Since I have been playing computer games I have been playing on an incarnation of SimCity, having always enjoyed the slower pace of builder and strategy games.
Like many people I have migrated most of those few precious moments of spare time (young family, job, life etc meaning marathon sessions of anything is never likely to happen again) to a tablet, grabbing ten or so minutes of playing an easy casual game before sleep, and currently that game is SimCity BuildIt. Sim City BuildIt is a “freemium” game, which means it is free to play, however for extra content, premium features and moving things along, money can (and is) spent.
I had been waiting a little while and hoping that SimCity would come to a tablet near me very soon (or smart phone), having been spending my few minutes on the Sims Freeplay for a while, I was glad to download and give this offering a go!
The problem with a lot of this style of gaming is that often to the player it can feel like the developer has watered it down so much you don’t feel you are getting even a starter of the original, let alone a fish course, main course or a dessert! There are limitations, bringing well known games to tablets and smartphones, the graphics for instance are always going to suffer, never quite being as fresh, intricate or detailed, but actually SimCity BuildIt’s graphics are pretty good, with enough “SimCity” about them for you to know what game you are playing. However I think the best piece of advice for this game, is to play with an open mind and do your best to forget about SimCity! See and accept Sim City BuildIt for what it is, it’s a crafting game with timers – the same as countless available.
As far as gameplay goes, its simple stuff, there are no zones, you actually add the buildings in (which are zoned as we are used to Residential, Commercial and Industrial). But then it does get quite interesting, factories create building block materials which are used to build and upgrade residential buildings, it then goes on further and the materials made in the factories are crafted to make more intricate items used to upgrade higher level residences. Upgrading your residential property garners money, and the money is then spent adding in the necessary, services and utilities (water, electricity, police, fire stations, etc). The more you make the more you can upgrade and the more your population goes up and the more money you make etc etc et el, then you can start to spend money on education, religion, entertainment and beaches etc.
To begin with I popped down my buildings in a fairly disorganised manner, but eventually you do start to have to make decisions about roads and placement because your police stations etc will only serve a set area and you want and need full coverage. Those used to playing Sim City will know that no one likes living near a factory, or a coal power station!
The further you progress, the more demands your residents will make of you – schools, parks, beaches, gambling etc and that all takes money, which is where the game can easily stop being freemium and end up on the wrong end of your credit card, because the “real” money you can spend in the game is to buy “money” to further your city further. I have succumbed, but only once because actually “real” money goes not very far at all, and you can spend a few pounds very quickly indeed!
Forget being a SimCity purist and simply enjoy this offering from EA, it’s a freemium title that you can play for free relatively well, I find it visually appealing and challenging enough for at least 15 minutes a day!
Fancy a go?? – http://www.ea.com/simcity-buildit/