As one of those who spent countless hours playing good old Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Cities In Motion immediately popped up on my radar as something genuinely interesting; A tycoon game built around running a public transportation system. Pretty screenshots and videos also helped - shiny visuals are not mandatory for a game like this, but if a developer chooses to actually use my high end video card for something, I'm all for it. As a bonus, Helsinki is included among the cities, so I can finally show those Helsinki City Transport guys 2219 how these things should be managed...
Cities in Motion sets you up as a manager of a city-wide public transport company with a goal of providing public transport services for a large metropolitan area. The game includes four cities - Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna and Helsinki - and spans 100 years, from 1920 to 2020. Available hardware and cities themselves evolve as time passes and ultimately the gameplay reminds me a lot of Sim City in that the game is very open-ended and does not include any competitive elements. Your company is the sole provider in the city and you are free to implement your dreams of ultimate network (within the limits of your budget) in the Sandbox mode with three difficulty levels and a custom option to set starting conditions as you wish.
There is also a Campaign mode that includes 12 scenarios that you have to unlock by completing them, in order. Each scenario sets you in a specific city and starts from a specific year, with some existing infrastructure already in place and a goal or two already laid out for you to complete. As time passes, you are given a series of tasks, mostly directing you to build routes between designated areas of the city. You are usually free to determine yourself how to implement these tasks, yet sometimes you are given specific requirements - say, a tram line from A to B with 3 trams on it. Campaign also includes three difficulty levels but no custom option. You can also replay any scenarios you have unlocked if you want to try a different solution.
Public Transport Tycoon
Compared to the good old Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Cities in Motion concentrates completely on public transport. You can transport people with a wide array of vehicles but the game doesn't take the economic simulation beyond a simple overall economic graph that affects expected wages and ticket prices you can ask - cities do change over time, but not depending on your transport coverage (or lack of it), so the only long-term indicators of success are your funds and the general happiness of the public.
Buses, Trams and Metro form the backbone of the game - Metro trains are perfect for main arteries of traffic due to large capacity and high speed. Metro can be built underground, on ground level or on raised platforms over the streets as appropriate. Trams act as second tier for high density areas that have enough traffic to support the cost of laying down tram tracks. Buses take care of the lightly populated areas around the fringes. Water buses and helicopters round out the selection and while waterways are important in Amsterdam, usually these are delegated as curiosity items. Trains and train stations do exist, but they are outside the scope of the game, acting merely natural as transportation hubs due to the amount of traffic they draw.
Cities featured in the game do resemble their real world counterparts in general layout but they have been scaled down, with some strategic cuts to make them fit to the scale of the game. Instead of millions of people, Cities in Motion gets somewhat abstract with just tens of thousands of people living and working in the city. On the upside, traffic and pedestrian movements are simulated in great detail and you can go and look at every single person and determine where he lives and how he uses the transport system. Usual side-effects of such abstractions are unavoidable - trips across the city take months and both customer numbers and vehicle capacities are unrealistic. They work if you take Cities in Motion as a game, but anyone looking for a hardcore simulation may be disappointed.
While the number of cities is limited, a comprehensive map editor is included for recreating your favorite city in-game. There is no official modding support or comprehensive guides to it, but modding is definitely possible and not very complicated, as proven by the modifications already available through the official forums.
Games: Cities in Motion
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