Cities in Motion Review
Cities in Motion is a transportation network simulation game where you establish your own company and then set about solving transportation problems across 6 different cities across Europe between the 1920s and the present day. Each city based scenario has its own challenges to overcome and there a several additional side missions or jobs to complete to help you along the way.
The style is very much along the lines of the established Sim City series of games. You are presented with various pieces of statistical information such as traffic flow, network usage and popularity along with map overlays showing where your population lives, works and socialises. All of this is designed to aid you in the decision making processes around which transportation type to uses and where it needs to go to and come from. Once you understand your populations you can then set out to build your network.
There are 5 different types of transport available to you: buses, trams, the metro, water buses and helicopters. Each of these has their own particular infrastructure requirements, (e.g. bus stops, rails, stations etc). You can place your stops/stations wherever you think they are needed, join them up and complete the loops to create the lines. You then buy some buses, trams or trains to travel your lines and voila! You have a transportation system. This all sounds very simple, but then you have to take into account all of the factors that can affect the performance of the network:
- Capacity – Apparently 1920s buses could only carry 10 people
- Traffic – buses and trams can get stuck in traffic, making placement of stops and routing of rails key
- The Economy – Just as in real life the economic climate affects your company. Staff can expect higher wages, people want lower ticket prices, the interest rates available on loans can go up or down.
- Popularity – 106 people waiting at a bus stop for 3 hours quickly become pissed off, especially when the bus finally arrives and it can only hold 10 people.
Balancing your incomings and outgoings quickly becomes the key to your future plans, and keeping your population happy seems, quite frankly, to be an impossible task.
If you are into this type of simulation game, I have no doubt you will enjoy committing the many hours required to the game in order to master its intricacies. However it treads a fine line between realistic transport Sim and entertaining game. For example:
- the monetary system is confusing – your pot of cash is in thousands, but then a bus costs 170 and a ticket to ride the bus costs 4
- Infrastructure is built instantly – there is no build time. You can pause the game, build an entire railway network and restart the game with it all in place.
- Vehicle stats – A bus can only carry 10 people and has a 50% chance it will breakdown.
The interface is also somewhat confusing. There are menus and windows in all 4 corners of the screen which all interact with each other. It takes a while to work out where everything was and the order in which tasks had to be completed. On the plus side, it has the tongue in cheek humour of the SimCity games, and the graphics are great, from the realistic water textures to the trees waving in the wind.
Overall I was surprised by how addicted I became to playing this game, but I think that was through a frustrating need to at least be able to complete the first scenario, rather than enjoyment.
7 broken down buses out of 10