Weekly Round-Up Wednesday - 9th March 2022

Screenshot from Train Fever
This bridge gets a lot of traffic in my game of Train Fever

The following post is part of a series of posts that are published every Wednesday to update readers on what I've been playing during the week (this also includes games on my "Pile of Shame"). The games to target are picked by Choicest Games contributors Choona, Luke and myself. As I'll be talking about my progress through these games, there may be spoilers ahead, especially for games containing a narrative. Consider yourself warned.

Train Fever

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 17%

Despite me not having a good first impression with Train Fever, I've grown to enjoy it and the game has the same addictive gameplay loop that Transport Tycoon has, where you're always trying to explore new routes, always trying to improve the efficiency and profitability of existing lines and always replacing your old vehicles with exciting new ones.

One issue that had me perplexed though was how my first foray with freight trains made little profit. I tried building a lumber line early in the game but it never made any money so I had to eventually retire it. If I was playing Transport Tycoon, transporting lumber would be easy money! In this game however, it seems that two horse-drawn carriages generates more revenue than a freight train!

So, for the longest time I ended up working on inter and intra city passenger lines. Some of them turned out to be very profitable. So much so, that I quickly paid off all the debt you start off with. It's also reassuring to see that bussing passengers to the train station actually results in more passengers waiting at the platform. It's good to see the game modelling this type of behaviour!

I'm still not that much of a fan of the game's interface. I can't quite put my finger on it but it just feels clunky and I would prefer the old Transport Tycoon interface over this one anyday. It serves its purpose though.

I'm still appreciating the game's attention to detail with respect to the vehicles. In the 1870s for example, I came across a vehicle that I never knew existed: a steam-powered bus called L'Obéissante. Apparently only one was ever made in reality but I eventually replaced all my horse-drawn carriages in town with these vehicles.

I think I eventually figured out how freight routes worked and this thread on Reddit shows why it's not an exact science. Freight lines just simply worked in Transport Tycoon right from the get-go but in Train Fever, It took me several hours to even notice there was a cargo layer and that this layer actually shows the real-time transport of freight when it's not handled by your company. It would've helped if the game had tutorials or better documentation. Anyway, the reason I think my previous attempts at freight routes were unsuccessful is because you need to take care of supply and demand. In Transport Tycoon you could continue to just offload lumber at a sawmill or coal at a steel mill and production would be enough for you to make a decent profit. However, ensuring the entire supply chain is catered for in Train Fever seems to be the only way to ensure production ramps up which then makes those costly freight trains worthwhile. Sawmills and Steel Mills produce goods and if you're not also transporting goods to the cities, there will be no demand for the likes of lumber, coal or iron ore. Anyway, I now have a lumber route and two oil routes as well as goods being transported to the cities and they're quite profitable.

The year is now 1983 in my game and while I've learnt a bit more about Train Fever things are still not entirely clear. For example, there is a way to automatically have vehicles upgrade themselves when they get too old (which is an improvement over Transport Tycoon) but when I tried to do it, it didn't work for some reason. The vehicle didn't upgrade itself despite it being too old. Also upgrading of roads will work in most places except at intersections, which is annoying, especially if they are considered a required route (e.g. one that connects two cities together and is a public road). I really don't want to have to demolish my existing roads and railway lines just to make sure things fit, you know?

Another thing I love about this game is how things evolve with time like the vehicles and traffic in general. More cars start to use the roads as the decades roll by and it's something this game has an advantage over the original Transport Tycoon. However, I've noticed that my passenger trains are starting to become less profitable for a couple of reasons as a result. Firstly, running costs in general are going up and the fact I've noticed a lot of cars taking highways between cities leads me to believe less people are using the train for inter-city travel. It's cool in a way and reflects what has happened in real life, yet it sucks if you're a CEO of a train company!

I do wish the game had planes and ships included like Transport Tycoon but it seems to only focus on motor vehicles and trains. Maybe the sequels to this game (the Transport Fever games) introduce these?

Battlefield 2042

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 48%

Number one biggest complaint in this game remains trying to find a game. Despite a recent update bringing a new scoreboard (which is more similar to previous Battlefield games) it's still tough to find a game. I don't know if it's because the matchmaking system is just trash or whether it's because nobody is playing the game anymore. Maybe it's a bit of both?

Anyway, one of the funniest and coolest features of this game are the radio stations you can listen to while you're driving vehicles. You can even listen to some David Sanborn style jazz fusion.

Oh, I also unlocked the 30mm cannon on the LATV4 Recon… awww yeah. What's even crazier is that you can eventually unlock a 50mm cannon for it! Talk about a glass cannon (literally)! Anyway, my current objective is to try and level up all my operators to Level 1 Mastery. At the moment, I think I've only done that with four operators: Irish, Angel, Falck and Casper. I'm also trying to play with vehicles I don't normally use such as the hovercraft, transport choppers and the MAV to ensure I can unlock more stuff with them.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 96%

Continuing to play this game and very close to getting a 5-star rating. I feel like I've done all I can with respect to it so it won't be long before I'm ready to review this one.

The Ancient Art of Staying Alive

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 50%

Reading about this game by CaptainD (thanks again for the review key) I can't say I've ever played the game it's based off called Daleks.

It's basically a simple, retro style arcade game where you have to run around the screen avoiding enemies. However, you also have to eventually eliminate the enemies too and the main way to achieve this is for them to run into each other: having your character run circles around the horde of enemies, like a sheepdog herding sheep, seems to be the most effective way of doing this. You can't get too close to them though since if they touch you, it's game over.

On harder difficulty levels when there are more enemies around, you'll probably have to take advantage of two abilities available to you: Teleport which, as the name implies, teleports you out of harm's way (well, usually) or Bomb which wipes out enemies within a certain area around your character.

The game is simple, yet fun and the addition of Steam Leaderboards is the perfect way to encourage you to replay the game as you strive to beat the high scores.

Although I haven't really spent too much time playing this game, you don't really need to in order to experience all you need to with respect to game mechanics. I'm not a fan of the UI since it's really busy and gaudy (but if it's going for a retro look, great success) and despite the game's store page describing what you have to do, it would be good if there were some instructions in-game or a tutorial. Minor quibbles though.

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 21%

I wanted to pick a relaxing game to unwind to in the evenings so I thought VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action was a potential candidate. It's not a bad game so far. It's mainly a visual novel with a cyberpunk setting where you play the role of a bartender. While you don't seem to get any choices when it comes to conversation options, you do get some choice in serving drinks as sometimes the clients want you to recommend them one. At the end of the day, you'll be assessed on which drinks you served. I've apparently made mistakes a couple of times but the game doesn't elaborate when they were made.

Money earned in the game is used to pay bills but it can also be used to purchase items to decorate your home. It seems that on certain days, Jill (the character you play as), has urges for particular items and not purchasing them will apparently cause her to become distracted. I don't know what this means in gameplay terms since I've always purchased the items she's asked for, but I assume it'd affect your performance somehow.

Also, how sexually frustrated is everybody in this game? It seems all they talk about is sex. A lot of the guys in the game are painted with the same brush, as misogynist jerks that just want to get into bed with the first woman they see, and everyone else aren't much better. Maybe this is normal for female bartenders? Who knows? Anyway, the game is kind of like a slice of life visual novel, where you talk about love and relationships in a cyberpunk setting, and I'm now at Chapter 2.

Oh, what I also like about this game is that it rewards you for remembering conversations you had with the patrons. Later on in the game, you will be tested on your knowledge of drinks and patron preferences.

LINK: [ The Pile of Shame ]


  1. Hi Mark! Thanks for featuring "The Ancient Art of Staying Alive" - since I was VERY much going for a very retro aesthetic I'm taking your comments as meaning I succeeded even if it's not your style :)

    Just wondered if you've played the turn-based mode? It was probably added after you first downloaded and played the game.

    1. Haha yeah fair enough. I haven't tried the turn-based mode yet so I'll have to give that a shot.


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