Do the locomotion

The January sales – which, oddly, have been starting in mid-December for the last few years – are a thing of brilliance. Not only are the big name games recently released cut in price (Mirror’s Edge for under £15? Thanks, Tesco!) but many retailers also flog off the titles that have been gathering dust for some time. A-Train HX, purchased for a nice £5.98 in Game, is one such example.

Any game with the word ‘train’ in the title is going to conjure up mental images of NHS glasses, anoraks and flasks of weak lemon drink. These fears can be cast aside though – A-Train HX plays more like Sim City than Railroad or Transport Tycoon, or Microsoft Train Simulator. But only if you want it to…

See, the aim is to amass £10 billion as quickly as you can. You can build towns and connect them with rail to earn your fortune, or you can become a property tycoon by building hotels, flats, department stores and the like in profitable areas. Me? I found a much quicker way.

With no tutorial to speak of, an initially confusing interface, and a manual that explains the basics and nothing more, I turned to the internet for guidance. It turns out the only thing I could find was a guide to easily unlocking the achievements, which involves playing the game set on the highest speed, occasionally pausing to buy shares low and sell high. Addictive isn’t the word!

After around three hours not only had I beaten the £10 billion quota, unlocking no less than 3 achievements for doing so, but I had enough cash to unlock most of the rest as they’re gained for silly things like building 30 factories or an airport. Another is gained having over 2,000 miles of rail – I got this one for writing rude words with track on the wasteland.

When you reach £10 billion you get to upload your score to a leaderboard. Mine ranked in at 300-odd, which just shows how few people bought the game when it was first released. It’s not the best game on Xbox 360 by a long shot – it’s as ugly as a bag of old hammers for starters – but you don’t need to be called Nigel and enjoy standing on train platforms in the cold to enjoy it.

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