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Monday, January 2, 2012

Cities in Motion: Emotions Stirred

During the recent Steam Holiday Sale, I was finally reminded that the public transportation management simulation game, Cities in Motion by Colossal Order Ltd., had been sitting in my Steam game pile, untouched ever since I inducted it back in July of last year, when the game became a part of the daily tasks line-up. What began as a temptation for a quick play session to unlock the Holiday achievement quickly turned into a violent obsession however after discovering how addicting this game can be. The game was so much fun that I didn't even pay attention to what I was supposed to do to satisfy the Holiday achievement requirement. As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize that I have unlocked it until I checked its status on the final day of the sales event.

Trams... How I used to despise them.

In Cities in Motion, you basically have to establish, maintain, and improve upon the public transportation system of a city in the forms of buses, trams, and subways to name a few. The locations are based on real cities between the time period of 1920 to 2020 - that's 100 game years of pure micro-management fun if you did the math. Playing the campaign will provide you with interesting transportation network conundrums to solve but it is definitely a lot easier to get into because you are given a good amount of assistance to get your transportation business going though how you handle the requests are truly up to you while the sandbox mode is there for those who want to start from scratch. The gameplay involves the installation of stop stations before connecting them to create a line, to purchasing the proper vehicles before opening up the service to the public. Because of the huge map size, this part of the game can be a little daunting and it does require a good degree of patience. Then you get to have fun with watching your transportation system at work. The graphics in the game are not the best and there are some slowdowns too but being able to see individuals waiting at the stops as well as seeing your vehicles moving around the city from the game's top down view is certainly quite mesmerizing. To ensure success for your transportation company, you have to keep watch over your spending, manage the ticket prices, be wary of the economy, and improve upon the current services. But that is not all! You also have to watch out for the random events happening around the city that may impact your vehicle routes, influence a positive opinion from the public, manage your employees, and so much more. There always seem to be something to do at in the game even though for the most part, I just wanted to watch my vehicles moving about while hoping that my company revenue will continue to go up.

That many people are waiting at the bus stop? That can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

While I was playing this game, I recalled my own dealings with public transportation when I first joined the workforce. I didn't have a vehicle back then and even though it would normally take 20-30 minutes to drive to my work place, it actually took about one and a half hour to get there using public transportation and that involved me taking a bus to the tram station and then another bus from the tram station to the office. Thus, 3 painful hours were added to my work day. It wasn't fun. In the game, I took extra care to ensure that the proper coverage of public transportation system is given throughout the city map and I did my best to provide efficiency in the overall route planning. To be honest, I don't think I have been that successful but that is the charm of the game. There are so many different ways to approach things to produce the best results but before you can get there, the chaos that ensues is rather entertaining and hilarious at the same time. Of course, you can always be one evil son of a double decker and make it a pain for the public to use your service. Whether you are a fan of the real thing or not, Cities in Motion will make you look at the public transportation system in an entirely different light.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 4 out of 5

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