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Derail Valley is the Train Simulator we need to evolve the genre into something greater

Content of the article: "Derail Valley is the Train Simulator we need to evolve the genre into something greater"

So if you've ever played something like Train Simulator (Railworks) or Trainz, you'll quickly realize that while you can choose from all sorts of trains and routes and tasks to do (that you can pick and choose to buy via dlc), most of the gameplay is actually just a big sandbox. The games are only as much fun as you put into them. Compare this to Euro Truck Simulator where the game acts like a game as much as a simulator, with goals split up by payment depending on how difficult the task was. This is something (I hope) to become just as much a part of train sims as it is for any other sim.

Enter Derail Valley, a game made for both VR and non-VR on Steam by Altfuture, a small indie team from Serbia of all places. The game allows you to play as 3 different types of locomotives, 2 of which can be unlocked the better you do at tasks. The goal is to haul freight on time without damaging cargo or going off the rails. The more risky the task is, the better the payout. For instance, something that is Hazmat (hazardous material) such as fuel which can be explosive will have a bigger payout than materials that are not explosive. The locomotives that you drive (a large diesel loco, small diesel shunter, and a steam engine) have to be cold-started and run just like a real engine, so if you're looking for a VR train simulator, this game won't disappoint. The difference is that from the ground up, this game is meant to be a game just as much as a simulator, with set tasks, unlocks, and secrets to find.

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It's an absolute blast to play. Part of the fun in these games is to have a good balance of resources. For instance, if you're going up hill on a steam engine, you may have trouble keeping up steam, so you'll have to hold off on giving the engine water (which decreases steam intake) until you reach the top of the hill, where you can then fill your engine with water. You can also hold off on the throttle going down hill to save up on steam. You may also have trouble getting moving if you have a long train, which can cause wheel slip on the rails, so adding a bit of sand might help with traction. This adds a lot of replay value especially later in the game, since as you progress to bigger and better jobs, things get more complicated. There are so many variables of things that can happen and need to be checked, even if all you're doing is moving in a straight line. It's even fun just to mess around and crash things just to see what happens.

The devs are also very good at keeping updates with the game. They have weekly patches, which comes with a video of all the major changes they've added. This helps illustrate what things are changed rather than just a boring changelist. The devs are also very responsive in their Discord server, and the people there are also very nice. If you have a chance to pick up this game, even if you don't have a VR headset, I'd say this game is worth it. You won't be disappointed.

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