Yay, glad to hear you are so far enjoying your first experience of the A-Train series. I know some people can find the onboarding process of learning the game confusing or tedious, as professional metacritic reviews of the series will attest, but the process is worth the patience in my opinion. And once you understand one game in the series the rest become easier to grasp quickly, thanks to the shared core mechanics.
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As you probably know by now, A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism is a transportation game with some unique twists that is developed and self-published for the Nintendo Switch by Artdink Corporation. It was released worldwide on March 12, 2021 and is available digitally via the Nintendo eShop or by importing a physical copy from Japan. The A-Train games commonly place you in the role of CEO of a private Japanese railway corporation, tasking you to develop sprawling mass transit systems and help shape the urban development of the region.
With the scenarios of A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism often taking a few to several hours to complete, this let’s play will be cover an individual scenario from the game across multiple parts. Therefore, this forum post serves as the introduction to our first scenario, aptly entitled All Aboard Tourism. This scenario serves as the first of two tutorials when played on the Easy difficulty level. It introduces new players to the basic controls and features of the game and overall series.
Upon opening the scenario selection screen you will find a list of official scenarios, any user-created scenarios downloaded, and the option to browse a catalogue of shared user-created scenarios. Next, we receive an overview of the map, a short written description of the selected scenario, and the completion conditions. Here you can see that on Normal difficulty the game expects us to grow the region’s population to at least 20,000 people and have at least 200,000 annual tourist visits within a time frame of two years.
Progressing on to the difficulty selection screen we can now select our desired level of challenge. In A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism the difficulty level effects several parameters, as reflected on the UI when moving between the Easy, Standard and Expert options. Our choice of difficulty will modify our starting funds, initial company brand power, initial employee satisfaction, the initial interest rate of loans, starting shareholder confidence levels, starting bank confidence levels, economic volatility, value assessments when selling assets, whether the public transportation utilisation rate varies, and whether advisor advice is enabled.
You need not worry about managing advanced gameplay mechanics such as shareholder confidence and brand power on Easy difficulty as the value of these parameters will never drop below their maximum. Additionally, capital will be plentiful with generous starting funds and low interest bank loans available thanks to an economy that will only experience gentle economic fluctuation. However, if a complete dynamic simulation of economic and business conditions is your desire then the Standard and Expert difficulties are definitely for you.
Upon beginning the scenario we are greeted by a loading screen transporting us all the way back to April 1st, 1992. A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism retains the Epoch system introduced in A-Train 3D // A-Train PC Classic. Therefore, the time period of the scenario will influence which vehicles and buildings are available to us for construction or research, with additional options potentially appearing as time progresses. Additionally, the financially savvy out there might know that April 1st marks the beginning of a new fiscal period in Japan. Due to the importance of the fiscal year to the business management aspects of the game all scenarios in A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism commence on April 1st.
At beginning of each scenario we are greeted by our personal secretary, who will provide us with a basic introduction to the scenario. We commence our transportation adventure at Enomori Station, which is located near the coast and the north east border of the map. As outlined in the scenario description and completion conditions, our objective is to greatly expand the existing transportation infrastructure to help facilitate the growth of both tourism and population in the region.
Currently our company has a single track built to the metropolis of Hasuoka, located off-map and accessible via our rail connection at the northern map border (bottom of picture), and operates the line using a single suburban class train. Our company also begins with a single track connecting Enomori Station, via a second platform, to South Enomori Station. However, we begin the scenario with no active train service in operation on the line. This is a problem that can be easily and quickly rectified though, with a second suburban class EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) currently located in company storage awaiting deployment.
That wraps up this introduction to Let’s Play All Aboard Tourism. Hopefully, you will join me next time as we begin enacting our business plan for the region. Along the way learning all about tourism, a core feature of the game, and the nearby attraction of Nagashirojo Castle. Until the next time we met, have a safe journey!