Do you find that sometimes you are cursing the bus companies for making you walk miles to the nearest bus stop, just to get a bus to somewhere else? And when the bus finally arrives, you are turned away simply because it is full? Do you find it difficult to understand why, in this age of saving the planet and cutting emissions, it is still far more expensive to get the train than to take your own car? Well, in a big office somewhere is a person that makes all of these decisions about where to put stops, how many buses to run and the cost of tickets. Maybe you think that you could do that job far better and make everyone happy? Well, Cities in Motion from Paradox Interactive will give you the chance to try. It’s not as easy as you think…
For those that remember, and enjoyed, Transport Tycoon back in the hazy past of PC gaming, Cities in Motion will be a welcome prospect. Offering the player the chance to basically build up an entire transport system across four different cities with buses, metro lines, trams, helicopters and ferries, they will be responsible for fulfilling the transport wishes of the cities inhabitants to the best of their abilities. There will, however, also be objectives to complete whilst making sure everyone is happy. As I said before, it is not easy.
The cities available in the full game will be Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki and Vienna and players will have access to the cities from the 1920s through to the year 2020, with a range of authentic transportation and objectives suiting the time period. There will, of course, be a sandbox mode in addition to the scenarios to give players a chance to carve their own path, and a map editor for those who fancy creating their own transport based playground.
The obvious difficulties of running this type of project are all apparent within the game. The player has to please seven different types of passenger who will each need to go from and to different places, and will each have their own views on how much money they want to spend. Achieving this balance is the name of the game and the recipe for a successful transport system. Setting the routes and careful placement of the various stops will be required in order to simply break even, let alone make a profit.
But the fickle customers and the routes are not the only thing that the player has to worry about. Cities in Motion seems to do a good job of recreating the economic fluctuations of the various cities during the various time periods. Players will need to be mindful of what is going on with the economy, as this will affect how much passengers are willing to spend, how much employees expect to earn and even the fuel expenses. Various financial institutions will be on hand to ease the burden, with each offering different terms to the player.
Playing the Beta, which included the city of Vienna, it became apparent very early on that this game offers an incredible amount of depth. The stat junkies out there will find themselves drooling over the various facts and figures available. But the game also offers a level of accessibility that will allow the less stat-hungry player a chance to join in. That being said, from playing the Beta, the game is very difficult. By this, I do not mean it is difficult to understand or get in to, but difficult to play successfully. Turning a profit is hard and the financial rewards are slow to arrive. This leaves the player with long periods of inactivity, waiting for a few spare coins with which to expand their empire.
But there is time for this balance to be addressed before the game final release next month. Besides being a very involving and rewarding game, the one other thing that can be said is that the game looks gorgeous. The level of detail in all aspects is a joy to look at and I quite often found myself just watching the city go about it’s business.
Cities in Motion will be available from GamersGate upon release.