[Mac OS X] Paper Train Lite is an addictive puzzle game

Thmzl.gktthnxo.800x500-75e great thing about the App Store is how easy it is to find a hidden gem, even years after the app was initially released. The right string of words in the search box, and pow!– there’s a game you missed when it first launched that’s still worth checking out. One older game that recently caught my attention was Paper Train Lite, a game that got its last update about a year ago.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Paper Train Lite is a puzzle game where you must control traffic and prevent collisions.

Pros

  • Addictive puzzle elements
  • Online scoreboard
  • 7 challenging puzzle levels
  • Gorgeously inviting, hand-drawn graphics

Cons

  • Lite version only has one level of difficulty: paid version has four levels of difficulty
  • Lite version doesn’t have nearly as many levels as the paid version
  • Unlike similar games in this genre of puzzles, you can’t build your own levels.

Discussion

mzl.mqcctkho.800x500-75Paper Train Lite bears more than a passing resemblance to another “trainyard mechanics” puzzle game. We recently reviewed an iOS puzzler called Trainyard Express, which has similar mechanics. However, it’s worth noting that the two games are very different from a graphics perspective. While Trainyard Express is dark, sleek, and minimally-designed, Paper Train Lite has a more friendly, hand-drawn look about it. It’s a matter of personal, aesthetic preference as to which game is more “easy on the eyes.”

The controls in Paper Train Lite are quite different from Trainyard Express, too. Whereas every train flies off at the same time in Trainyard, in Paper Train, the locomotives are traveling at a more staggered rate. Rather than dragging tracks into place, you’re mostly just testing your reaction times by hitting the control squares at precise intervals.

Scoring in Paper Train Lite is fairly straightforward. You are given points based on how many trains you safely escort off the map, while points are deducted each time you click on a “control square” to start or stop a train in its tracks. You can get more points by keeping cows from getting killed by the trains, too!

It’s always hard to judge the music in a puzzle game. After all, if you don’t like it, you can always just hit the mute button. That being said, I found the somewhat jazzy, electronic background music to be a little like elevator music. It’s okay in short bursts, but you’d go crazy if you had to listen to it for more than a few minutes at a time.

There was another small issue that I disliked in Paper Train Lite. Oddly for such a simple game that takes up so little room on my hard drive, I found that running Paper Train Lite caused a surprising drain on my memory, resulting in a pretty big jump in my hard drive’s temperature. A game this small shouldn’t be making my computer run so hot!

Conclusion and download link

In short, Paper Train Lite is an oldie, but a goodie. While the Lite version may feel a bit limited at times, the blend of hand-drawn artwork and mind-beiding puzzles makes for a fun, compelling ride…despite some minor flaws.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.5

Requires OS X 10.6.6 or later

Download size: 14.2 MB

Paper Train Lite on Mac App Store

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