Port City Ship Tycoon, mobile ship management review

Managing a port is really a piece of cake with Port City Ship Tycoon, as we see in this review

The review of Port City Ship Tycoon shows how the solution adopted by Pixel Federation to translate the complexity of management in mobile is actually functional and can therefore be adapted, as a real standard, even in different areas while maintaining virtually intact the general structure of the game. To get a better idea of what it’s about, you can take a look at the previous review of Trainstation 2: Railway Empire, because we’re almost facing the same game, only in this case, instead of trains, we have to deal with ship traffic. The goal is to manage different ports around the world, starting from San Francisco and unlocking other naval hubs of great intensity, trying to sort the best traffic of materials and solving some contextual problems that may arise at various critical points.

Port City Ship Tycoon puts us in control of a port area with intense ship traffic

As we have seen in Trainstation, this game is based essentially on two elements: the management of naval traffic, with production and transport of resources on the one hand, and the collection on the other, which pushes to conquer new ships to be used in the fleet, with the possibility to observe closely the characteristics and enhance them in a progressive way. On the other hand, the general setting shows a bit ‘the spirit of the modeler who is the basis of this particular experience, presenting the various port areas as models to manage, care for and improve. Like any management game, this one also leverages on the innate tendency to control a large part of the players, but this does not only derive from the will to make everything fit as best as possible to fall within the parameters imposed, but also from a certain push towards the purely aesthetic contemplation of the collector of ships/models, something that clearly emerges in the menus dedicated to these.

A seaport in your pocket

The management of ports in Port City Ship Tycoon is layered and takes place through different menus related to different aspects of ship traffic, although everything is clearly very simplified and made particularly digestible even for users less accustomed to the strategic approach and more inclined to mobile titles “hit and run”. It starts from the selection of the port area (four of them can be unlocked: San Francisco, Rotterdam, Scandinavia and Japan) and an aerial view of this area, to move to several other menus concerning more specific micro-management, scaling between different levels. The macro-area allows you to see in real time the traffic of ships and select the various points of interest, which assign different tasks to complete usually related to the transport of raw materials or semi-processed objects, with the possibility of improving some elements of the map and adding new services and facilities.

Port management opens up to a kind of city builder structure

At a more specific level, other menus allow you to improve the ships in order to increase their capacity or other features, buy materials, unlock new ships and captains to perform various tasks. Particularly important is then the management of the port, which opens a real subsection apart from the game by introducing dynamics almost from city builder: in this case we have to do with a closer look at the port area, which allows you to build new structures and manage them in the best way, so as to create new areas for the production of semi-finished objects from raw materials, which will be part of the ship traffic, or expand trade and other activities. Another important element is the expansion of the fleet, which takes place with the opening of typical prize-boxes by spending the keys gained by completing missions or spending money for the various currencies in-game, and this is the aspect that most recalls the collecting.

The conquest (or purchase) of new ships is a fundamental element of the game

As befits a mobile game distributed in the form of free-to-play, all the gameplay is based on a system of waiting that push towards the micro-transactions, although these are not required to move forward. As usual, we start with micro-pause of a few seconds and we arrive rather quickly to missions that require half an hour of waiting, avoidable with the usual expenditure of gems (purchased with real money) or with a management of game time in order to fill these moments with other in-game activities or simply interrupting the session.


As we said on the occasion of the previous Trainstation 2 always by Pixel Federation, the work of streamlining and simplifying the strategic management applied to mobile platforms is appreciable, because in this case it is a sort of reskin of the same game in naval version, but the game remains very basic and shallow compared to the more “serious” representatives of the genre. As a pastime for a fruition on the fly on smartphones is nice, but the progression is extremely linear and guided can bore quickly and can hold up just until the unlocking of the four ports or until it lasts the drive to collect the many collectible ships available. Micro-transactions remain the other fundamental problem, so we recommend the download to those who don’t get frustrated with the constant waiting, managing to balance activities and game sessions.


  • The good balance between management, construction and collection is reiterated
  • A good deal of activity to run in parallel
  • Interface perfectly built for mobile use
  • It is a simple reskin of Trainstation 2: Railway Empire
  • Really very simplified and overly mechanical in progression
  • Waits are ubiquitous and must be managed so as not to run into micro-transactions
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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