Let's take the A-Train: An all-purpose series thread

I second Craig’s comment: so much info, I need to parse that and take notes writing names down!

I had no idea the difficulty level had such a drastic impact on the experience of A-Train 8/9. I need to revisit them, as it was the difficulty (well, relative difficulty) of the DS game that probably appealed to me. Without scenario goals to focus my attention, my lack of planning thinking will be probably make that experience short, though!

But first, I am going to try that mix of touch and gamepad controls anonymgeist recommended with the Switch game. This whole thread has me motivated again!

I definitely appreciate some of the quality of life features the Switch game brings to the table. Such as the user interface visualising how well a prospective subsidiary will synergise with other buildings in the local area. As far as I know this is represented by the red up chevrons, the more chevrons the better, and any negative synergies are represented by blue down chevrons. Negative influences on subsidiary performance can be caused by factors such as industrial buildings being close to residential buildings (simulates pollution, etc), city-wide zoning supply and demand, a local abundance of similar building types negatively impacting localised demand, and so on.

Just to clarify, that part on difficulty level largely pertained to A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism for the Switch but also has relevance to A-Train 3D // A-Train PC Classic (same game, different platforms). In A-Train 8 and A-Train 9, if I remember correctly, the difficulty rating is just a measure of the starting funds and economic conditions set by the map creator. Though, both A-Train 8 and A-Train 9 do have some optional advanced gameplay settings that you can enable to increase the complexity of the timetable scheduling and such.

I found that a mixture of the gamepad and touch controls works best with A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism on the Switch. Though, I have certainly gotten use to the gamepad-only control scheme by now as well. The touch controls just make some steps of the game more intuitive and seamless, such as constructing track since it cuts out some additional gamepad button presses.

Hopefully, one day in the future Artdink port the game to the PC and Steam with native mouse & keyboard support, a PC-optimised UI, and support for the Steam Workshop for easy sharing of user-created scenarios. Being both a Unity Engine game and a Nintendo Switch game, which runs well in handheld mode to boot, there shouldn’t be too many major technical difficulties blocking that happening.

I’ve been playing the demo again, and this turns out to be a game changer. The “hold to click” is not the most elegant at first, but it is quite smart. Laying down a relatively large track is so easy.
The other thing here was changing the language. The English translation takes out much of the insufferable stereotypes of this edition of the game (the 10yo secretary secretly hitting on you as reported by another character, or the cringey homosexual accountant) in such an elegant way even the portraits can’t betray it.

I enjoyed the graphical options available: between this and the Witcher 3, I wished more games would let the player tune the game’s appearance vs smoothness on consoles.

One unexpected benefit of Artdink’s shift to self-publishing worldwide with the Switch release is the number of videos on their official Youtube channel with handcrafted English subtitles has shot up with A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism. Their latest video goes over some beginner tips and tricks for train operations, such as how to go about setting up a timetable which has multiple train services running at a consistent interval.

The most recent patch on the Switch just added the ability to adjust the time required for a “Long Tap” (hold to click) to be registered too. Thus, adjusting the setting to 50% results in an even snappier touch control experience. Unfortunately, the demo build is stuck at version 1.0.0 and so misses out on that but it makes the improvements in performance and quality of life features all the more noticeable when moving over to the full game and version 1.1.0.

Agreed, the ability to fine tune the game’s fidelity versus performance on the Switch is a nice option to have available. Great for cranking the draw distance, LoDs, and post-processing effects up as high as they’ll go for some great screenshots.

So I got the 3DS version and am doing the tutorials. Really nice so far.

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.

Let’s Play All Aboard Tourism - An Introduction…

Click to reveal

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!

I guess it’s time for me to fire this up again! I feel like I need to spend a bit more time researching track layouts and such. I kept getting hamstrung by colliding trains and stuck busses.

Also, it would be nice if you could load up either of the tutorial scenarios but skip the actual tutorial part.

That is largely what happens when you replay them on Normal or Expert difficulty. All the game features become available from the beginning and the tutorialisation is stripped out. Which I guess isn’t so helpful if you want to replay them on Easy difficulty, to be fair. So, a slight flaw there.

Ah! I did not know that. But it looks like the first actual scenario will fit the bill nicely: building up infrastructure and tourism in 1955.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to the continuation of your posts. I really like the game and feel like it’s something I could sink dozens (if not hundreds) of hours into, but I just need a bit more how-to help beyond the basic controls.

Oh, jeebus, this thread is going to suck me in, isn’t it? Thanks, @Malkael, you jerk! I dinked* around with A-Train 9 on Steam for a bit, but it sounds like I’m going to have to grab All Aboard Tourism for the Switch.

So this is my own particular quirk, but is there any external incentive to play harder difficulty levels? A scoring system? Unlockables? Ingame goals? Or am I choosing harder just for the sake of greater difficulty/complexity?


* Get it?

Uh oh… On the DS version, there was nothing but bragging rights (and, well, a different game).

Anyway, I vote Malkael as QT3er of the Month already. The enthusiasm in the thread makes me ignore my old interface complaints for the Tourism game. It was all in the head :O

I agree with the kudos to @Malkael I don’t even own the game or a DS and I’m thinking “is there a version of this on Steam that I can play? “ my vague recollection recollection of A Train is that it’s always been a bit too obtuse but it sounds as though the series has come a long way.

There is a Steam version linked above, I just got the DS version because it’s cheaper.

I have ordered the Japanese physical edition of the Tourism one or whatever because I like hard cards. Just knowing no one can flip a switch and take my game away gives me a nice feeling. (Also, if my Switch ever breaks, and I can somehow obtain new hardware, I don’t have to worry about the eShop still being online in order to transfer the game to it. I can just pop the card in.)

Hopefully it includes English!

It does, game is awesome like that.
I think you’ll be disappointed to learn the save games aren’t stored on the cartridge anymore.
Gotta pay Nintendo 20 bucks a year, or lose all your progress!

Do you guys have a pro tip about how to charge your console next to bed? or play it plugged there?

Besides the successful completion of a scenario earning you a trophy next to that scenario in the scenario selection list, I am not currently aware of any other external incentives for A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism. Each difficulty level has its own unique trophy to earn; either a bronze, silver or gold trophy as shown on the difficulty selection screen. The scenario list will show the highest difficulty level that a scenario has been completed on.

A-Train PC Classic did have Steam Achievements, in addition to the trophy system, to encourage mastering the game on the hardest difficulty level. However, it appears Nintendo doesn’t do achievements so that wasn’t possible for A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism on the Switch. Thus, the primary source of motivation for choosing Standard or Expert difficulty is intrinsic rather than extrinsic.

Though, showing off all your Gold trophies via a screenshot is certainly an option since it acts as a kind of three tier scoring system. Completing a scenario on Expert difficulty is going to require some mastery of the game, whilst clearing the whole game on Expert difficulty is a true accomplishment.

Keep an eye on Steam or Humble Bundle over the summer, as the series will likely go on sale during the Steam Summer Sale event. If you can handle the 2D sprite-based graphics, of the A-Train games currently available digitally on PC my recommendation would be A-Train PC Classic. Being the predecessor to A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism it has the most in common design wise, even if the precise implementation of gameplay features like Resource Trading can differ.

Upon booting up the game you should be able to freely switch between Japanese, English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese localisations via the fourth (right-most) button on the main menu.

For anyone not adverse to reading some localised English subtitles, Artdink posted their next video in a series of basic How-To guides. This time the topic of focus is all about bus operations.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a power socket close by so I can play whilst plugged in charging. Handheld A-Train was not something I thought I needed in my life but yet here I am utterly engrossed in it.

I looked it up a bit, and it seems with a 10W phone charger and an USB-C cable, it should do the trick. I wasn’t sure where to plug the cable actually but now I know — I feel so old.