you want to check out a well designed and somewhat quirky puzzle based game, try Loco-Commotion.