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Train Bandit review - A simple but smart casual arcade game


For: iPad   Also on: iPhone
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Do the locomotion over

Product: Train Bandit | Publisher: Rusty Moyher | Format: iPad | Genre: Arcade, Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Press left to attack left. Press right to attack right.

Thus ends the Train Bandit tutorial. In fact, the game doesn't even help you out with so many words. Its concept is right there staring you in the face.

Fortunately, there's more to the game beyond its simple controls.

Going doooown in a blaze of glory

You're a Wild West train robber stood atop a speeding train, and an endless posse of lawmen, fellow bandits, and gun-wielding cacti is coming to gun you down.

What do you do? See opening lining. Repeat until you fall over.

You have a small window in which to react to new threats, as it generally takes them a little time to raise their guns - at least at first. Press the wrong direction at the wrong time, however, and you'll be blown to meaty chunks.

Train to win

The real strategy here comes through the range of enemies. As new rivals appear and inevitably kill you, it's on you to figure out how to counteract their unique attack patterns. Nothing is spelled out to you.

Those twin bandits arrive together, so they require a quick left-right (or right-left) combo, which will see your hero grabbing the first one's gun and shooting down his buddy.



Another type leaps into the air as you move towards them, so you need a double-tap to press home the attack.

In this way Train Bandit comes to resemble a rhythm action game without the beat-matching, as you strive to translate the visual cues and commit your response to muscle memory.

Right on track

I've only uncovered a few of these enemy types to date. That's the other thing with Train Bandit - it's damned hard.

The only margin for error is the delay between a threat appearing and firing, but even that window closes as your score ramps up.



Despite its ultra-simplistic controls, then, Train Bandit easily has enough going for it to escape novelty status - something that's helped by mercifully brief ads.

It's not the most original or deep game you'll play this week - far from it - and it still resembles one of those novelty Game & Watch-type games from the '80s. But Train Bandit has been executed with some skill and a surprising level of thought.
 
Train Bandit review - A simple but smart casual arcade game
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 12 October 2017
A very simple but well executed arcade score chaser that's deceptively tricky to master
 
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