Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Beautifully crafted, Sid Meier’s Railroads! is a masterful experience — as you would expect from the master himself.
  2. A puzzler, railway sandbox and smart management game. [Christmas 2006, p.100]
  3. Sid Meier's Railroads looks good and is addictive, but the small scenarios and the simple economics make it only a good game, not an instant classic. [Dec 2006]
  4. The gameplay's execution, balance, and hidden depths are simply too rare to be overlooked by fans of economic-based strategy games, railroad enthusiast, and Sid Meier fans.
  5. Whether you're an old-timer who wants to revisit the past or a noob looking for an accessible economic sim with a great theme, Railroads! should be on your shopping list. [Jan. 2007, p.62]
  6. The interface is mostly excellent, but it doesn't properly tell you why a train can't reach a station. That can drive any player to distraction. [Dec 2006, p.88]
  7. All train devotees mustn't pass on this one. In all honesty, I believe that a choo-choo addict dwells somewhere within all of us, so everyone should give the game a try or rent it at the very least. You won't be disappointed with the content and gameplay it has to offer.
  8. Railroads! is way more fun than the subject matter suggests it ought to be, which is a credit to its design team.
  9. But as complex and rewarding as building a railroad empire can be, it rarely feels daunting or tedious, which is perhaps the best thing that can be said for a game of this type.
  10. The only real problem with the game is that it sticks pretty close to its prescribed formula. You build trains, make money, and drive competitors out of business. You won’t uncover layer upon layer of depth, you’ll just get more efficient.
  11. 80
    The real fun comes in planning the best routes and laying track in the most efficient manner that also just might happen to mess your competitor up a bit.
  12. Add in online multiplayer support for up to four wannabe tycoons, and you've got the best railroading sim since the original Railroad Tycoon. Some gamers may find Sid Meier's Railroads! a little on the simplistic side, but it makes for a nice, light snack.
  13. An accessible business strategy game with choo choos - but behind the faintly sickening opening video, there's a silo full of deep fun to be had here. [Christmas 2006, p.85]
  14. A relaxing, engrossing experience that is bound to attract those who have the mindset and patience. A subtle work of art. [Jan 2007, p.113]
  15. Running the game smoothly without a good system is going to be hard, but at least you’ll be treated to some imaginative gameplay.
  16. There just isn’t enough challenge to make this the type of game that invites obsession.
  17. Fun and accessible, but should've been named "Railroads Lite." [Christmas 2006, p.103]
  18. 75
    Enriched with lovely graphics, an inviting gameplay structure and that special Meier something, Railroads! could’ve been a real gem for train simulation fans. However, with a few flaws such as simple and repetitive goals, and a game that is an absolute system hog, Sid Meier’s Railroads! isn’t as great as we expected.
  19. Anyone who has a fond memory of the original classic from Microprose will instantly fall in love with the game. Sid Meier’s decision to go back to basics after the over complicated Railroad Tycoon 3 has paid off.
  20. Sid Meier’s Railroads! isn’t a game I’d recommend for strategy fans. Most of the things that made the Railroad Tycoon franchise fun and challenging were either removed or dumbed down here, and the result is a game that might appeal to casual gamers who like trains... or it might not.
  21. 70
    In the end, it's hard not to fall a little bit in love with Railroads!, because it's just a lovable kind of game. Now if only they'd release some scaled-up maps to match the game's ambitions.
  22. 70
    Hard-core economic simulation players looking for the next spreadsheet to conquer are likely to be disappointed by the game's easy style and shallow economy. Multiplayer fans or just those looking for the model train set they always dreamed of as a kid will definitely get a kick out of Sid Meier's Railroads!
  23. Enjoyable, but perhaps another instance of the 'reviewer's trance'. That's the mildly hypnotic effect that seems to take over when games aren't dull enough to be boring but aren't exciting enough to cause any kind of, erm, arousal.
  24. A game that comes frustratingly close to excellence without ever justifying such a tag. Though the gameplay has depth and simplicity, it often feels more like a multiplayer game with single-player tacked on, than a genuine single-player title in its own right.
  25. As an introductory to the world of simulated games it does an exceptional job, and even for hardened veterans of the genre there's still fun to be had, yet without the depth of its predecessors or the hook to keep you playing for any length of time, it falls short in providing the long term enjoyment that sim games usually pride themselves with.
  26. An enjoyable game. But frankly even if it wasn’t for the bugs, the simplicity, the lack of a campaign, and the other minor short-fallings, I’d still be disappointed because when someone like Sid Meier copies a classic genre, I at least expect him to add something new and innovative to the game-play.
  27. In the end, Railroads is more like a really neat toy train game with lovely graphics than the deep strategy/business offering many were hoping for, and the comparisons to past games wouldn’t even be as much of an issue if the game’s box didn’t reference the fact that Meier started the entire Tycoon genre.
  28. Working out how the game works and how to best profit from your stocks takes an hour’s play, and from then on, it’s no longer about thinking creatively, just economising ruthlessly. Satisfying perhaps, but hardly demanding. [Christmas 2006, p.88]
  29. All of the changes make Railroads! less of a strategy game than a toy with extra challenges. [Jan. 2007, p.50]
  30. 60
    A fun game that train buffs and even non train fans will find very fun to play. However, it just doesn’t have quite the same greatness of many of Sid’s other games, especially when it comes to stability.
  31. Know this: if you're not a fan of simulation games, you won't care any more for this n00b-friendly train empire manager than you would any other sim-type game.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 52
  2. Negative: 30 out of 52
  1. Oct 18, 2013
    I love this type of games!
    But railroads! falls short many times. It's too easy, too shallow, not much of anything besides putting down
    I love this type of games!
    But railroads! falls short many times. It's too easy, too shallow, not much of anything besides putting down railroads (and I guess you can argue that that's the whole point, but I would've liked to have something besides that, something deeper, something more like transport giant or locomotion). This is basicly a children game.
    In a very short time you will learn how to win any game very fast. Then you will learn to do it with any given spawn point. And then you will quickly find out how to beat 3 AI on hardest difficulty. It took me one evening to complete almost full game.
    And that's with the constant crashes and freezes. Yes, it doesn't work good on any system and I was forced to save every couple minute or so, so I won't lose my progress.
    It could've been so much more, but in the end, it's pretty easy and shallow game for one evening.
    Full Review »
  2. ChrisvanG
    Aug 27, 2008
    Seems to be a great game till you start playing it. The crashes take all the fun out of it. I can live with things like the engines have noSeems to be a great game till you start playing it. The crashes take all the fun out of it. I can live with things like the engines have no tender and the occasional graphics failures but the continious crashes (OS Vista Ultimate) completely takes the fun out of this game. Waste of 10 Euro's. Full Review »
  3. MikeVincent
    Apr 6, 2008
    I've bee a huge fan of Mr. Meier's work for years - this product is disappointing and frustrating. Disappointing in there is no realI've bee a huge fan of Mr. Meier's work for years - this product is disappointing and frustrating. Disappointing in there is no real logic control - or challenge and the scale is just - wrong. Disappointing in the frequency of crashes. And yes, I've downloaded the patch and even purchased a new graphics card thinking it had to be my system. Sorry Mr. Meier, you really botched this one! Full Review »