RAILGRADE

Posted:  Nov 18, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Cloud Saves

Review

RAILGRADE was provided by the publisher for review. Thank you!

I haven't played many Logistics management games recently, but I fondly remember Transport Tycoon in the 90s. Sadly, the genre seems to have slipped into a bit of a lull since the early 00s. Fortunately, RAILGRADE is here to bring back some of that logistical goodness, and I couldn't be happier.

RAILGRADE40FPSStock4

You're greeted with a rather surprising electronic soundtrack when first booting the game. It fits the theme of greasy/oily trains working hard, and although I was surprised, I quite enjoyed the energetic music encouraging me to build the best rail network the land has ever seen.

RAILGRADE runs on tried-and-true gameplay mechanics, conforming to a simple supply and demand system, with a few changes here and there. A basic example of this is the Oil production chain. Oil Wells produce Oil, which should then be taken to an Oil Power Plant. The Power Plant will then produce Energy, which can be taken to the "Zeppelin" and exported for money. While this is a standard loop for this type of game, RAILGRADE switches it up with Catalysts and Upgrades.

Catalysts are secondary goods that industries can provide to boost their performance. For example, Oil Wells and Oil Power Plants can deliver Water to them. This isn't necessary for them to run, but if you supply them with water, they'll work faster and produce more resources. Upgrades can be obtained by paying in-game money to improve an industry's production and storage capacity, meaning it can supply more or larger trains. These spiced up the experience and made it feel much more unique with my playthroughs.

RAILGRADE40FPSStock3 1

The game also features a "voucher" system. Vouchers are rewards for doing well in the game's missions. Each mission has a ranking system from C to S. Getting a good rank means you get rewarded with vouchers, which can be exchanged for new train engines, new industry upgrades, new songs, and more! The exciting progression offers new ways to create a better rail network. You can also replay missions, giving you another chance to craft a better track and a higher score.

I had a great time playing RAILGRADE, and it's a competent management experience. And with more updates promised by the developer, the game will keep giving in the future!

RAILGRADE - Steam Deck Performance

RAILGRADE runs and looks excellent on the Steam Deck. Even on low settings, the game looks appealing and returns fantastic battery life results. We can reach 60 FPS on higher settings if we run at a higher TDP and sacrifice some battery life.

The menu layout is simple and practically designed for a gamepad, and the controls work beautifully with the Deck; you shouldn't have any trouble controlling the game with the default controls.

16:10 resolutions are also supported, so there are no black bars for you to worry about above and below the screen. We can change many graphics settings and scale the UI, although I found the default UI scale to be just fine for the Deck's display.

Recommended Settings - 40 FPS

RAILGRADE is a strategy game where 60 FPS isn't strictly necessary to have a good time. 40 FPS is a perfect target to aim for, and in my experience, I barely noticed the lower framerate when playing.

This means we can save some battery life, but first, we'll need to drop settings down to compensate. We'll want everything on the low setting except Texture Quality, which we'll keep at Supreme.

RAILGRADESettings40FPS

In SteamOS, you'll want to set a refresh rate and Frame Lock of 40FPS/Hz. We can lower our TDP down to 5W now, which gives us a significant saving on battery life for not much visual sacrifice, in my opinion.

I much prefer to lose the graphical niceties and drop to 40 FPS to gain close to 2 extra hours of battery life. With these settings, you can run the game for around 4 hours.

Performance Settings - 60 FPS

Since the game isn't too demanding of a title, we can avoid having pretty high settings while maintaining 60 FPS. We don't even need to hammer the battery that hard. Here, we're disabling Dynamic Resolution, Enabling VSync, Disabling the in-game FPS cap, and setting AA to Low and Terrain Detail to 0x0. Everything else should be set to Supreme quality. Here's an image for you to copy the settings if you wish.

RAILGRADESettings60FPS

You'll also want to put a Frame Rate limit of 60 in SteamOS and a TDP Limit of 10W.

With these settings, we get a good-looking game, and we can still hit 60 FPS most of the time, with occasional dips to 57 or 58 FPS if we zoom out and spin the map. I expect around 2 and a half hours of battery life at these settings, which is pretty good.

Accessibility

There are a couple of excellent accessibility features included in the game. You can adjust the UI Scale between 70-150%. However, I found 100% to be just fine on the Steam Deck, with the UI already being a pretty generous size. You can also disable the Day/Night effect, which may help some people with impaired vision. We also have a streamer mode for disabling copyrighted music and remappable controls, although the preset controls worked well for me.

Conclusion:

RAILGRADE is a fantastic little strategy game. The story mode is enjoyable, with a great progression system. I would have loved to select an environment type and generate a random map with a few customizable settings, and a free-play mode would be great. Still, the developer has stated they plan to add a sandbox mode to the game with procedurally generated maps. There are no details on when this will be.

The gameplay loop in RAILGRADE is satisfying, allowing you to gradually unlock better and more capable trains, improve your facilities/industries, and keep aiming for that best rank on each mission. It's all about creating efficient rail networks; if you have the mind for it, it will be a blast. The missions feel designed so that achieving the best rank on the first try will be difficult, encouraging you to go back with better trains and aim for that high score... or maybe I'm just not very good at it? Who's to say? Regardless, sitting back and seeing your complicated rail network just work is a great feeling.

Ultimately, this is a solid game and one well worth checking out if you like logistics management games, and it runs great on the Deck!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out the rest of the content on SteamDeckHQ! We have a wide variety of game reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you're looking for newstips and tutorialsgame settings and reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we've got your back.

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

RAILGRADE runs just great on the Steam Deck, and anyone looking for a logistics management game should check it out!

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
Steam Profile

Community Rating

1
0
0
0
Let us know what level of playability you consider RAILGRADE to be. Help our community determine the viability of playing this game on Steam Deck!
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$17.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Should SDHQ re-evaluate this game review?

Other Builds
Performance Build - 60 FPS
SteamOS

Limit

60

Refresh Rate

60

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

10

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

1280x800 Windowed Fullscreen

Dynamic Resolution: Disabled

VSync: Enabled

Max FPS: Disabled

AA: Low

Post-Process: Supreme

Shadows: Supreme

Texture: Supreme

Effects: Supreme

Terrain: 0x0

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

16W - 18W

70C - 75C

~2 Hours

related Settings

file-emptycrossmenuchevron-down