The Build a Train game is optimized for children. It has large buttons, bouncy background music and bright, colorful graphics. The child begins the game by choosing their train, cars and map before entering the track. There's a variety of trains that you can build and ten different maps.
Five of the maps are available at the start and the other five can be unlocked by earning points within the game. Additional bonus content like helicopters can also be unlocked. Points are earned just by playing the game and within ten minutes, my daughter had enough points to buy a new map.
After you pick your train and map, the game opens to the track and the train is pushed to the track. The train is put in motion with an on/off switch and the speed is controlled by a slider on the side of the track. The speed adjustments are perfect. The child can make the train go really slow or super-fast which is the speed my daughter prefers.
Each track has several switches that the child can tap and change the direction of the train. Besides your standard circle, some of the switches direct the train off the screen or into a tunnel. My daughter squealed with delight when her train disappeared off the screen and re-appeared on the other side.
To amuse your child, there's also a train whistle and a bell on the side that the child can tap whenever they want. The only problem I encountered is demand for the game. My six-year old couldn't help but touch the screen when his little sister was playing the game. When I turned it over to him, he was equally enthusiastic about playing the game, but disappointed he didn't have his own profile. Even my two-year old enjoyed tapping away at the game, though he had no idea what he was doing. He just liked the sounds and the movement of the trains.
After watching my children play the game over the course of a few days, I can honestly say that Build a Train is an entertaining app for younger children. It would be great for car rides or anytime you want to entertain your children with an imaginative game instead of a movie.
The Build a Train app is available for both the iPad and the iPhone. The gameplay is the same, but the iPad version is better for younger children as the large size of the screen makes it easy to tap the controls. Build a Train only costs $1.99 which is very reasonable for a child-friendly game of this caliber.