SimCity

SimCity is a classic sim game that hardly needs to be introduced. It is possibly the most influential thing to ever hit the computer and from it stemmed a completely new genre of games. You play the mayor and your goal is to cultivate and care for your brand new city and its residents. With an almost overwhelming amount of things to keep track of, this game is definitely not something you’ll get board of easily.

When I first heard that SimCity was on the iPhone, I was actually quite skeptical. That’s quite a hefty game for EA to try to fit onto the iphone’s screen. My cynical moment was quickly quelled however, by the fantastic way they managed to piece everything together. This is no low-fat diet meal. You get all the calories and delicious satisfaction of the original game, right on your iPhone’s screen!

One of the first things that I noticed when I opened the app was the strikingly clean look the game is wrapped in. The menus, loading screens, and options are crisp and very pleasing to the eye. The overall feel is almost futuristic with all the silver metal tones and rounded edges. Once you get through the beginning walkthrough, fans of the computer game will see that the app’s graphics are familiar and the controls are intuitive. To people who have never played the computer version, however, things may get somewhat confusing. There’s a lot to learn, but thankfully there is a tutorial mode you can play before you decide to take on a city by yourself. Once you do, there are even advisors to remind you if you need some extra help.

The controls will be a breeze for anyone who understands their iPhone. The system is very intuitive and not nearly as unwieldy as one would think. Pinching your fingers on the screen will zoom you in, spreading them will zoom out, and tapping will select. An event ticker scrolls at the bottom of the screen letting you know what the residents of your city are thinking. You can also pull up your budget options, advisors, and other things that can help if things start to get confusing. All your main building and zoning tools are listed in a pretty, organized side bar on the left. Clicking on a tool will bring up a pop-out menu that will then let you choose options for your specific needs. Everything you need is no more then a few taps away. To lay down a road, you select the road tool and then touch where you would like the road to start. You can then pull and drag the construction to the location you’d like, making it simple despite the lack of precision a small touch screen presents.

For the most part every single tool from the original game is all right there. Unfortunately there are a few minor things that are missing. Most of these are fixed by an even more affective way to go about things but the option to edit terrain is completely missing. This isn’t a HUGE deal in the beginning because there is a random terrain generator that you can edit to have certain percentages of water or forests. Once you get farther into the game however, the fact that you can’t fill lakes or flatten land will become an annoyance (especially if you’re a perfectionist like me). The one other problem that I find frustrating starts to happen once your city starts to really take off and you hit about the 100,000 population mark. The larger your city becomes the more difficult placing roads will become due to lag.

Something else that people should keep in mind is that SimCity for the iPhone is definitely a challenge. There are three difficulty levels to choose from: Easy (§50,000), Medium (§20,000), and Hard (-§10,000). I found that even on easy, getting to the point where I wasn’t teetering on the brink of negative funds took me about half a dozen tries. This will be a turn off for some, but others may welcome the challenge.

With beautiful visuals and mostly flawless animations, this full-featured sim game will definitely please the graphics fans. There are multiple save options and the soundtrack is upbeat and jazzy. SimCity oozes high production value and I strongly recommend it to any fan of this genre of game.

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