Make the little people happy by getting them to where they want to go.Am I the only person to have noticed how much time we, as gamers, spend pandering to little people? I have lost count of the number of games I have played that rely on making hordes upon hordes of miniature virtual men and women happy. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly gives my god complex a nice boost. But its not like we can treat them however we want as our success comes down to their happiness. That makes us their humble servants.
Still, at least in Cities in Motion from Paradox Interactive it is only required that we cater for their transportation needs. Get the blue collar workers to work, the students to school and the retirees to the park so that they can feed the ducks.
Cities in Motion is a transport management simulator at it’s purest. Players are required, in order to run a successful company, to provide all of the public transport requirements that their little citizens need, but with restrictions. The player can create bus routes, various different train lines, tram lines, even water taxis and helicopters. But they have to do this within the confines of the given cities layout. No knocking down buildings to create the perfect route. You get what you are given and have to make the best of it.
Players are not only treated to four realistic representations of European cities in which to ferry the little people around (Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki and Vienna), but there is also an advanced Map Editor for those looking for more of a sandbox stlye experience. However, the four cities are where all of the missions lie and they each have their own problems to overcome, along with the general issues facing someone wanting to run a public transport company. For example, Amsterdam is riddled with canals and Berlin, well, someone put up a bloody great wall.
Which is another thing. Players get to tinker with public transport in these cities through 100 years, from 1920 to 2020. Within this time period, players will have to not only deal with the general complexities of the task at hand, but also limitations in technology and differing attitudes of the little people, along with the various economic ups and downs of the era.
At the end of the day, the players success will be shown by having a nice, tidy profit. Besides making sure that the different social groups can get to the places that they deem important, making sure that there is enough space on the bus, or that the metro is being used to it’s full potential, besides choosing where to put a bus stop and hoping that it doesn’t cause too many traffic jams, besides all of this, the game is about making money. It is here that fans of other business simulators will find themselves at home, amongst statistics and graphs that allow an impressive amount of micromanagement, enabling players that are so inclined to squeeze out every last penny of profit that they can.
This style of game may not be for everyone, but even those fancying a bit of public transport management may find the difficulty levels slightly frustrating. This is not an easy game and player will find themselves having trouble just making a profit, let alone achieving objectives. Also, with only the four cities available, it could be argued that the game is a bit lacking in content. But this is not taking into account the excellent support provided to all Paradox games from both the devs and the community. I would not be in the slightest bit surprised to come back in six months and find a huge amount of additional content for the game.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game is the way it looks. The cities have all been stunningly recreated and anyone who has played one of the older transport management games will be shocked at how good a game of this type can look. This all comes at a price though, and the game requires a fairly meaty PC in order to look its best. My laptop just refused and even my PC groaned in protest.
As with most games released by Paradox, Cities in Motion will appeal to a niche market. If you are a member of this niche, someone who wants to make the little people happy and provide them with an A class public transport system whilst making a few quid, then Cities in Motion will certainly tick the right boxes. It is not without it’s issues, but Paradox have a good reputation for continued support and I am sure that all will come good in the end. But even right now, soon after the games launch, CiM is a fine game for those wishing to dip their toes into a sea of tycoon style games.
Cities in Motion is available from GamersGate