SimCity is one my favourite games of all time. I have always preferred the simulation style games right from the days of Ceasar and all the SimCity titles right from the start. SimCity Deluxe is available for the iPad and there was obviously no question that I had to have it. I was also curious to know how such a complex game with so many things to keep track of would be able to stay true to it’s fans when it came to the sheer amount of information that you need to keep track of and also the whole building of things part where you can require very precise movements, especially when your city becomes large.
I got the game from the App Store and at 99mb odd, it is obviously a lot smaller than the desktop versions. It is also a lot smaller than some of the other iPad games that I have downloaded. To a long time SimCity player, the interface is very familiar. However, you will immediately notice the “dumbing down” of the whole experience right from the start. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I will come back to this later.
The game loads quickly and the cities that you may have also load without much delay. There are a number of starter cities available in the game, but I was irritated that all the starter cities were actually all fully developed cities, where you weren’t able to do much at all. However, there are challenging scenarios that you can play. Those were better.
When you first start with a new city, you have the usual options to set up. These include the city name, the mayor name, the city size, the starting year etc. All the usual options that we are all used to. Yu will also notice the new options of power line and pumping automation. These options ensure that you don’t have to worry about laying power lines or pipes in the game. A long as your power plants and water pumps have enough capacity, water will reach everyone in your city. This is a help in the game. Thankfully for the purists, it is optional and you can proceed without turning them on. The game also supports a left handed mode.the desktop version.
You can also choose whether you want the built-in music to play or if you want your iTunes to be the source of music in the game. Guess which one I generally choose. A of now, there are only the standard set of buildings that you get. There is no option to change the building set as you have in. There is also very little you can do on the landscaping front. You can basically just choose your water and land distribution and tree density. In-game, there are no landscaping options at all. You can plant more trees though.
When you start playing the game, you quickly realize that the game has been set up to be a lot easier than the desktop version. By easy, I don’t mean that the game controls are optimized for the iPad or anything like that. I mean that it is very difficult for a player to mess up. Your city will start making profits extremely easily and it is not easy to go into debt. You can also ignore the usual warnings for a lot longer. In fact you can ignore warnings till something drastic happens. For example, if your water pumps are getting old, there are no gradual indications that there is a problem. Also, the ticker will, for no reason show you warnings for water shortage many times during the game.
Building is extremely accurate. if you are at a decent zoom level, you can very accurately place objects on the grid. All placements require confirmation either explicit or implied by moving on to the next item. you can resize zones by using handles on the edges and also move the whole zone before confirming the position. When you place items, all other structures become translucent to help you with the placement.
If you are a novice in the SimCity world, this can be a good primer on how to play this game. Unfortunately, if you are a veteran, you may be bored fairly quickly. Mainly because the game is a lot easier even without the help of Auto-Plumbing and Auto-Power Lines. The whole city area gets filled up really easily and then you simply have to wait for new business offers and awards to be available as time goes by.
The major disappointment for me, which I hope EA can add to the iPad version, is the lack of Region Play. This will ensure a lot more engagement for me when it come to the iPad version. All in all this is not a bad game, and if you love SimCity or are just starting up with it, I thing you should get it.
Since it only takes a few hours of play to have your city up and humming along, you can use the rest of the time to wreak havoc on your citizens using the disasters. That’s always fun right?