Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Enjoyable underground station management sim Overcrowd leaves Steam early access

Tubular hells.

Overcrowd: A Commute 'Em Up, SquarePlay Games' wonderfully compelling underground station management sim is, after around 15 months in Steam early access development, pulling up to the platform marked Version 1.0 for its full release today, 6th October.

On a basic level, Overcrowd sticks closely to the classic management sim formula; you'll build, research, and hire staff, keeping a watchful eye on budgets and an ear toward your customers' needs, so as to, in this case, create a thriving network of interconnected underground stations across the fictional sprawl of Lubdon Town.

I played Overcrowd a fair amount at its early access launch last year, but popped back for a proper go of its near-1.0 release this weekend, and while I haven't delved exhaustively into its depths yet (so can only vouch for its first few hours), I've had a thoroughly enjoyable time messing around in its engaging, beautifully presented sandbox.

Watch on YouTube

There's a wealth of expansion options and plenty of strategic tinkering potential as you attempt to juggle Overcrowd's various interlocking pieces to achieve maximum commuter satisfaction - crowd control, staff management, infrastructure, commercial opportunities - and it's delivered with a wonderful degree of polish. Even simply expanding your floorspace feels enormously satisfying, thanks to the little animation touches that cause individual tiles to sproing into existence from deep within the earth as you drag your mouse about the place.

And while there's no handcrafted campaign, Overcrowd's alternative seems more-than-sufficient. Its network sandbox mode offers up a procedurally generated matrix of stations - each usually little more than plots of land with tunnels running beneath them - and you're never quite sure what awkward layout you'll need to try and squeeze your bustling transport hub into next. Rather ingeniously too, the loosely defined structure encourages you to constantly return to stations whose objectives you've previously met, using newly unlocked items and options to improve your original efforts and increase efficiency across your entire network.

If you fancy giving Overcrowd: A Commute 'Em Up a punt yourself, there's currently a 30% launch discount on Steam to celebrate leaving early access. It's priced at £10.49 until 20th October, at which point it increases to £14.99.