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 (Mirrorâ€™s Edge for under Â£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 Â£5.98 in Game, is one such example.
Any game with the word â€˜trainâ€™ 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 toâ€¦
See, the aim is to amass Â£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 isnâ€™t the word!
After around three hours not only had I beaten the Â£10 billion quota, unlocking no less than 3 achievements for doing so, but I had enough cash to unlock most of the rest as theyâ€™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 Â£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. Itâ€™s not the best game on Xbox 360 by a long shot – itâ€™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.