Railz

Categories: 5 minute, Flash, Free, Games, Online, Puzzle

RailzRailzRailz is a unique puzzle Flash game where the objective is to complete a loop with the provided railway tracks. Railz does not contain any levels, which makes it much different from other flash games I have played. Instead, Railz replaces the level concept by providing the player with 60 moves to make before the game ends. Players want to try and get the highest score possible within their 60-move allotment.Players gain money by completing loops; the bigger the loop you complete, the more money you get when the game ends. Players complete loops by moving railway tracks around the board, each movement counts against your limited 60 available. There are vertical pieces, horizontal pieces and four different curved pieces, a top and bottom right curved piece and a top and bottom left curved piece.

You’ll find yourself paying close attention and thinking through because there is a slight trick to the puzzle madness. As soon as the player moves a single track piece to anywhere on the board a new piece is placed in the previous position. The more pieces you move the more cluttered your space gets. In the bottom corner you’ll be able to see the next available piece, much like the classic Tetris title so you have a chance to plan ahead.

There is yet another challenge to this puzzle to keep you coming back for a higher score. There are pieces with black money signs on them, these pieces become static and cannot be moved for the rest of the game. Once these static pieces are on the board, they are there until you complete a loop with them so you’ll constantly be challenged with creatively using these immovable pieces to create a large loop. The upside to the dollar sign pieces is they give you more money when you complete loops using them. However, you can opt to work around them and they won’t be included in your final score.

The strategy behind the game is to move a piece out of a loop that doesn’t fit there and have the waiting piece fill in the loop or, even better, complete the loop.

I really liked Railz because I was constantly challenged with increasing my score to an all time high. Without the additional difficulties of the immovable tracks I think I might tire of the game quickly, this adds a great challenge and makes you want to improve your skills constantly. The loop puzzle really exercises creative thinking without making you feel like you’re doing a job. If you are looking for a good puzzle game to pass the time, check out Railz.

Have fun!

By Jennifer

current rating 3.00

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11 Comments to Railz

  1. Jerre says:

    I think it’s a rather stupid game

  2. Derrick says:

    I think it’s a neat idea, something a bit different than flash games that are just clones of other standard boxed games.

  3. ginin says:

    I think it’s an interesting concept and you can come up with different strats. I suggest a correction on the game description, since not only “circles” can be built, actually any closed loop will do :) [Edit: done!]

  4. Passion says:

    Nice little game, reminds me of the game Rail Road Tycoon, but then only the basics. Just building the rail tracks. Nice puzzle though

  5. Reka says:

    I played something very much like this a couple months ago, except it didn’t have the unusable track pieces. It was still quite difficult. Was someone under the mistaken impression that the game needed more difficulty, so they added the unusable pieces? Because I wish they hadn’t.

  6. kurohako says:

    Jennifer, thanks for writing this article and introducing Railz! to fellow casual gamers.

    One thing to note is that if you manage to complete a loop consisting of at least 7 special Bonus Tiles, your deck of replacement tiles will be replenished by the same number of tiles used to complete the loop, giving you the chance to extend gameplay and accumulate even more points.

    Reka, we released the game only a few weeks ago, so you could not have played this a couple of months ago unless it was another game you played? But you are right – we did not put in the broken, unusable track pieces initially. They were introduced in BETA 2 and we like them enough to leave them in for the current version:
    http://kurohako.com/blog/railz-beta-2/

    We think that the Broken Railway tiles actually made the game more competitive, as can be seen by the high scores distribution (very close fights, no outliers):
    http://kurohako.com/games/railz/classic/stats/

    In the original version, the game could go on and on forever if you had the patience (because you could keep getting moves replenished), and therefore getting high scores was only a matter of patience rather than real puzzle solving skills. In the end, the high scores were extremely high, not something we wanted. We want the game to reward risk-taking, strategy and skillful game play rather than patience.

    Anyway, we still have the LITE version which does not have the Broken Railway tiles, if that is what you prefer, but you have only 48 moves with no replenishment. You can find that version on our site as well as several casual games portals.

    We are working on more features for this game, and welcome any and all feedback. We would also appreciate any help to identify why this game is apparently too difficult for most casual gamers… is it because players are skipping the “how to play” game instructions and assumed that this is a “connect-the-pipes” clone, which it is not?

  7. Eric says:

    kurohako – A lot of players don’t read the instructions, they prefer images or even better, a quick animation. My advice is to remove the in-game text instructions and replace them by a short video/animation that explains clearly the mechanisms of your game: the first time I played Railz, I didn’t understand where the replacement tile lands on the board, and I ended feeling frustrated!

    The high score feature is a nice one, but the replay of your game is poor, due to the 60 pieces limit.

    Adding several levels, with different sets of railway tracks would be a nice addition and would raise the replay value as well.

    You could also implement levels with different grid sizes, large or small sets of tracks, timed levels, or set a minimum amount of cash to be collected in particular levels, a la Gold Miner, etc. The possibilities of extensions are almost unlimited.

  8. kurohako says:

    Thanks Eric, all those suggestions are very good and we will keep them in mind.

    We do have a BLITZ version which you can try out (no 60 pieces limit, but with 5 minute countdown, you get extra time for each loop you complete):
    http://kurohako.com/games/railz/blitz/

    We will try other rules to see which is more popular with the players.

    Thanks!

  9. Reka says:

    Kurohako, it must have been the first beta that I played.

    The reason the game is so difficult is that it requires a completely backwards way of thinking: you build a loop not by adding pieces to it, but by removing pieces. Except the pieces you remove don’t go away, they sit there making life difficult.

    I think Eric’s suggestion of levels is the key to making this game more accessible and fun: start with a dead-easy level, no unusable pieces, no sticky pieces, and a low threshold for continuing. Build from there – higher threshold and/or smaller piece limit. Then go back to a low threshold/high piece limit, but introduce sticky pieces. Build from there again. When you introduce unusable pieces, again, make the other variables easier at first.

    (BTW, I think basing your playability conclusions on the high scores distribution is misleading at best. I think what you have is a few dedicated gamers populating your high scores, and everyone else basically giving up after a few minutes.)

  10. kurohako says:

    Ok, we will work on implementing levels/stages as well as better in-game help.

    Reka, I don’t quite get your point about building the loop by removing pieces. Isn’t there two ways to build the loop? Either you use the normal way of thinking and build a loop by moving pieces to the correct positions, or you swap out existing pieces with the correct pieces at their current positions. Of course, to get really high scores you need to exercise both ways of thinking. That is why this is a skill-based game. Admittedly, which tile you move has a double impact because the next tile is going to fall onto that spot – which means you get to decide where the next tile lands on the board – it is not random.

    I know there is a lot of hate for this game, but please forgive us for wanting to introduce a new unique game concept instead of doing a clone for our first game :)

  11. Mom says:

    I’ve been rather hooked on Railz. I like the Classic mode, because the Blitz mode seemed to go on and on without end. Also, my life is full of interruptions so it is nice to be able to walk away from the game and then go back to it without loss, which you can do with the untimed Classic mode. I do wish there was a Palm Pilot version. Seems it would be a perfect game for a Palm or PDA. So far I haven’t managed to get much past 7000, but give me a few days. I very much like the score page, motivated me to play each day and try to keep my score up there. Hats off to the developers on this one. I haven’t been this caught up in a game for a long time. It did take me a while to figure out some strategy, but then things clicked and off I went to higher scores. Thanks for offering such a great game.


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