I was more of a Lincoln Logs kid, but I do remember the magic of assembling wooden train sets, sliding those little nubs together and hearing them clink around when you wiggle the track to test its strength. Tracks, the self-proclaimed premier wooden train set game, is all about that nostalgic creativity. It recently entered Steam Early Access and is currently on sale for $9. After October 5, it will cost $10, barring potential price increases following large updates.
Developer Whoop Group describes Tracks as a creativity toy first and foremost. Pop into a digital living room with infinite train pieces and get building. Build loops, ramps and stations, surround them with trees and buildings, fill your train with passengers and watch them go. Or better yet, do what you always wanted to do as a kid: climb onto your trains and control them in first-person. That's the gist of the current build, but more objective-driven game modes are planned.
"The game is very much a sandbox at the moment," Whoop Group says, "but some would prefer a more structure experience and we'd like to hear from them what objectives or challenges they'd like to face in this environment."
Tracks will likely remain a laid-back slice of catharsis, but some sim-like features are in the works, most notably a handful of challenge modes. Passenger mode, for example, tasks you with building train circuits which satisfy the schedules of your little wooden passengers, forcing you to optimize for speed as well as drop-off locations. There are also plans for a cargo transport mode about—you guessed it—moving heavy cargo from place to place. Every object in Tracks is realistically simulated (though you can get silly with heights), so the added weight from the cargo will limit how you build inclines and turns.
Equally promising is Tracks' planned Steam Workshop support. For starters, this would allow players to share their tracks and download the creations of others. Naturally, there may also be room for sharing custom-built trains, buildings or decorations. These and other features will be added throughout Tracks' Early Access campaign, Whoop Group says.
Tracks began as a free prototype that we discovered back in June. The game has come a long way since then but hasn't lost its simple charm, so it's one to watch for train enthusiasts.