For those who has always sucked at the SimCity game franchise, you would be glad to know that this latest incarnation by EA Games isn’t so annoying… once you get used to the mechanics. Or maybe it was just me that sucked way back when. In any case, SimCity BuildIt is a much more easier (and less stressful) game for both Android and iTunes.
Starting out with your brand new city:
In the tutorial, you start off building a road. After that, you are asked to place a residential building next to the road in order to start your first residential household. What I instantly liked about it, is that there aren’t any zoning regulations and you are able to build anything next to each other (mixed usage land). Building is pretty simple: as long as you have the supplies that are asked for (steel, wood, seeds, plants, chairs, etc…) you are able to expand without any other requirements. To know when you qualify for an upgrade is when you see a yellow helmet with a check next to it. A plain yellow helmet (like in the picture above) just means that they want to build but material is missing. It is then up to you to tap on the factories to acquire that material. You can also request that the architect draft up new plans which will set you back 30 minutes but will randomize other materials that you may have to expand.
Materials and Money:
Getting materials are pretty simple. There are no prices to getting material. The only thing you have to lose is time by waiting for them to build. Your basic materials are: steel, wood, seeds, minerals, and plastic (I think there’s one more expansion but I haven’t leveled up enough to unlock it as of this post). With subsequent level ups, you unlock other factories that create more complex materials such as nails, hammers, shovels, chairs, and such. Those more complex materials are used in expanding hi-rise buildings with higher property values. Those materials take a lot longer to create compared to the basic materials (30 mins to create a hammer compared to 30 seconds for steel). Of course with many games out there nowadays, you can always speed that up with in-game dollars (that also cost real money to purchase if need be).
To build, you can tap on the various types of buildings on the right hand side of the screen to choose what you want to build. You have roads, residential buildings, commercial buildings, factories, and governmental buildings. Leveling up will allow you to place more diverse buildings around your town. Many buildings are purchased with in-game currency that is generated through taxes or selling your excess materials and others are purchased through keys that you gain when you start exporting materials through the city’s seaport. You can also obtain money by utilizing the Global Trade HQ, which allows you to visit another city to purchase their excess supplies or the Trade Depot, which allows you to place for sale your excess supplies and advertise so others would see your items when they go to their Global Trade HQ.
Compared to the old SimCity, you do not really interact much with the residents. You can see that they are unhappy by the little smilies or unhappy smilies that float off the buildings. There is also a little display that shows your approval rating (which affects the amount of taxes that you can receive per day). Sometimes you’ll get bubbles that display from the buildings. When you tap on them, you may even get a little reward– which could be an item that helps you expand the city’s storage building to house more items or to expand your land possession– so do not neglect to tap on anything. Usually any blue icon in a bubble signifies good thoughts whereas red icons mean that those residences need something and you must place something nearby to satisfy their needs. Outside of figuring out the placements of the buildings to get optimal happiness, it really is not hard to satisfy your citizens. Just keep the nasty buildings (smoggy factories, smelly sewage treatment plants) away and keep the good ones (parks, schools, firehouses) nearby. After figuring that out, my citizens are happy and I’m not seeing yellow ‘meh’ faces and more green ‘yay’ faces. Not too shabby.
The game is fun, it is not much of a hassle if you are in the ‘set it and forget it’ mood with your games. I like that I am not rushed to level up or complete quests (although the cargo ship seaport quests do have a time limit to them). I have played other freemium games that require you to check in much more than this one and I have to say, this is much less stressful compared to them. Give it a shot, who knows, you may enjoy being the Mayor of your own little cybercity.
If you are inclined to visit my humble little town, my city’s name is “Bad Wolf”.