In the past I have looked at a number of different train games. In general I have next to no interest in trains. Yet for some reason I really enjoy the premise when it comes to video games. Pretty much every train game that I have played is compelling for one reason or another. Because of this I am always interested in checking out new train games. Released into Early Access last week, Sweet Transit is one of the newest games in the genre. I was intrigued by Sweet Transit as it looked like an interesting blend of your typical train game mixed with a city builder. Sweet Transit has a bit of a learning curve, but it is already a surprisingly addicting new entry into the train game genre.
In Sweet Transit you take control of developing a new world. Starting with a single warehouse and people trying to make a new life for themselves, its time to try and make a new successful society. Can you take control of the rails to create a burgeoning society?
If I were to describe Sweet Transit I would say that the game is one part city builder, and one part train/logistics builder.
To start each game you will begin by forming your first town. At first this is simple as you can just build some houses and people will join the town. These citizens will begin working for you as soon as you put them to work. As the town and your world begins to grow though, your people are going to want access to various goods and resources in order to make a better life for themselves. This includes such things as water, different types of food, and other goods needed for everyday life. Provide them with what they want, and you will have a happy and motivated workforce to help you continue your growth. Don’t provide them with what they want, and they will slow down their work causing bottlenecks in your entire production operation.
To truly grow you need access to resources. These resources are used to create new buildings, add upgrades to cities, and ultimately push your civilization to the next level. To do this you need to build production facilities around the world to gather resources. You will also have to add storage buildings and other supporting structures. After building the production buildings, you need to provide them with workers from your town(s). To do this you need to build a railroad network to transport workers and goods.
Trains are responsible for basically all transportation in the game between different locations. You will build a network of tracks between your towns and various production facilities. For your production facility to work at peak efficiency you need to build a strong network of tracks so you can get people and resources where they need to go. As there will be a whole fleet of trains running on these tracks, you need to design the routes to reduce bottlenecks and keep the trains running in an efficient manner. The game includes a signal system that you can use to better direct how trains should move to prevent trains from blocking each other’s paths.
Sweet Transit initially intrigued me because it combined two different video game genres that I genuinely really like. The city builder and supply chain/production mechanics in the game work surprisingly well together. The city building elements may not be quite as deep as a game that solely focused on it. You have quite a bit of control over it though as you try to increase your population so you have more workers to help you expand.
The production/supply chain side of the game works quite well. The production facilities only require you to place the appropriate buildings in an area with the associated resources. Your people will then automatically acquire the resources. Moving goods around the world is the key element of this aspect of the game. The success of your entire world is going to depend on how efficient you can make your train routes. Finding an efficient path to move goods between locations takes some skill/planning. If you don’t plan things out well, you can easily create a logjam which will shut/slow down everything.
These two mechanics are really satisfying when combined together. The game can be surprisingly addicting as you add more production areas and towns to your rail network. I was genuinely surprised by how much time had gone by when I stopped playing Sweet Transit. When you are able to figure out an efficient way to transport goods and workers, you feels a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know if there really is a way to lose the game (outside of possibly running out of money). The game is mostly built around trying to create the most efficient successful world possible as you continue to expand. It feels good when you expand your operations. It is nice to just sit back and see all of the trains moving between all of your towns/resource operations.
I would say that Sweet Transit has a bit of a learning curve though. Before you begin playing the game, I would highly recommend playing through the entire tutorial. While you could choose to just jump right into the game, I don’t know if that is going to end well. The game is quite straightforward for the most part. The game’s specific mechanics require an introduction of sorts though for you to know what you are doing. Between utilizing the different menus to knowing what types of buildings you need to build, you are going to have a hard time just picking it up without any instruction. The tutorial is pretty good at explaining the mechanics. There is still a learning curve after completing them though. This is especially true for building efficient train routes, and utilizing the signaling lights to avoid logjams.
For an early access game, I was genuinely impressed with where Sweet Transit is at this point. Based on the current timeline, it is expected to remain in Early Access until the middle of next year. With close to a year left of development remaining, the game is already surprisingly polished. The game is completely playable at this point. There is quite a bit of content already in the game where you can really start to build out your world. It is already quite enjoyable.
Probably the biggest issue at this point is the game needs some quality of life improvements in certain areas. Navigating the menus and figuring out how to do certain things takes some time to get used to. There are some minor bugs/glitches that I encountered as well. They were far from game breaking. They were more annoying than anything. I would be genuinely surprised if these issues weren’t resolved by the final release of the game.
Otherwise I just want to see more content added to the game before its final release. At this point it mostly feels like the early and mid portions of the game are in place. The later game content seems to be what is lacking at this point. More industries and resource types would definitely help. Otherwise a more concrete goal or some sort of mission would be appreciated as well. At this point the only goal in the game is to keep trying to expand your town/world.
For a game that just entered Early Access, I was genuinely impressed by Sweet Transit. The game is not quite perfect. The game could use some quality of life improvements and more mid to late game content. At its current stage though, I think the game is well on its way to becoming a very good city builder train/production game. The two main mechanics on their own are quite good, and work really well together. It is really satisfying being able to create an efficient system of train rails to deliver goods and workers between locations. The game can be kind of addicting as you work to make it more efficient while you expand.
Basically my recommendation for the game is pretty straightforward. If you aren’t really intrigued by the premise, I don’t know if Sweet Transit will be for you. Those looking for a fun addicting city building train game should enjoy their time with Sweet Transit. I can’t wait to see what the game becomes at the end of the Early Access process.
Release Date: July 28th, 2022 | Systems: PC
Developer: Ernestas Norvaišas | Publisher: Team17 | ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Genres: City Builder, Indie, Simulation, Trains
Official Website: https://www.sweettransitgame.com/
- A fun combination of a city builder with a train/production game.
- It is surprisingly addicting trying to create a more efficient system.
- Could use some quality of life improvements in the menus and controls.
- Has a bit of a learning curve as you figure out how to play the game well.
Recommendation: For those who generally like train games, and find the premise to be intriguing.
Where to Purchase: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Ernestas Norvaišas and Team17 for the review copy of Sweet Transit used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.