Railways of Love

This game came up first on my personal shuffle, and I really fell in love with it.

I was intrigued by the first playthrough, then delighted to discover that the game keeps deepening on subsequent playthroughs. It opens up and gives you information about its characters and its setting only gradually.

The visuals and sounds are minimalist: subtle and effective.

There are nice little details that help with playability: a skip button, a visual indication of which railway station you’re in, a reminder of how many playthroughs you’ve been through.

The minimalist writing fits well with the minimalist graphics and sound, and it all produces a meaningful and atmospheric effect. If anything, I wished the game would give the player more: more prose, more setting, more character. The sci-fi setting is intriguing but not fully explored. The characters are fairly loosely drawn, and I wanted a stronger sense about who they are earlier in the game.

I actually thought it was for the best. Describing a sci-fi setting in details can take a lot of space. Too much exposition is a very real risk.

Leaving the setting in the background and only giving us glimpses of it was, in my opinion, the smartest thing to do. It gives us enough to strike the imagination, but keeps the narration very much focused on the two characters.

If I had to criticize one thing, I’d say that it’s a bit too hard to guess in advance the consequences of our choices. It’s mainly chance that leads us to the different endings. But a single trip is fairly brief and starting over is easy, so the adventure remains quite enjoyable.

FelicityDrake, Romain, thank you for your reviews from the author.

I have a small technical question about your game experience:

Do your understand, that after getting all 7 endings you can choose “accept fate” option and get, hm, true ending? Or is it not clear?

I’d completely missed that.

I had to use the playthrough to figure out how to reach the seventh ending, and after reading it, I didn’t realize there was anything left to discover.

I like this “true ending”. It’s a nice conclusion.

Yes, I did find the true ending on my playthrough. I also feel like it’s a satisfying ending!

I’ve also posted a review of the game at my blog here.

I found the text to be very rough; I assumed it was translated poorly from Russian. Maybe the original language text is better. Plus having to click each time to get only a tiny bit more text made the pacing feel very jerky. So that completely ruined the immersion for me, however interesting the scenario was. And despite these flaws, it was somehow compelling and short enough for me to play through a number of times trying to collect endings.

After finding a few endings on my own, I spent probably a dozen playthroughs carefully following the walkthrough sequences to try to trigger all 7 endings and get the “true” ending, but I was never able to get the game to recognize that I had more than six even though I thought I’d seen all seven ending scenarios. Possible bug? I never restarted from a fresh slate to try to figure out which ending wasn’t recognized, but I think possibly one walkthrough sequence wasn’t accurate as written.

Were you using the updated walkthrough from the competition website, or the flawed one from the original download? (I had the same problem very early on in the competition and the authors quickly updated the walkthrough.)

Hello, Reiko!

Thanks for reply and critique. In defense of translation, Russian version has the same rough writing style, so the problem is in the original.

Today I manually tried to get all the endings from walkthrough and all worked for me. So I think there was some misunderstanding. Or maybe Victor is right and you used old walkthrough. Anyway thank you for reporting the bug!

Ah, I also missed seeing the full content, then! I did play through to several endings, but I didn’t realize it was likely to be the kind of structure that would have an end-game unlock, and I felt okay about the ending I reached on my final playthrough, so I stopped at that point.

I really enjoyed gradually getting a sense of what was going on in this strange world without having it ever entirely spelled out, and I also found that the text worked for me despite its sometimes unidiomatic expressions. Keeping the text brief I think was completely right for this game; longer descriptions and narration would have gotten laborious on replay.

I highly recommend reaching all eight endings.

Hm. I accessed it from online, but I played it very early in the competition, maybe even in the first couple days, so it’s likely that it was before the walkthrough was updated. I’ll have to give it another look. Thanks.

I still can’t get past 6/7 endings. For me, the walkthrough for ending 1 and ending 7 gives me the same ending. I’ve never found ending 8.

I rechecked it and got everything right. But I have a version of what happend to you.

To get first Love ending you should additionally select “They confess” at confession dialog. If you select “remain silent” option there will be no confession and no Love ending. I thought It is obvious and didn’t put to walkthrough.

If I’m not right, please describe what same ending do you get from 1 and 7 walkthrough. Thanks in advance!

Ah, that’s the right answer. I never made they choice as I thought it was fruitless. Thanks!

The game is available now on iOS and Android. Once again thanks everybody for reviewing! It helped us a lot.