Top 7 Transportation Sims

Build your own transportation system with simulation games

Teen boys working on the computer in the kitchen

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Transportation simulation video games exploded in popularity in the late '90s and early '00s. They deal with either public or private systems and cover a variety of transportation modes, including cars, air traffic control, planes, and trains.

of 07

Railroad Tycoon II

What We Like
  • Challenging and satisfying strategy game.

  • Good, detailed graphics.

  • Lots of variation in gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't save in the middle of a game.

  • No tunnel construction.

  • Not a lot of action.

Railroad Tycoon II, the first sequel to the original Railroad Tycoon, is a complex and challenging transportation sim about building and managing a railroad. Strategy fans will enjoy trying new strategies and discovering which works best.

Players are in charge of more than 50 train engines from around the world and over 30 types of cargo cars.

of 07

Railroad Tycoon 3

What We Like
  • Four levels of difficulty.

  • Multiplayer component has built-in game browser to locate players online.

  • 3D zooms in and out smoothly.

What We Don't Like
  • Multiplayer mode removes Undo button and bulldozer tool.

  • Less focus on railways than in the game's predecessors.

  • Gameplay needs work.

Railroad Tycoon 3 offers an improved user interface to players of its predecessor Railroad Tycoon II. 3D graphics make their appearance in the series for the first time. Players are challenged to build a successful railroad industry and exploit the stock market while playing through 25 scenarios. This big budget entry in the Railroad Tycoon series is a worthy addition to any transportation sim enthusiast.

of 07

ATC Simulator 2

What We Like
  • Updated version of original game is in high definition.

  • Comprehensive instructions.

  • Includes a complete walkthrough for newcomers.

What We Don't Like
  • The sim is so authentic, it is hard work.

  • Lacks dramatic elements such as bad weather and mechanical emergencies.

ATC Simulator 2 has everything you need to experience the job of an air traffic controller. The graphics are not fancy because they represent actual maps used by ATCs. The sound consists of beeps and voices of pilots, but the experience feels authentic and is recommended for anyone who is considering entering this career field. This PC game doesn't require an internet connection to play.

of 07

Traffic Giant

What We Like
  • Large, life-like cities.

  • Thousands of vehicles and pedestrians.

  • Fun to play as traffic manager.

What We Don't Like
  • Simplistic gameplay.

  • Transportation systems aren't constructed, you manage them.

  • Repetitive soundtrack.

Concentrate on building a public transportation system in Traffic Giant. With 25 types of transportation available to build and manage, you play to put public transportation on the right track with underground trains, trams, buses and more. The game includes more than 500 buildings, 25 means of transport, and European and American cities.

of 07

Rails Across America

What We Like
  • Complex, empire-building strategy game.

  • Very strong computer opponent.

  • Frequent come-from-behind victories.

What We Don't Like
  • More about strategy than trains.

  • Insufficient explanation of goals and game mechanics.

  • Instead of running trains, you run a railroad company.

If managing and building empires is something you enjoy, you'll like this train sim game. In Rails Across America, your job is to make decisions for a railroad company and build a successful empire. The timelines stretch from the mid 1800s to the near future. This is a real-time strategy game with hundreds of tracks and thousands of trains crossing the North American continent.

of 07

Chris Sawyer's Locomotion

What We Like
  • Superior strategy game after you master the beginner scenario.

  • Good depth of play.

  • Lots of options and ways to complete tasks.

What We Don't Like
  • Almost a duplicate of Transport Tycoon with few improvements.

  • A lot of trial and error in the game.

  • Building a road or a railroad is frustratingly difficult.

Based upon Transport Tycoon, the goal in Chris Sawyer's Locomotion is to build a transportation system between cities. Transportation is not limited to only trains, it includes buses, ships, trams, and other methods. The graphics are a bit outdated, but the gameplay is addictive.

of 07

Airport Tycoon 3

What We Like
  • Contains features not available in its predecessors.

  • Design, build, and maintain your own airport.

What We Don't Like
  • Lengthy tutorial.

  • Lackluster execution.

Design, build and manage traffic in Airport Tycoon 3. Choose one of the cities in which to manage an entire airport. You'll have to make deals with airlines, set up security, and manage traffic congestion. You are in charge of placing runways, airplane hangars, and terminals as you design your airport. This version of the Airport Tycoon games adds a few interesting twists but still suffers from lackluster execution.