The transport simulation genre has been woefully underserved in recent years as publishers believed the genre to be unpopular. Studio Colossal Order dared believe differently and released a quaint little title – in a good way – called Cities in Motion some two years ago. It proved successful enough to warrant a sequel, this time with a 3D engine that can actually render curves. In Cities in Motion 2, that silly Amsterdam map with square canals is now a thing of the past but I would soon learn that not everything was tackled so expediently…
Like its predecessor, Cities in Motion 2 starts you off as the CEO of a transportation company, charged with providing a city with mass transportation. Transportation simulators traditionally start you off in days past, with century old vehicles that can be replaced when new technology become available. Cities in Motion 2 does none of that as it only simulates modern day cities with – a decidedly limited amount of – modern day vehicles. There are no horse trams here, or trains running on coal, there are only ‘newfangled’ means of transportation to choose from.
A short but playable tutorial will show you the ropes of building your first lines and after that you can jump into the sandbox or play the campaign. The campaign is largely forgettable, offering up a number of generic, unimaginative missions that you will also get during the sandbox game. In the latter, at least, you can decide to forgo a mission when it bores you, during the campaign you cannot.
A day in the life
I’m big on using tram lines as the backbone of my mass transit systems. I prefer to lay tracks in grids and fill in the gaps with bus lines that connect less populous and out of reach areas to the grid. Once I have adequate coverage, I like to zoom in on population demographics to see where extra and direct lines can connect groups of individuals to workplaces, shopping centers and other high-traffic areas. You don’t actually need to. If you pay enough attention to your lines and assign vehicles smartly, pretty much any system will work.
Cities in Motion 2’s maps are much bigger than they were in its predecessor and the ones that ship with the game show a lot of variety. The cityscape is filled with concentrations of industrial areas, suburbs, shopping areas and high-rise apartment buildings. The city’s population is equally diverse and dispersed, which means people from all walks of life will require transportation in many different directions. Blue collar workers will be happy when you connect their houses to the factories and students will want easy access to their university. You’ll have a harder time discovering specific buildings on the map than you would in the original, but everything is still there.
New is the ability to draw zones so that you can charge extra when people need to travel through more than one zone. Ticket prices can be raised or lowered independently per line, per zone, per two zones or for people traveling the entire map. Your popularity with the city’s denizens influences how much you can charge before they complain, which is the only application of the popularity metric that I managed to discover. Being wildly unpopular in most of the games that I have played, no one asked me even once to step down to make room for someone else to run the transit system.
New 3D engine allows for more natural city layouts, bigger maps, great system for zones.
No sense of achievement, no AI players to challenge you, expect a DLC frenzy.