Transport Inc. is a new strategy management game that places you in the role of CEO of a new transportation corporation. It has a laid-back art style and a chill theme with minimal complexity. This is one of the easiest tycoon style games for new management gamers to start with. For those who have experience in this genre, Transport Inc. is one of the games you pick up to just have a chill time at. This review will go over some of pros and cons of Transport Inc and will also highlight the unique features that other games typically miss out on.
Overall, this game is perfect for anyone new to the management tycoon genre because of its easy to start gameplay and the casual theme. You can fully control how fast you want to expand and the game offers various settings to allow you to stay ahead of your competitors while going at your own pace. There is also a reasonable amount of depth if you want to try your hand at micromanaging all of the individual vehicle routes for maximum efficiency. You can either pay no attention to the overall profits as long as you are positive, or you can dedicate more time to figuring out exactly how to maximize your growth. This style of game is appealing for new and old players alike – but experienced players may find the total features slightly lacking in depth.
Transport Inc has a system where you have to manage how much you pay your employees or they end up going on strike. There isn’t too much depth to this since you really only have a slider that dictates total pay, but the feature itself is great to make things more realistic. As the company expands and time goes on, it is natural for your workers to want more money. This system forces you to consider which vehicles and transportation routes are worth keeping late game. You may have to spend some time digging around the “Routes” menu to figure out which buses can be better allocated elsewhere. Increasing pay pre-maturely also leads to less profits that could be dedicated to expanding your company. However, leaving the pay increase too late could lead to a costly strike that you have to pay a bribe to end. This in itself can set you back – but adequate monitoring will allow you stay ahead of the game.
Country License System
To expand your corporation into other countries (or states), you have to purchase a operating license. Large countries and states will require more money to purchase the license – it can go from $60,000 to even $200,000. This feature adds an interesting strategic component to the game where the player has to consider whether or not the license is worth the investment. Instead of $60,000 going towards more vehicles and routes in your existing territory, will the new territory provide more profitable opportunities? To answer this question, you can check out our beginner’s guide for tips on when to expand. You will have to manage your funds to ensure that you have enough cash remaining to actually take advantage of the new territory while still being ambitious enough to seek out these new opportunities in the first place.
Transport Inc. allows you to hire managers that can automate when your buses, trains, and planes are sent off to depots for repair. This prevents the player from being crushed by the huge amount of micromanaging that could occur late game once you have dozens of vehicles all over the map. However, this manager system does come with a cost. The initial cost to hiring a bus manager is $25,000, and buying a depot is another $25,000. At the start of the game $50,000 can go a long way to increasing your profits and growth. The player will essentially have to decide at what point the automation is worth the investment cost. Again, this feature adds to the realism of what the cost of a corporation may look like. Larger companies will need to spend more on management employees to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Likewise, the train and plane managers cost a lot more and purchasing enough depots for all of the vehicles will be another few hundred thousand dollars. Check out Tip #2 in our beginner’s guide for more information on when it is best to hire managers.
Bank Loans and Interest
Like with most business tycoon games, Transport Inc. has a system for taking out loans to invest into your business. One of the biggest differences is that this game is absolutely merciless when it comes to interest rates. Any new players reading this: be very, very mindful of the interest and think extremely carefully about whether or not you actually come out ahead. If you take out a 18% loan without thinking, it can put you back several months just paying off the interest. Make sure that the new route you are investing in will generate enough revenue to actually make the venture worth it. Likewise, a well-thought out loan can definitely boost your company growth by a ton. The bank loan feature in this game is very simple, but also captures the essence of what players need to consider in taking out loans. General rule of thumb that we advise is to avoid any interest rates of over 12% since it becomes much harder to make a good return on.
Chill Music and Satisfying Money Notification
The overall vibe from Transport Inc. is very relaxed and minimizes any stress that you may encounter. Music does a great job of giving you a good atmosphere to just chill out in and enjoy the game. It definitely fits the upbeat, satisfying tone of the game. Likewise, seeing the money go up in your account is also strangely satisfying. Whenever your vehicle reaches a city, you see the passengers or cargo unload and you get a nice green popup in your screen that tells you how much you just made. Overall the developers did a great job in making this game a satisfying experience.
Great Campaign (Tutorial)
This game does a great job of creating a tutorial that draws the player in piece by piece. The campaign starts off with just the basic bus routes and slowly adds more and more features until you are expected to just run the company successfully. I can see how starting this game in freemode with just a few tooltips can be extremely confusing. This approach does a great job of keeping the player engaged. You don’t have to worry about not being able to pick up on the different aspects of the game as long as you finished the campaign.
Natural Disasters and Sabotaging Competitors
There are a variety of complications that spice up this game. You could meet a natural disaster that shuts down all of your routes to a city, or you could experience a boost to income from holiday trips. Anything can happen to both you and your competitors and forces you to stay on your toes. The sabotage system in this game also adds a light level of strategy where you can do things that effectively put you ahead of your opponents. It is not necessarily overpowered, but it definitely does give you an advantage. This feature is enough to give the game that competitive edge, but not overwhelming to the point where it becomes more of a fighting game.
Vehicles automatically run even when empty
There is no option at the moment to stop the vehicle from running the route if it is empty (due to ticket prices being too high). This results in an empty vehicle running all the way to its destination and costing you fuel while generating no income. There should be a default option that allows you to stop this from happening. This is especially annoying for new players who don’t have a good sense of ticket prices yet. You could leave things as the default and vehicle could just run with no delay – resulting in a player being set back a ton due to lost income. See Tip #3 on our guide for how to manage this issue.
Star system is poorly designed and provides little feedback to the player
It is a good idea to have some sort of feature that dictates required vehicle quality and how that can affect ticket prices – especially when taking into account the size of the city and needs of the customers. However, the current implementation is faulty in that the user really has no clear idea of how the train stars match up to what the route needs. The general idea of larger cities requiring more stars makes sense – but there needs to be more feedback for the player to use. At the moment, the best way to avoid this issue is to micromanage and change up the ticket prices through multiple trips to find out the best price. However, there should be a system that allows you to copy over the same prices for similar routes once you have discovered one that works. It is very tiresome having to do the same thing over and over again for each and every single route.
Currently you have to go back and forth between the routes menu and the actual train where you can change the ticket price. This adds needless clicking and should be improved so that the player can easily see which routes need some micromanaging. The UI is also a little confusing since it isn’t very clear which number is the trip profit and which one is monthly. A hover-over tooltip would be a great fix and allows the player to see more information about their vehicles.
No option for partial loan repayment
Transport Inc. does not allow you to repay your loan partially. You either have to repay the whole thing, or you just have to get hit with the full interest. Not entirely sure if this is an intended function, but either way it is very frustrating to not be able to chip away at loans. There should definitely be an option to slowly work at it instead of having to do a large save-up of cash. One current fix for this is to take out another loan with smaller interest to make up for the difference you are missing and repaying the loan that way. This can be considered as a way to “refinance” loans to a better interest rate. See Tip #6 on our guide to overcome this issue.
FPS drop late game
Depending on your set-up, you could completely avoid lag altogether. However, I started experiencing some FPS drops as soon as I got more than 40-50 vehicles running (using a budget gaming laptop with 1050 Ti and i5-8300H with 16gb RAM). Keep this in mind if you have a rig that has worse specs. However, Steam reviews seem to suggest that this game runs very well even on older PCs. You may have to tinker with the options a little bit to minimize any stuttering you may experience.
Overall, Transport Inc is a great buy for around $10 and is easily worth the money. It scratches that business management itch very well and includes several features that every good tycoon game should have. However, there are a few gameplay and UI issues that have to be fixed before this game can really shine. I would definitely recommend you pick it up if you like building businesses or if you are new to the tycoon genre altogether. If you are a more experienced player, I would recommend waiting for a sale or until these issues are fixed.