What other game series entices you to spend hours building a perfectly balanced society and then tear it down with some unnatural disasters.
For many, the city building gaming genre begins and ends with the SimCity series which is now over two decades old. Sadly the series has been going through a rocky time and hasn’t seen a good major release in around nine years but that hasn’t stopped people continuing to purchase the older versions even today. This latest SimCity Deluxe on Android is not a port of a desktop release, instead it’s an all new version for mobile, except that it appeared on iOS over a year ago.
SimCity makes you a mayor and puts you in charge of zoning out a city and managing its budget. This isn’t as boring as it might at first sound and it can be a real joy watching your city thrive while you nurture it with the things it needs as it grows. An early city will require power, houses, jobs and a piece of road for your citizens to get around on; from there things snowball into more and more requests. Soon your citizens will demand more houses, then these new people will require jobs, shops and schooling, then when your city gets larger you’ll need police stations as crime starts to become a problem.
This new ‘Deluxe’ version of SimCity has a lot in common with SimCity 3000 graphically which means you’ll be getting some nice isometric 2D art to represent your city and you’ll also get some upbeat jazzy tunes to accompany it. Unfortunately the complexity isn’t quite up to the level that was achieved in the later PC games. Micromanaging the power and water systems can be disabled in options although structures will still need to be purchased. Garbage management, bus stops and landmark structures can also be placed, much like SimCity 3000 but other areas of the system are less advanced than even the SimCity 2000 release. Subways, highways and neighbors are all absent from this game and the land area also feels a fair bit smaller than the desktop releases.
It’s understandable that there’d be some concessions in moving SimCity to mobile although it seems more likely that some of these omissions and changes are here to make sure the game is easily accessible to those without experience in previous SimCity games, or even this style of game in general. The controls are also adjusted with the mobile device in mind and they work exceptionally well. Even on smaller screens it isn’t difficult to accurately zone out an area of land or place a road thanks to some simple handles that allow you to adjust the shape and position of an area you’ve drawn before placing it.
The hand-holding for new players isn’t always as consistent as it should be and you’ll get a plenty of mixed signals from the interface. I was constantly being informed that the water system was running great and then being told that some areas are without water. While the water system was the worst offender of this you’ll also be frequently asked to review your current ordinances, such as repealing a power conservation ordinance that is restricting power use to industry and the adviser appears to always agree with this suggestion, regardless of if the consequence of doing so will cause brownouts across the city.
It’s not a perfect version and those who enjoy the deep complexity of the PC releases might be disappointed with some of the downsizing but it’s not anywhere close to the disappointment that SimCity Societies was and it’s an enjoyable way to reticulate your splines on the go.