Tracks – The Train Set Game (XB1) Review


Tracks is a sandbox toy train track builder. Styled after old wooden toy trains, the main aspect of Tracks is relaxing and building worlds around intricate tracks. Basically it’s those old toys without the restrictions of physical space and the cost of the actual toys with plenty of premade scenery items to really make created worlds look like model train sets.

It’s really less of a game and more of an experience, and there are plenty of people who will likely enjoy engaging with the creative side of things. In certain premade rooms however there is a passenger pick up game where passengers spawn on the map and the goal is to build a track to the passengers and then to an exit.

MSRP: $19.99
PRICE I’D PAY: $9.99

This challenge mode is what I mainly engaged with and I fought the control scheme for most of my time which wouldn’t matter if there was no time limit, but certain passengers spawn with just over a minute to build a track to them and to an exit. Placing objects like platforms is a pain because of the way they are placed in game. Rotating them is done with Y and I would press right trigger which then places the object. As soon as passengers hop on a platform I can’t delete it. Driving the train in first person is neat but hardly a consolation when I just fought to lay down the track.

The controls are counterintuitive to me because rotate only goes one way but I have two buttons to place objects. Right stick rotates the camera but raising and lowering the camera is done with the d-pad, but that also changes elevation on track pieces. Sometimes when placing tracks, the game would fight me a bit on what piece is coming next or how two pieces should join but I excuse that because of how complex and intertwined the tracks can get. For a game that gives off the air of a relaxing creative experience I found myself getting perturbed at the game for not doing what I wanted.

The whole time I’m frustrated with the controls a calm jazz soundtrack is playing in the background. There’s an irony in that.

It’s hard to judge Tracks on the standard aspects of a game, but with the issues I had with the controls (likely an issue stemming from porting the game from PC to Xbox) I don’t really want to engage with their creative mode for any length of time either. It is extremely important to note that I am not the main demographic here. People who love making model worlds (specifically with trains) and kids will likely get more out of this than I did. The ability to remap controls would go a long way with me though and I would jump back in to give it another shake, if for nothing else it brings back some nostalgia of playing with wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toys. While my score may reflect my current opinion on the game, Tracks is on Game Pass and it is extremely family friendly so there’s nothing to lose with trying it out.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Concept
  • Visuals are very minimalist and clean looking
  • Lots of freedom for creation
  • Challenge mode is available
  • Game built to be relaxing
  • Control scheme interferes with all aspects of the game
  • Menu interface isn’t the best
Written by
Anthony is the resident Canadian. He enjoys his chicken wings hot and drinks way too much Coca-Cola. His first game experience was on his father's Master System and he is a loyal SEGA fanboy at heart.