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Overcrowd turns commuting into a cute management game

Overcrowd: A Commute 'Em Up is a game obsessed with the teeming masses of commuters cramming themselves inside cramped trains and busy stations in the London Underground. It started life as a simple mobile game but has since become a PC management romp that's also due to be collected by the London Transport Museum. It's hitting Steam Early Access next week. 

While the typical management game concerns of construction, purchasing items, hiring staff and keeping morale up are all present, Overcrowd is particularly interested in the people using your station, with an emphasis on managing the flow of the crowd. You'll need to plonk down staff tactically, as well as building your station and placing items to keep the people moving.

Developers Alastair McQueen and Sarah Testori are based in London and the concept came from McQueen's commute on the Piccadilly Line. Just drifting through the Underground is a nightmare, so everyone that has to actually work there and deal with all the stressful travellers is a saint. Despite the cheery aesthetic, managing a station will presumably be a Sisyphean task. 

It's also going to be preserved by the London Transport Museum, and potentially exhibited. 

"Overcrowd is a charming creative interpretation of London's public transport network, and one that we wanted to preserve as a snapshot in time,“ said London Transport Museum's Dr. Ellie Mills. “It shows the affection people have for the system and the significance of London's transport around the world. The game was inspired by journeys across the network, and also by one of the Museum's Hidden London tours. Even without the typeface, roundels and signage, it cleverly captures something of the character and feel of the network."

Overcrowd is due out on Steam Early Access on June 6.

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.