I would say don’t buy yet. After poking around in the game over the weekend, I can tell you that it needs so much work, it’s going to take a long time to get to where it should have been for release. Smart money would be on waiting to see if that really happens or not.
Right now, it’s a buggy mess. Trucks swerve through streets like drunks, and drive through trees, or sometimes float above the roads. For $35 there’s so few vehicles, most with very boring, flat, generic paint schemes. Some good textures on the early models, but later vehicles are just monochrome, with no numbers or anything.
There’s no real grade crossings, trucks just drive through trains. No gates flashing, the signals don’t change color or move their arms to indicate aspect. No streetlights, stoplights, headlights, marker lights, no weather, no change of seasons, no day/night cycle. No other terrain but green grass and farm fields with no one working them and nothing happening. Nothing happening at the industries, but little icons pour out of them occasionally. The people walk around well enough, and the cargo moves to show you where it wants to go, but there’s very little else finished in terms of ambiance like that. The only animation they seemed to have finished, was the black smoke from the steam engines, which you will see pouring out of almost every building as they overused it to death to compensate for the monotony of the world. Industry is an afterthought at best, all branch-line work, seemingly incapable of generating enough traffic to justify the premier, high-horsepower engines you’re forced to work with.
Track laying is a hassle (no undo, bizarre terrain rules), crossings are a nightmare, upgrading an existing line or station seems impossible with out completely destroying it and starting from scratch. Signals are a confusing disaster that do not work as you may have come to expect from playing TTD, or from looking at them on an actual railroad, if they work at all. It seems to understand passing tracks, but try anything fancier than that, and you’re going to be disappointed. The city growth and people moving at the game’s core are well done, which should not be surprising after reading about the team on the game’s about page. But the game is not called City Sprawl Fever.
Urban Games has stated ” it should be clear that there will be serious updates for the game in the next weeks.” The game has been out for nearly a week, and they haven’t said or done much else since they posted that nearly a week ago. There were two small patches that didn’t really do much of anything.
I’m not saying I didn’t have fun moments slogging through the years on a small map on easy. It was fun figuring out what was going and seeing what worked and what didn’t. But I easily had as much frustration as fun. The pace and quality of updates is still an unknown quantity. If you haven’t bought yet, just wait and see when and if these patches materialize. You lose nothing if they don’t, and won’t miss much about this build if they do.