Aug 18, 2014
Transport Tycoon is a well tweaked blast from the past that allows the player to build a transport empire from the ground up. Is it a wheely good time?
This version of Transport Tycoon is actually not based on the original TT, but an older game known as Locomotion, also by the legendary Tom Sawyer. The basic idea is still the same though: the player starts in a land full of factories, coal mines and towns must construct a robust transport network to get goods where they need to be and passengers to their destination and make as much money doing it as possible.
To do this the player begins by constructing roads and railways if needed then the stations and depots for their vehicles. Goods can be shifted by a fleet of buses or trucks, but the real money is in a high quality rail network. This can shift massive loads of resources across vast distances quickly.
For example: the player sets up a small rail network to deliver coal and ore from mines to a steel mill. A truck station is built nearby and a fleet of trucks begin transporting the valuable metal to a nearby factory. The factory then creates goods, which are loaded onto a ship and shipped to a distant town on the other side of the map. That town has an airport, shunting passengers to another distant town and back in their passenger jets, raking in the cash. Of course other companies are out there vying for a bigger piece of the cargo pie. TT is all about building infrastructure in such a way that transport using it travels as quickly as possible.
TT has a great control system. A great touch based interface replaces the mouse cursor of yore and building global transport networks is a snap. A solid tutorial eases the player into the game as well.
Transport Tycoon features lots of fun scenarios, which range from making certain amount of profit to reaching a certain company rating. The large number of scenarios helps give the game focus and provide fun challenges.
Transport Tycoon has a few caveats, however. Road vehicles really need rebalancing as they carry little cargo and have a hard time paying for themselves. Trains and aircraft are much more efficient, so there is rarely a need to have a large road based network, which is a bummer for those who would like to try making a trucking company. The game also lacks an easy way to replace aging vehicles, so the player periodically has to trawl though their few dozen vehicles looking for superseded or unreliable older models.
The most major problem however is the rather broken way laying rail and road works. The game is incapable of levelling tertian without player input and even the slightest sideways slope or uneven land forbids anything being built on it. Laying a long stretch of rail to one area of the map to another usually involves fixing 15-20 squares of land at the least in lots of either 1 or 4. This was a major problem in the original game as well. Players of SimCity will be very frustrated.
Still Transport Tycoon retains all the depth and satisfying strategic gameplay the original had and with an active development forum and a driven fanbase the game can only get better.