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Mobile Game Review: Sim City Mobile

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There’s a perfect balance in the original Sim City, lost in those later editions. The complexity overwhelmed the fun factor or simply laying down zones and managing the basics. That’s what this mobile edition has reverted to, while adding some minor upgrades that makes this a perfect time waster.

The interface is wonderful in this city management strategy title, perfect for on-the-go play. The left selection button brings up a list of available items to place in your city; the right delves into system options (saving, music, etc.) along with financial choices and maps. The simple cursor based placement is quick and accurate, and cleaning up mistakes is painless.

As in the original, you’ll be placing various zones in three forms: residential, commercial, and industrial. The key to successfully building a city is placement. Every thing you do has a negative and positive effect, and properly handling that mix is critical. Other concerns include crime, pollution, and natural (along with unnatural) disasters. Sim City Mobile adds a few others, including water and waste management.

Thankfully, menial tasks such as laying power lines or water pipes aren’t necessary. It would be impossible to see on the small screen in the first place. Everything is placed where you want it to be without concern. The ¾ view does cause some issues as the map cannot be rotated, and in a growing (vertically) city, laying down anything behind them is nothing more than a guess.

That said, the graphics look great, and the new sprites are a solid upgrade over the original. It’s a shame some features from the Super NES version didn’t make it. The changing seasons, even though it was purely cosmetic, broke up the dull brown landscape. Maps are smaller here as well, so expansion can be a problem if the map you’re initially dealt has large amounts of water.

Even as the city grows, the hardware (in this case the LG VX9900) handles everything without slowing down or becoming choppy. Pre-built challenges are available in addition to the standard free play, adding additional depth unexpected in a mobile title.

Newcomers are treated rather poorly. The tutorial is limited in scope, explaining none of the intricacies or common mistakes that can lead to a bankrupt mayor. New features, such as the ability to gain levels, are never explained. During the review process, a city with a population still left the player at the first level. According to the help menu, earning levels increases the amount of money earned through taxes but it doesn’t explain how to advance.

Aside from that, classic Sim City fans finally have a game that is wonderfully balanced and challenging, without the unnecessary, overbearing features of recent series entries. This is an accessible title for everyone, even if those who are fresh to the game will need a little extra adjustment time.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • I bought this game. Still at level 1. There is no help available. Great to play, easy to use, fun as always, certain maps are better than others, use maps with straightest rivers, clean up the edges of the water with terrain editer to gain better usage of land, I sometimes keep the game running when charging, make sure you adjust the game though when charging, it may ask you to save, jsut exit out of that mode back into your game, then let it run, you’ll make more money.