Train Station Renovation Review – The Zen of Renovation

Train Station Renovation is what you expect, you arrive at run-down train stations, renovate them, and then move on quickly.

The simulation genre of video games has been a popular one recently. It seems almost any job ever has a simulator attached to it, and while train station renovation might not be a direct job, someone’s gotta do it. So we might as well simulate it too.

What I find interesting in Train Station Renovation is that there’s nothing inherent to the Train Station as part of the game. This easily could be a game where players flip houses or pick up public parks. Players can drop large bins for garbage and just collect trash.

There’s a zen-like quality to the game. Most of the game is about doing small pieces of the task that will be counted towards the goal of fully cleaning a level, there are counters of completion and each will climb skyward which gives the player a good feeling as they clean. This is the Marie Kondo style, where the simple act of cleaning feels good. Even if it feels a little passive as an activity.

At the same time, the levels could have been a little less dirty after finishing an area. It would be nice to see the level overhauled, instead of just pieces of the dirt and debris removed.

Still, the experience is enjoyable and players will feel accomplished as they clean the levels. Though the specific actions are a bit tedious, as expected. Players will have to collect both trash and plant life, remove graffiti dust, and grime from walls and the ground, and repair parts of the station. No level is the same but 75% to 90% of each level is the same tasks and objects to interact with.

Even the more creative tasks such as decorating an office just involve the player putting types of objects together. An office and a train station platform both ask for “benches and chairs” but an office chair or a train station bench works in either location. The game feels a little lacking for a reason to decorate a location when the second it’s done, the location will quickly be forgotten and the player will move on.

The game gives players many good tools, whether it be a paintbrush to paint over graffiti, or a crowbar to smash items into smaller pieces of garbage. Simply sandpapering the rails can be interesting. But some tools are used entirely too often, such as the paintbrush, and others like the Trowel are used on a single level.

The one tool that could be improved is the “scan” tool where players send out a sensor for objects that still require their attention. This is done through a ping but sadly that ping will only make the object glow. This sounds adequate and is for most objects but when hunting down “one last object” if the object is a little sliver of a plate or something hidden high up on the wall, it’s very easy to miss the object and spend ten minutes hunting for it. Given that I also found one object that was impossible to find, possibly having had that object fall through the floor, this tool could be far more useful.

The levels all are reasonably similar as mentioned but each has a unique task. This might be anything from draining a flooded area to moving a train into a wheelhouse and while the latter does sound interesting, in practice it’s as simple as clicking a few interactable buttons in the level. Yet there’s another level in the middle of the game where players drive a pushcart. Train Station Renovation feels like it can’t decide what level of interaction it wants to allow for the players, and while some of the unique tasks are rather interesting, most revolve around clicking the right object or cleaning up a mess you already were required to and the task will be complete.

One last part of Train Station Renovation is the bugs in the game. Train Station Renovation is a rough game. I only had one level which blocked my full completion of it because of a missing object, which possibly fell through the floor as I mentioned. A couple of achievements don’t unlock correctly such as collecting all the stars. At times my keyboard stopped working and then worked after a few moments, even though my mouse worked through the entire process.

The biggest issue is that I have network issues after playing Train Station Renovation and then switching to another online game or looking at Steam in big picture mode. I’ve never seen this issue before, and a reboot fixes it but rebooting every time I play Train Station Renovation is a rather major requirement. Having this happen one hundred percent of the time I played Train Station Renovation makes me wonder what the issue could be.

When a significant number of objects are placed in the game world by the player, the frame can tank. While most levels worked perfectly fine at first, three levels started to have major issues with my video card, and I’m running on Geoforce 2070, not the newest hardware, but with a game like Train Station Renovation, and the lower level of graphics on display here, it’s quite disappointing that the performance dips so sharply, even when looking at a wall.

Overall, the experience of Train Station Renovation is a bit passive. I found myself playing the game while my wife and I watched a program on my other tv. It’s a very relaxed and zen experience where players clean the world a bit. Train Station Renovation isn’t designed as a major experience.

I’ve enjoyed the experience here and I like the concept of cleaning up a train station, I just wish the experience was slightly better, or more polished. I finished the game in a little over ten hours. That’s not the longest, and many simulators have an endless line of tasks where Train Station Renovation has a very definitive number of levels.

I enjoyed my time and I think it’s an acceptable game, but it’s not a game that excels. Ultimately the bugs harm the final experience, especially with the level with the most severe framerate issues was the final one.

I will ultimately award Train Station Renovation an arbitrary

6/10

I honestly wanted to give this game a 7/10 but the bugs and issues with the game drive down the experience. Perhaps one day the issues will be resolved and the performance will be greatly improved, but as it stands today, the game was in Early Access for over a year, and was released at the end of last year. The devs are working furiously to try to deal with major crashes and performance issues, even though releasing the game 3 months ago.

I hope this game one day becomes a proper Zexperience because I’d love to recommend this game without feeling the need to add on a warning.

This game is currently in the Humble Bundle for February 2021. If you are interested in the game and it’s before March 2nd, 2021, consider picking up the game as part of the current monthly bundle.

If you enjoyed this review or want to know what I think of other games in the bundle, check out the full review on or subscribe to my youtube channel:

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