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Railway Empire released with same-day Linux support

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Railway Empire [GOG, Steam], a game about building an elaborate and wide-ranging rail network officially released with same-day Linux support.

It did have a few issues initially, but they seem to be supporting the Linux version well with a post-release Linux-specific patch to clear up some problems. In terms of performance and stability, at least for me personally, it’s been a smooth ride.

Here’s the release trailer:

It honestly seems to be rather a lot like Train Fever and Transport Fever, the basics of it all are extremely similar. However, the performance in Railway Empire, at least for me, has been a lot better than those other games.

I will talk about one thing that disappointed me right away. In fact, it’s the exact same thing I was sad to see in Transport Fever, with trains magically just warping their direction at a station instead of needing something to turn them around. I can’t imagine a railway turntable to be difficult for developers to do, considering all the other systems they’re able to stick in, but developers seem to keep opting to oversimplify that one aspect. There must be a reason why developers opt not to implement them though, but I just can't think of why right now. There's another aspect that annoyed me too, which is when you build a repair hut your trains just get fixed at the station, instead of entering inside the hut to be repaired. Small things, but things I would have expected a proper train simulation game to actually have.

There's also the problem of the AI. The AI will only ever use the most simplistic train routing, what's called the "Easy" mode for players. This is where trains can just pass through each other without issues. There's been many arguments on both sides about it, with some claiming the AI is heavily penalised. What the developer has actually said, is that the AI pays more for the tracks. Due to this decision, if you buy your competitor, all their trains get sold due to this, otherwise if you're not playing on Easy you would be in a real mess. Honestly, to me, this seems like either a really poor design decision, or not enough time spent developing the AI so they had to put in a quick-fix.

With the annoyances out of the way, there are a numbers of things I did like. The first of which, is how easy to understand everything is. The layout of the UI is incredibly clear, which really eases you into learning the various game mechanics. The amount of different goods you can transport between cities is great, with you needing industrial buildings to change specific resources into another as well, before getting it to the city that requires it.

There's also the cut-scenes during the campaign, giving you a bit of history in a nice clear way with some really great voice over work. I actually quite enjoyed the campaign thanks to this. I also liked how the game deals with bridges and tunnels for you when you're laying down your tracks, it takes away a fair amount of the micro-management when building your tracks, allowing you to just get it done. Having the money to do so is another story, but at least you can focus on that rather than designing some elaborate tunnel system through a mountain yourself.

You also need to deal with the fact that trains need water, sand and oil. This requires you to build supply towers along your routes, otherwise they can slow down quite a lot. If you manage to design your track layout well, you could have multiple routes using a single tower to reduce your costs.

You can also hire certain staff and assign them to specific trains too, like a stoker to increase the reliability or a security guard to help prevent bandit attacks. On top of that, you can even ride on the train yourself, move the camera around and enjoy the view. And yes, you can make it toot while you're riding it too.

If you're after a slightly more relaxing experience compared to other train simulation games, this one might be for you. It's in a lot of ways far more simplistic than other games available. I wouldn't outright say that was a bad thing, since it will appeal to a different audience. However, don't pick it up if you like simulation games with a lot of depth.

You can grab Railway Empire on GOG and Steam.

GOG links are affiliate links.

Ps. Apologies on the lateness of this one, they didn’t have a review build available for Linux and then I got sick.

7 Likes, Who?
MustD 31 January 2018 at 5:42 pm UTC
Did refund my preorder, because of limited rail crossing capabilities (compared to transport fever) and game crash without any information on 1-10 min ingame. Ubu16.04.4.
Micromegas 31 January 2018 at 6:36 pm UTC
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Thanks for your review!

I tried to form an opinion about the game just by watching some streams on Twitch. But for this type of game I really needed a written review.
1xok 31 January 2018 at 10:53 pm UTC
MustDDid refund my preorder, because of limited rail crossing capabilities (compared to transport fever) and game crash without any information on 1-10 min ingame. Ubu16.04.4.

Don't know if this was your problem but there was a fix for Linux:
http://steamcommunity.com/games/503940/announcements/detail/1651001473442850370
beko 1 February 2018 at 8:44 am UTC
I may like this. I'm afraid that economics work exactly like in Grand Ages: Medieval tho, where this part became boring very fast :-/

Watched a Gameplay video and I'm still very uncertain.
cRaZy-bisCuiT 1 February 2018 at 9:57 am UTC
Do the boxed versions have Linux included?


Edit: The top of the box on Amazon states DVD-ROM / Linux. Since I really appreciate boxed games and I'm unhappy about the mass affordable games at sales nowadays I'll go for it even though I'm not sure if it could be counted as a Linux game like that. Nowadays a boxed version has a value by itself just by being boxed.


The industry should really step up their game to make sure boxed copies are always sold with Linux and counted as well.


Last edited by cRaZy-bisCuiT at 1 February 2018 at 10:03 am UTC
beko 1 February 2018 at 11:19 am UTC
I understood this correct: It is not possible to configure the trailers? Just the locomotive? Trailers just spawn at need?

Not a train sim
Scoopta 1 February 2018 at 11:30 am UTC
Can I go on a small rant? Why is it that some devs manage to list DirectX as a requirement in their Linux specs. I've seen games that say DirectX 9 compatible graphics card or DirectX compatible sound card(this game) and it just rubs me the wrong way. It either means they didn't care enough and just copied their windows specs for that part or they don't understand Linux because the engine they're using just has a Linux export button. I would give the benefit of the doubt and say they're just making it easy since DirectX is the most popular API for game dev it's something newer Linux users might more readily know off the top of their head but even then I still say it isn't helpful because it has nothing to do with the Linux driver situation for your device. I know of DX compatibile sound cards that didn't even work on Linux a while back. Anyway mini rant over.

EDIT: this game also lists shader model 5 for GPU requirements. More meaningless DX specs -__-.


Last edited by Scoopta at 1 February 2018 at 11:31 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
beko 1 February 2018 at 7:10 pm UTC
Uh oh.. reviews on GoG are a slaughterhouse *sigh*
Tiedemann 1 February 2018 at 8:24 pm UTC
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I like the look and feel of it. It is lightweight (kinda expected that from the video and description) so it's more of a "couch thing" than anything else.
The hardest part so far has been to understand the insane signal system. Coming from OpenTTD etc. it doesn't make much sense in my head. The One-way-block thing you build for the first tutorial pretty much sums up the insanity

Think it'll be great for some relaxing evenings
niarbeht 11 February 2018 at 8:25 pm UTC
I've changed my opinion somewhat. It's very good for what it is, though there are still finicky, fiddly bits that annoy me, and I definitely wish they'd done more with it in certain ways, but it's okay.
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