Cities in Motion, a Brutal Gamer Review.
Like getting lost in a really good book or being thoroughly engrossed in an enjoyable movie or television show, video games are a great form of escapism for many people. Some want to live the life of their favorite athletes or sports teams. Others want to single-handedly take on the world (or try to save it) in more action-packed scenarios.
Cities in Motion (or CIM, for short) is sort of an escape from the escapism of those faster-paced games. Think of it as a digital train table in your basement. You can set it up, and sit back and relax, watching the world come to life before you eyes, or you can jump in and interact with it.
The best game to compare CIM to would most likely be SimCity. However, it’s also a very incorrect comparison. CIM does have a vast and beautifully-detailed city, but the focus of the game is solely on the transit system of the city, where the player will operate a transportation company, building a public transportation network for the city.
It’s kind of like back when you played with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars (– wait, you still do? — ) only on a computer. The type of vehicles you’ll be able to work with include buses, trains (including passenger, cargo, and subway cars), and helicopters.
Like any good world/city simulator, CIM comes with a sandbox mode that allows you to design the layout of your city, from the types of buildings, the layout of the street and train tracks, the elevation of the land, the placement of lakes and streams, as well as the placement of tiny items like advertisement signs and trees.
Cities in Motion is an extremely technical game, but thankfully the tutorials are quite helpful in learning the game and figuring out what do to. Like most simulation games on PC, if you don’t grasp the concepts early on, you’ll find yourself lost very quickly. While I’d only seriously recommend the game to enthusiasts, the sandbox mode of building your own city is very fun. However, playing around with the city after creating it in sandbox mode really does require knowledge of how to actually play the game.
When it comes to graphics, if you have a really nice gaming rig, CIM will look amazing on your computer. It’s utterly mind-boggling the level of detail put into the game. It’s obvious that a lot of architectural research went into this game. Where most games rely on simple rectangular boxes with some high resolution textures, CIM takes it to a whole other level of detail. Some buildings even have animations associated with them, like the modern skyscraper with the glass-enclosed elevator on the side of the building. If you like a game with great looking water, you’ll be impressed with Cities in Motion’s water textures and animation. Utterly fantastic!
Every object in this game is so amazingly detailed that I almost want to believe more work went into designing the look and feel of the city, than designing than coding the complex simulation software itself!
While you don’t control any of the citizens or the cars and trucks directly, you can click on each person and vehicle on the road, follow it around the city, and learn more about it.
My two youngest kids watched me play Cities in Motion, and absolutely loved it. My oldest who was four wanted to know when I was going to crash some cars into each other, and I had to explain to him this wasn’t that kind of game. 🙂 My youngest, who is 18 months old, sat in utter fascination as I scrolled around the city, occasionally identifying things like “towah” (tower – see: tall building, smokestack, etc.), “cah” (car), “treh” (train). Whether your playing or watching, it makes for an enjoyable time!
As “unsophisticated” of an idea as it is, especially in an extremely sophisticated simulation, I was hoping for a destruction button along the lines of those found in games like SimCity. While you will experience disasters like a fire outside a university, there were no options for utterly devastating catastrophes earthquakes, tornadoes, or the popular Godzilla-like creature that stomps on your city and boxes your buildings.
Cities in Motion is available for $20 from sites like GamersGate. While this is an excellent price for a computer game of this magnitude, you really should have an interest in the minutia of transportation details.
Cities in Motion is a very technical game, along the lines of SimCity, but focusing solely on the mass transportation of the city. The graphics are amazing, and it’s a fun game to play around with, but unless you can really dedicate some time to learning the game, you may find the simulation part of the game to be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, there is a sandbox mode for those who want to design the layout of the city, rather than deal with the woes of a city’s transportation. Part of the fun of playing in a sandbox, is knocking everything down when you’re done. Unfortunately, Cities of Motion does not have that “mass destruction” button like SimCity. I understand why, but it still would have been fun to destroy it all if things weren’t working out so well. Cities in Motion also focuses on European cities, and while the architectural designs ranged from classic to ultra modern, it would have been nice to have some familiar American cities included as well.