Sweet Transit: Swift Expedition – Preview
Follow Genre: Sim game, management game
Developer: Ernestas Norvaišas
Publisher: Team17
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Sweet Transit: Swift Expedition – Preview

Good: Intuitive and addictive core mechanics
Bad: Needs to add goals to keep players engaged for a longer time
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

A year has passed since solo indie developer Ernestas Norvaišas’ city management sim Sweet Transit debuted on Steam in Early Access. The game hasn’t launched fully yet, but the recent arrival of Update 3, subtitled Swift Expedition, seemed like the right opportunity to take a look at what Sweet Transit has to offer so far. Should you hop on the Early Access train or are you better off waiting for Sweet Transit‘s full version to pull into the station?

When we first heard Sweet Transit’s title, we were half expecting a candy-themed game similar to Train Valley 2, but what we got is actually a city building and management simulator. Trains still play a huge part here, but the focus is more on the management aspect than it is on messing around with different modes of transportation… at least when it comes to the game’s core mechanics. After you make it past the tutorial, you are given complete freedom to develop your cities and their associated railway system as you see fit, although there are of course specific setups that are more efficient than others. You start out with a single, budding settlement, which you’ll want to build out into a sprawling city. Eventually, you’ll end up setting up new towns in the surrounding areas, with the railroad acting as the lifeline that transports materials and workers between cities.

Sweet Transit’s biggest strength right now is perhaps also its greatest weakness: the game gives complete freedom to the player, resulting in a relaxing and cathartic experience, but with no overarching goal or campaign to complete, it also lacks something to keep players motivated beyond those initial few hours. That’s not to say that Sweet Transit is a boring game. In fact, quite the opposite. This is a perfect game to unwind with after a busy day, offering just enough engagement to keep you on your toes without becoming a stressful experience that gets bogged down with micromanagement. There’s still plenty of challenge and strategy involved, but with no predefined goals, you’re pretty much setting your own difficulty. In fact, based on what we found it’s impossible to lose the game. Your progress can slow down immensely if you’re not managing things efficiently, but you’ll never fail at whatever you set out to do, as long as you are patient enough.

Deadlines and villains are non-existent here, and so your greatest enemy is resource management, both in terms of how many resources you have at any given moment and that they are directed where they need to be. This is where those trains come in. You’ll need to keep a close eye on whether or not they are traveling in the right direction, are carrying specific kinds of cargo, while also ensuring they remain operational. In this regard, Sweet Transit is like a cheap alternative to setting up your own miniature train table, especially once you start to take signals and diversions into account. We found that there was something zen-like about fitting train tracks in just the right way, and setting up intricate track layouts quickly became one of our favorite aspects of the game, even if this probably wasn’t the most efficient way to play it.

When you start a new round of Sweet Transit, you can opt to either start completely from scratch or with your choice of a pre-established settlement. Right now, starting settlement choices are very limited, but additional starting locations are allegedly coming in the future. No matter which option you choose, your first order of business is making sure your workers are happy and productive so that they generate resources that you can use to expand your city. It’s a simple gameplay loop, although you’ll want to keep an eye on efficiency, for example by ensuring you have residency buildings near where you want your workers to do their job. Sweet Transit is intuitive enough in this regard, and it’ll only take around an hour or two before you fully understand the complete ins and outs of what the game has to offer.

There is a lot to keep track of but the game never feels overwhelming, mostly because of the clear tutorial, which is supposed to be streamlined even further in future updates. That’s not to say that Sweet Transit is perfect already, but it’s on the right track to becoming a great game. We weren’t fans of the interface, for example, even though this is supposedly already an improved version compared to the previous versions. If you take a look at the update overview on the Steam page for Sweet Transit, you’ll see that Ernestas Norvaišas is aware that a significant part of the player base isn’t completely convinced by the current interface and is already working hard to improve this aspect.

Although Sweet Transit may not boast the most impressive visuals, what’s present here is perfectly fitting for the cozy atmosphere that the gameplay exudes. Add to this that the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant, and you’ve got a game where the individual elements of its presentation feel a bit lackluster, but come together to form a compelling whole. That aforementioned soundtrack plays a huge part, as it continuously evolves alongside your city-building efforts. Composer Ely Robins definitely leaves an impression here, and the soundtrack is available separately on Steam, so even if you aren’t convinced by Sweet Transit’s gameplay, we still highly recommend giving at least the game’s OST a chance. As for the graphics, we do hope that a future update increases visual fidelity. What’s present here is passable, and it fits the feeling that this is a virtual train table, but nobody is going to be overly impressed by how Sweet Transit looks. The upside of this is that you don’t need a high-end PC to run the game smoothly.


We couldn’t help but be impressed by what Sweet Transit has to offer, especially given that the game is the hard work of a solo developer. It’s clearly a labor of love, and although there is still plenty of room for improvement here, we’re sure that the game will only get better ahead of its full release. Our biggest request right now is a campaign that sets goals, because the sandbox approach that’s currently present is fun in its own right, but doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to motivate us to keep playing. Still, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Sweet Transit and return to the game whenever a big update drops, as we get closer and closer to Ernestas Norvaišas’ ultimate vision of the game.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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Sweet Transit: Swift Expedition - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Sweet Transit – Review
    April 26, 2024, 03:28

    […] Transit has finally arrived at its destination: the game has officially gone on general release. We hopped on a little under a year ago, to take an early look at what Sweet Transit had to offer bac…. Now that the final version of the game is out, we’re returning to the city management sim to […]

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