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Review SimCity BuildIt
A good SimCity game
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 10 Jan 2015, tested on HTC One M8
Great attention to detail and visual design, cities grow in a lively manner
You end up spending too long waiting for some resources to generate, common and scarce resource timers are imbalanced
SimCity BuildIt for Android is a proper city builder that manages to stay afloat in a sea that’s full of sunken ships. The Play Store is flooded with city builders, but this one manages to look great, feel great, and not weigh you down with a heavy freemium microtransactions; though they certainly exist.
This game starts off with a heavy-handed tutorial that introduces you to a lot of mechanics that don’t really need to be introduced. It’s the same story you’ve heard before: build residential lots so Sims move in. The more Sims you have, the more money you’ll accrue over time. Additionally, there are factories to produce resources to upgrade your buildings; with other buildings offering a ton of different benefits as well.
Cities in this game feel pretty alive, but in a much different way than you might imagine. Some city builders have cars randomly driving up and down roads that do absolutely nothing but exist to make it seem like your city is building. In this game, your city actually grows in front of you as you upgrade it. A simple house eventually becomes a huge apartment complex and business become huge skyscrapers. Everything feels emergent and dynamic.
My biggest complaint is that they haven’t managed the rate that resources are generated in a balanced way. I’ll have to continuously play to gather smaller resources that are used to create more scarce resources. The common ones might take a minute or two whereas the more uncommon ones can take hours. It makes everything seem like busy work in a way that isn’t very fun.
SimCity BuildIt is much better received than SimCity 4. The game looks beautiful, and it’s amazing to see such a beautiful city expand on my mobile device.