My interest in Cities: Skylines was triggered the same way it was for many others: SimCity. This long-awaited return of a legendary franchise was met with excitement from fans of the franchise, but the cheers turned into boos shortly after the game actually released. SimCity 2014 was, in many ways, a perversion of what the originals were: creative sandboxes that let you develop and manage a city designed by you, with you limited only by your creativity. Unfortunately, this was not to be and SimCity turned out to be an overly constrictive, shallow experience where the tiny map sizes limited any creativity that might've reared its head around the corner. Then Cities: Skylines came, which fit right into the city-sized hole left by SimCity.
Cities: Skylines originally released in March of 2015, and had most of the features that were absent in SimCity: large, sprawling maps that could house your next metropolis, a ton of tools to play with in addition toSteam Workshop support, making the game essentially infinitely replayable due to the vast amount of content available for the game. Cities: Skylines has four expansion out as of writing this which all add new toys to your arsenal and lets you play around with new mechanics like managing your city's heating and preparing for possible natural disasters. Now we have the (aptly named) Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit expansion, which has in it a variety of new tools and features that'll help you to realize your dream public transport system.
Designing the flow of traffic through your city can be quite challenging, especially if you're trying to balance form and function. The roads in your growing metropolis quickly turn into deadlock, which means that employees can't reach their place of work in time, or cut off your industrial zones from new shipments. Public transport helps you alleviate some of these problems by giving your citizens easy access to it, making it a better choice than taking the car. Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit adds several new modes of public transportation to the game, giving you a range of options to design the best infrastructure for your city. The most impactful additions to the game are the transport hubs. No longer do you need to construct multiple buildings to allow citizens to easily switch from taking the bus to taking the metro without having to walk from one station to the next. These save up quite a bit of space so your city both looks better and flows better because of easy and quick access to public transport.
In addition to the new transport hubs, this expansion also adds in some new tweaks to existing mechanics. Train stations, for example, now have the option of only allowing cargo trains to stop at specific stations. Mass Transit also adds in new one-way train tracks so you can further customize your train routes. It's also possible to enable intercity travel in your stations, allowing your citizens to grab a direct train to some location outside of the map without a train having to stop at every station it encounters on the way there. You're also able to use completely new modes of travel like ferries, zeppelins and (my personal favorite) monorails. All you need to do is slap down a transport hub and lay down the tracks and boom. . . you're in business. The inclusion of ferries in Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit also brings with it the addition of new wide canals you can use to beautify your areas and plan ferry routes. While small canals don't allow for more than one ferry at a time, the wide ones will allow for more than 1 ferry route at a time. This allows you to create complex zones in your city and connects them with other neighborhoods by using the new tools and options for public transport. However, it would've been nice to have gotten more kinds of roads with integrated support for trams, trains, and monorails. Currently, you have a 4-lane road with integrated train tracks, but if you want to upgrade a 4-lane road with tram tracks to something with a little more capacity, you're out of luck until someone on the Workshop figures out how to make them.
Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit has quite a few quality of life tweaks and additions that should make building your dream city a little easier. While originally a mod you'd have to download off the Steam Workshop, this expansion adds in visual aids for road building and zoning. You'll be able to use line guides to lay down your road plan, making it easier than ever to connect your neighborhoods to main roads and areas without having to download a mod. You'll also be able to add and change street names, allowing for further customization of your city. Other new improvements to help you figure out which areas are causing your citizens problems include a map layer that displays any given citizen's traffic routes so you can see their preferred routes to and fro their place of work or home. This means you'll be able to use more info when designing alternative routes to relieve some of the congestion you may have in your city center. Many of these new ways to provide you with data will be patched into the game when Mass Transit releases, regardless of you owning the expansion or not. A nice gesture that'll give you new things to better play the game with without having to purchase an expansion that you may not have what you're looking for.
I found the expansion to be noticeably buggy in a way that previous expansions weren't for me. I've had several occasions where the game wouldn't let me open menus and the game kept getting stuck in a save loop that wouldn't let the game save my game. I had to quit the game the old fashioned way by ending the process in the task manager and I lost quite a bit of progress as a result. Hopefully, this is just because the version I played was a review copy of the game.
All in all, Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit is a wonderful addition to what already was a rather robust city builder. With this expansion's focus on public transport, you're forced to think even further ahead when you're building new zones. Before this expansion, I was never really interested in building a rail network, but I'll be damned if I didn't spend a significant portion of my time designing a (really ugly looking) network for my city. Because the difficulty of the game gets higher the longer you go, having more things to use allows the game to become even more complicated, and that's a surprisingly nice experience after the 100+ hours I've put into the game as of writing this. The expansion adds a reasonable amount of content to the game, once making Cities: Skylines the best choice out there for prospective city builders.
Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit was reviewed on PC via Steam using a copy provided by the developer.
Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit adds more than enough new content to make you want to return to the game. The new transport hubs are handy, and all the quality of life changes make Cities: Skylines even better than it already was if designing your city's public transport network is your thing.
- Handy New Transport Hubs
- Zeppelins and Monorails
- Quality of Life Changes
- Light on Non-Traffic Content
- Occasionally Buggy