Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cities In Motion Preview!

The lovely chaps over at Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive have sent us a preview/beta copy of their upcoming public transport strategy game Cities In Motion.

If I say Transport Tycoon for 2011 then a bunch of you will understand exactly why I'm excited about this.

Cities In Motion puts you in control of organising bus, train and other passenger routes in a sprawling metropolis. The idea being that you'll need to take a look around the city first, figure out where the best routes should be then place the appropriate stops for a bus route (for example) then buy the buses required for the route from the options available and set everything in motion!

The first thing that I loved about playing this was the supreme-commander-esque zoom all the way out into the clouds ability, where you can get a birds eye view of a large portion of the city but you escape all of the traffic and people noise. It was strangely relaxing!

But getting to the game itself, I followed the tutorial for a short while, then decided I just wanted to have a good play around. Since this is the beta the campaign levels are not available yet, therefore I loaded up the tutorial town in the free-play mode and started creating routes!

I designed a route that would take a load of passengers throughout the city to the hospital, however the route was so long that people were soon piling up around the bus stops and even in the tutorial "we're super happy!" town they were getting grumpy! To solve this I added a load of busses to the route, but because of traffic build up and buses taking time to load/unload I eventually had a convoy of buses traveling along the route, sometimes only coming across one passenger to pick up!

It was like the old saying "you wait for one then three come at once!" Ah, London buses, Mr Boris Johnson (that's the current mayor of London for those that don't know) would be proud of you.

So, as is the prerogative of the player I scrapped that go and started again armed with the knowledge that I should create smaller routes to start with, however even then I found it hard to make any money from passengers. There's a fair bit of balancing and thinking to do before creating routes, it's not quite the transport tycoon "I can build my roads anywhere!" philosophy. I get the feeling this is supposed to be a bit more serious and realistic in it's design, actually caring about the different reasons passengers would want to travel to different locations for example.

Traffic is a huge problem, you need to think twice before sending your busses onto or over a main road which is much busier and could mean a delay for the bus as it waits to be let onto the road. Also making sure that stops are on the correct side of the road - which reminds me I should really check to see if there's an option to make everyone drive on the correct side of the road (the citizens of "Tutorial Town" will drive on the left if it's the last thing I do!)

So far I'm really impressed with Cities In Motion, it's the most interesting travel management game I've come across in quite some time! I can't wait to try out the campaign mode and to see all the different cities (I hope some UK ones are in there.)

For more information on Cities In Motion why not visit the official website!

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