Version Reviewed: 0.1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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As I prefer to be totally honest with my gaming experience, I feel the need to come clean: I’ve never played Transport Tycoon before. I’ve tried my hand at a fair few other sims over the years but this one just never made it into my hands. Of course now that 31x has ported it to iOS I no longer have that problem, and now I see what all the fuss is about.
Transport Tycoon is a city management sim without direct city management. Players can construct a few factories and other industrial buildings, but that’s the extent of their control over their towns. Instead, they can indirectly affect the way an area will expand and populate by creating various transportation routes across the land. Buses ferry passengers around town or even between cities. Trains haul commuters and a number of different kinds of cargo over great distances. Trucks deliver resources to factories in order to produce special goods, which can themselves be transported and distributed. A successful network will earn a fair bit of cash, which can then be used to add more routes and vehicles as the cycle continues.
So long as players aren’t diving in to Transport Tycoon expecting something like Sim City there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had. Crafting roadways to connect towns, setting up paths between factories, and finally seeing a meticulously laid out railroad track spring to life are only a few of the immensely satisfying moments to be had. I know it probably doesn’t sound like it but this stuff is honestly pretty darn fun.
The thing to remember is that Transport Tycoon is very much an old school PC sim, and as such it’s full of some rather roundabout interface elements. For example, setting up a bus route requires players to dig through several menus. They have to build the stops, buy the bus, place the bus on the road, jump into a sub-menu for the bus, then designate each stop on its route one at a time. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not as quick and easy as many have become accustomed to. However, I think a bigger problem is that the tutorial doesn’t fully explain certain concepts. It covers the basics of “How,” but not “What” or “Why.” The first time I started up a scenario and was asked to “Attain a performance index of 10.0%” I had absolutely no idea what the game was asking me to do or how to do it. An in-game help manual alleviates most of these concerns, but not all players will think to check it or even realize it’s there.
Even though it’s a little heavy-handed in comparison to more modern sims (mayhap because it’s almost 20 years old), it’s a deep and rewarding one. Fans, nostalgia junkies, and genre lovers should definitely give Transport Tycoon a download.