Cities in Motion PC
Published by Paradox Interactive
Developed by Colossal Order LTD.
Cities in Motion is a game that gives you the chance of controlling the public transport system in four major European cities. You can play through 100 years of transport history in the cities of Helsinki, Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam starting with the 1920s and finishing in 2020. There are over 30 different vehicles in total comprising trams, buses, metro systems and water buses. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll even have to deal with seven different social classes, ranging from the Blue Collars to the Dropouts, and each of these classes has their own behaviours, travel patterns and needs. Essentially then, there are a lot of things to consider and priorities to juggle in Cities in Motion.
The modes on offer in Cities in Motion are Campaign, Sandbox and Scenario in addition to a tutorial that will help you get up and running with the game. Regardless of whatever mode you play in however, the goal is to make your chosen city’s transport system as efficient as possible. You won’t want your customers to be hanging around in queues for more than an acceptable amount of time but on the other hand you don’t want almost empty vehicles as that’s simply a waste of your money and in every mode other than Sandbox, keeping a tight grip on your finances is a priority.
The basics of the game are straightforward. To create a bus route for instance you’ll place bus stops, create a line, choosing which bus stops you want on that line (which is more of a loop than a line) and then once the line is completed you’ll purchase and assign a vehicle to it (multiple vehicles can be assigned to a route). Tram lines are a little more involved as you’ll have to lay down the track. Metro lines can be taken underground or raised above it if so desired. Of course laying the lines is the easy part. You’ll have to make sure your new route is a profitable one and that you’re keeping the public happy. As we mentioned at the top of the review, there are different social classes and they each have their own needs so you’ll want to cater for these needs as much as you possibly can. Throughout the course of the game you’ll have various members of the public petition you for specific locations to have a form of public transport and it’s in your interest to try and satisfy these requests.
You’ll have to keep an eye on economic factors such as unemployment, fuel prices, electricity prices and city population as well as the coverage, financial health and reputation of your company. You can run advertising campaigns to promote your company too. The condition of your vehicles also needs to be watched as you’ll need to try to prevent them from breaking down. As the years roll by new vehicles become available and you’ll want to have the most efficient vehicles for each route. It’s also worth noting that whilst you have full control over where you place your routes and the vehicles you buy, you can’t place roads and change the face of the city although you can lay underground metro lines anyway you want. This isn’t a SimCity style game and you have to work within the limitations of each city and at times that can be really challenging.
There are forty-six achievements in Cities in Motion. These are split into four categories: Transport, Lines, Management and Odds & Ends. You’ll gain achievements for setting up five bus lines, attaining good coverage, high profits and a good reputation for your company, managing to have 10,000 passengers and other such accomplishments. The Odds & Ends category of achievements include rewards for playing the game for a specific amount of hours, completing the tasks for each of the cities (there’s an achievement for each city), owning each of the vehicles in the game and completing all of the petitions in the game amongst other things. These achievements aren’t a major addition but they do create an extra layer of focus and increase the replay value of the game to a certain degree.
When you’ve had enough of taking charge of the transport systems in the game’s included cities you can have a go at creating your own. The map editor allows you to create small, medium, large or extra-large maps set in Austria, Finland, Germany, Netherlands or the UK. The map editor is simple to use and whilst it will take a fair few hours to create a map you’ll be happy with, there’s nothing complex about the editor which could deter anyone from creating their own cities. Of course even if you aren’t the kind to spend time creating maps of your own, the inclusion of such an editor is always a bonus as it allows those with a creative flair to create maps and make them available for others to download.
Cities in Motion is a good game that can keep you busy for hours on end. However, there are ways in which it could have been better. Whilst you can zoom out, you can’t zoom out far enough and this can be a little cumbersome when trying to plot some of the longer routes. More irritating however is the lack of an undo feature. There are times when you’ll make a mistake in laying down tram and metro lines and it is criminal that you can’t undo your last action. Instead you’re forced to ‘sell’ back what you’ve purchased by demolishing it. The Scenario mode offers a grand total of one scenario which is poor and one can only hope that future downloadable content (or free updates) will rectify this disappointment. It would also be great to see maps of cities such as New York or London included at some point in the future.
The game’s presentation is actually quite good. Graphically Cities in Motion is no slouch and you certainly wouldn’t expect a game of this kind to look any better (the system requirements would be prohibitive if that was the case). Given the size of the cities and the amount of activity going on in the game the performance remains fairly decent throughout even on a PC that’s three to four years old which is certainly good to see. The game doesn’t have any speech and all information is delivered through text, numbers or icons. As a result Cities in Motion won’t pose any problems for deaf gamers.
If games such as Transport Tycoon and Chris Sawyer’s Locomotion are your thing then Cities in Motion should be a game you’ll appreciate. Cities in Motion doesn’t have the sheer depth that those older games have but it’s certainly a fine addition to the genre. The inadequate zoom out and lack of an undo feature are disappointments as is the decision to include just one scenario but on the whole Cities in Motion is an enjoyable game that will keep you busy for months to come.