by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Bringing home the bacon
Of course it is possible to set up additional lines nearby to alleviate some of the pressure on the really busy lines. This works especially well if you mix multiple types of transport, but beware: adding a new line close to an existing one may either add more passengers to the original line, or subtract. Don’t be surprised if you need to remove vehicles to keep the line profitable.
Whether you play a scenario or a sandbox game, Cities in Motion will serve you a number of missions from the city’s council or inhabitants. Completing missions will usually earn you a small sum of money and increase your reputation as well. For the majority, accepting a mission or not is entirely up to you. Scenario missions have to be accepted; even the ones that you know are bad for business. Replacing all the metro trains on your busy lines with ones that have a considerably less capacity, a nasty tendency to break down – and – are almost twice as expensive is never a good thing.
A good number of missions are unfortunately broken, giving you credit and cash (as little as it is) while still being incomplete. None of these are showstoppers though and I’m sure Colossal Order will have these ironed out soon enough. But there are some other downsides besides the broken missions. The worst being a corrupted savegame which happened to me twice, which is twice too much. The Amsterdam map is a little disappointing as it simply looks ridiculous to anyone who has ever visited the Dutch capital. The canals are big square blocks whereas in real life, they are horse-shoe shaped and there isn’t a square corner anywhere to be found in them. I understand the thought behind choosing Amsterdam as a playable map as the canals do offer a unique challenge, but this way… no.
I also really miss the ability to join stops together. In Transport Tycoon, adding a bus stop next to a train station would ‘meld’ them into one big stop, pooling the passengers together. I would also have liked clearer indications when new vehicles come available. The small ticker at the bottom of the screen just isn’t enough for something as important at that.
My biggest complaint, however, is the lack of AI players to compete with your own company. Playing Cities in Motion, you are all by your lonesome and can do pretty much whatever you please, whenever you please. As there is no multiplayer either, your only real challenge is keeping within your budget and this lasts perhaps 5 or 10 years before money comes in by the bucketload. While I can forgive pretty much everything mentioned above, I’m afraid that this has to have an impact on the score.
Despite some shortcomings, Cities in Motion is still a marvelous achievement. It is by far the prettiest transport simulation to date and the engine runs smooth at any zoom level. The attention to detail is incredible with beautifully crafted vehicles and buildings and you can even spot the soccer players during practice at the stadium. If you are really desperate for detail, you can simply click on any tiny person on the map to see where they are going to, where they work and more.
As you could read, there is a lot of depth to Cities in Motion, so much that I can’t describe each and every aspect of the game. In truth, even after having played a good 30 hours with both the preview and the review build, I doubt I have even uncovered all the intricacies of the game. That’s a hallmark of a great game in my book.
Veterans of the genre that have a craving for a good transport sim really shouldn’t pass up on Cities in Motion. The game is rich in features and you will be thrilled by how it looks and plays and by its ever shifting dynamics. New to the genre and intrigued but a little daunted? Set aside your worries, Cities in Motion is very easy to get into and the best introduction to the genre one could possibly ask for.
Beautifully crafted and incredibly dynamic game world.
No AI, no multiplayer.