Game review: Transport Fever is a challenging sim that lets you direct the course of technology and build giant cities
Balance people, places, goods and wealth to gain access to trains, planes, ships and trams, as well as a massive range of automobiles
Europeans sure do like their forms of transport. It makes sense, considering the continent’s unparalleled train system and ridiculously affordable low-cost airlines. But the almost obsessive nature that grips Euro transport fanatics can be a little frightening.
For example, take Urban Games, a small developer based in subjectively boring Switzerland. In 2014 it made Train Fever, which became a bit of a cult hit in neighbouring countries, but I’d never heard of it until the sequel Transport Fever appeared on my radar.
The follow-up, as you can probably guess, goes beyond the original’s focus on trains and into the wonderful worlds of airports and harbours.
And it’s a surprisingly comprehensive game, one that takes Europe’s impressively interconnected transportation system and turns it into a challenging construction and management simulation.
Things kick off in the year 1850, with a randomly generated number of settlements, factories and goods producers to start you off. Your job begins simply by transporting said goods from one settlement to another, bringing prosperity to its residents and creating the need for further transport to move them about.
As you continue playing, new vehicles are invented and more complex networks are created, fostering cities, building up metropolises and generally generating that crazy little thing we call modern times.
And even though you start out with something as rudimentary as a horse-drawn carriage, if you play your cards right and balance people, places, goods and wealth with precision, eventually you’ll gain access to trains, planes, ships and trams, as well as a massive range of automobiles.
Simulation fans will welcome the addition of campaign modes, which allow you to recreate such historical constructions as the English Channel Tunnel and the Gotthard Tunnel. But really, all that bored the living hell out of me, and the fun bit was the sandbox mode, where you’re given free reign to build any system you choose, money and realism be damned.
Aeroplanes randomly shooting overhead in the mid-19th century? Hundreds of trains zipping their way across each other like some crazed Escher painting? A mad 1984-like mess of a city, in which soulless automaton cars live their lives going to and from factories? You bet.
It won’t give you a fever any time soon, but this game does have its charms.