Transport Tycoon needs no introduction, but I'm going to introduce it anyway. You see, as popular as this title was, many of us managed to miss it. Actually, that probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. A game about transporting people and products around isn't exactly the easiest sell. Yet if you take the time to dig in, there is a wealth of content here that's sure to hook you for a very long time. But while the the interface is now completely touch friendly, it doesn't make diving into this game any easier.


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Getting Started

Transport Tycoon first launched in 1994 to both critical and commercial acclaim. Its creator, Chris Sawyer, developed one sequel a few years later before handing over the reigns for future releases. This Android port of the original game was designed and directed by Sawyer himself. His company and development partner Origin8 recreated the game using the code of the original release, and they concentrated their efforts on revising the controls for touchscreen devises. The remainder of the game remains largely untouched, and unfortunately, it shows.

I didn't play the original title, so I can't compare and contrast every possible detail that's changed since the PC title hit store shelves two decades ago. What I can say, though, is that the materials provided to explain the game to new players frankly don't do the job well. The help guide is literally that, an info dump that serves more as a reference than any sort of tutorial. You could teach a college course using the content available within. This wouldn't be so bad if the interface didn't look like, well, something brought back from the 90s. In all honesty, it would be easier on players to just kick them out to an online wiki than to expect them to glean information from this abominable mix of colors and UI elements.

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The three provided tutorials are easier to follow, but they are still especially text heavy. I wasn't confused at any point during the hand-holding process, but I walked away feel more overwhelmed than anything else. Over half of the UI elements were not touched on, and clicking around to decipher them myself left me feeling like I was trying to drive a car I wasn't prepared to drive.

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New Controls

From the sound of things, implementing touch controls took up the bulk of the development team's energy, and their efforts did not go to waste. Touches are responsive, and were it not for the dated graphics (which are obviously not faux-retro), I would have no problem believing that this game was originally developed for Android. You can drag the map around with the touch of a finger, use pinch-to-zoom to zoom in, and spin two fingers to rotate the map.


Actually, that last gesture offers a less than pleasant experience. The map rotates instantly, and while this may not be all that jarring when clicking the rotate arrows adjacent to the compass in the top right corner, it's disorientating when relying on the gesture instead. Still, this does little to detract from what is a job well done.

Inconsistent Graphics

Transport Tycoon looks old, except when it doesn't. You see, screenshots would suggest that the graphics have been untouched since the game's original release. But as it turns out, the new interface looks completely different, the UI has just been given a pixelated appearance that helps it fit in with the remainder of the game.

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Unfortunately, the new elements don't always match up with the old. The high-resolution splash screen that first opens with the game gives the impression that you're in for a more modern experience than you would expect. The title screen actually does a good job of providing a retro-feeling modern interface, but as soon as you click on any menu item, the feeling of polish fades. The text is sloppy, leading to a UI that feels like it was slapped together as a rushed school project. This new font persists throughout all of the game, but I feel this was one aspect of the appearance that would have been better off left untouched.


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Since the original Transport Tycoon's UI elements would look fundamentally out of place on a mobile device, the team had to come up with a new look that matches the old one. Unfortunately, they didn't quite nail it, and the game feels a tad stranded between being a simple port and a thorough remake.

Returning Fans, Jump Here

For you guys, I'll keep this simple. Who cares about the graphics, you already know what to expect. Who cares about the help guide - you already know how to play. Put bluntly, you already know you want this game. So here's all you need to know. You don't have to worry about anything that would truly ruin your experience. There are no IAPs to concern yourself with, I didn't experience any crashes, and you now have the ability to upload saves to Google Drive. This is a big deal, because when it takes this long to learn and master a game, it's a shame to have to start over when switching to a new device.


So have you bought it yet? Good, because you're going to enjoy it.

Everyone Else, Should You Hop On?

This isn't an easy question to answer. Overall, this is a solid game. It's lengthy, it's engaging, and even with the relatively high $6.99 price tag, you're getting your money's worth here. But you're going to have to be patient. The learning curve is steep, the tutorials don't quite do a good enough job, and you might play for a while feeling like the kid who was taught to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. If you choose to board this train, you will likely enjoy where you end up, it just may take longer than you'd like to get there.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Peter Farac


  • Herman

    Am I the only one who remembers there was a rumour about Rollercoaster Tycoon to be released on Android as well? It should've been released in the first quarter of this year according to those rumours.

    I'm still waiting to this day...

    [Dutch] Source: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/85164/rollercoaster-tycoon-komt-volgend-jaar-naar-android-en-ios.html
    EDIT: English source as well: http://www.pockettactics.com/news/ios-news/atari-dusts-off-roller-coaster-tycoon-for-an-ios-android-release/

    • Zach B.

      You have NO idea the anticipation I have for this to happen.

    • Kcls

      Yeah, a lot of people are wondering where that went haha.

    • James Francis

      Last I heard it was due in November.

  • Danny Holyoake

    So is this Google Drive integration somehow different to the Google Play Games Google+ integration? Why do they both exist?

    • RC

      My guess is they derped that.

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      Size constraints on google play ggamesstorage i assume

  • Mn_1

    What an ugly game!!

    Damn we are in 2013, why they haven't used beautifuller graphics...

    Look at Simutrans (open source equivalent to TT), it's way way beautifuller and it's free!!

    • thartist

      Just a question; is it beautifuller?

      • RC

        Beautifuller - fuller of beautifuls

        I wouldn't take advice from someone making up words like that. As an avid Transport Tycoon player for 16 years now, I almost peed my pants when this was announced. Do you think I care about graphics when I can have that gameplay?

        • Mn_1

          You, probably not... But other peoples do!

          You're right, the gameplay is excellent, but why they didn't used better graphics, I mean more precise textures... I downloaded it on my 10" Sony tablet and my eyes got hurt! It's horrible on a tablet!

          For that price, they could leave the choice to the player to play with old graphics (for nostalgic persons) or with newer textures...

          • Rami

            Why is Minecraft so famous and have so many players, when the graphics are way more horrible than Transport Tycoon? not to mention the many many news games that comes out with pixelated graphics, that are winning many awards.

            I love Transport Tycoon the way it is, I prefer it to stay with the "old" look than all 3D realistic objects.

          • Mn_1

            Minecraft is not ugly, even if the game is simplist, the graphist are not bad, on a PC or a tablet it's good!

            You haven't understood what I said.

            For example, here is a screenshot of Simutrans (open source TT-like) (with pak128 graphics) : http://imageshack.us/a/img706/1033/9iu.png

            The game stay the same (not 3D or things like that) but the textures are better, and the developers who done that do it for free!!!

            Compared to that, TT looks very terrible on my tablet (you must download it to see), it's a shame to ask $6 for that, for only an adaptation of an old game, no new graphics or other...

    • lol

      My thoughts exactly! I couldnt have have put it any beautifuller myself.

  • hocestquisumus

    wo cares about any android game when dungeon keeper is about to be released. electro deus!

  • Pawel Kraszewski

    Before I throw away another 6 bucks...

    Did they backport any OpenTTD extras? Bridges taller than 1, extra train traffic lights types (or whatever traffic lights for trains are called), big stations, etc?

    • Sandro Mantione

      This. Otherwise all the people who alrdy played this game are better off with the OpenTTD port in the playstore, which is free. OpenTTD has so many little tweaks and most importantly, they fixed the train ai.

    • Rami

      I Love OpenTTD, I can't play anything else than that.

      For example does this game have the feature to buy shares in competitor companies? I love that feature, as it is what happens in the real world, big companies buy startups, and I always do it in OpenTTD.

      I forgot what features from OpenTTD are new to only OpenTTD, I have been playing it since long time.

  • Marcell Lévai

    I love this game! But I must say, it's not a good port...

  • android apk

    Download Transport Tycoon free for your Android Smartphones & Tablets.

  • Alexander Gee

    I like the old retro graphics. What I don't like is the insanely terrible looking semi gloss curved drop shadowed junk UI they've placed over the top of it.

  • Buddy

    Just get OpenTTD, it has many more features, is much more stable, and (with zBase) supports high-resolution extra-zoom graphics