SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

The new SimCity game for iOS and Android may have a four-star user-review rating on the iTunes app store, but a glance at those reviews — and some time playing the game — make it clear that this city's got some problems.

I know, I know: "Oh, it's Kotaku harumphing about a new SimCity game again." But, well... have you seen what they did with SimCity for this new game SimCity Buildit?

We've got an attractive 3D game that lets you zone and build a city. That's good!

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Not so good? SimCity fans, how much do you love timer-based resource-production as the primary means for growing your city?

Let's say that you zone some plots of land for houses. In most SimCity games, you tweak the tax code, improve the roads, maybe build a police station nearby and, bit by bit, those homes improve. In SimCity Buildit? You can do some of that, but the main way you improve the residential areas you've zoned is by dragging resources to them. Take this example, where the building will only advance if we put some steel into it:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Here's another residential zone that you can develop. You'll need nails for this one:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Short on nails? You can make nails out of steel at a building supply shop (you may wait five minutes for them to be made, or you may pay virtual dollars to hurry that up).

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

You need steel to make nails. How do you get steel? You make it at a factory. You must wait one minute per steel girder (or you may pay to hurry that up). With a big enough factory you can at least fill three orders at a time:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

While you're waiting, you could develop this plot of residential land, if only you had two more hammers...

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Naturally, if you're short on hammers, just make them!

That will be a 14-minute wait per hammer, if you have the right supplies. Looks like someone doesn't have enough wood:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Where do you make wood? Factory. That takes three minutes....

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Or, yeah, you could hurry that up by spending some fake virtual dollars. Easiest way to get those? Pay real money:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

If any of this strikes you as unusual, then you haven't played a free-to-play mobile game lately.

You can play this new SimCity without paying anything. The good folks at TouchArcade have a handy guide that explains how best to do this. Nevertheless, this kind of game design gets you user reviews like this:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

"They call you a 'Mayor' but a mayor doesn't have to work in the factories and ask for more stock every 2-5 minutes, and have to collect it personally in each factory."

Yep.

Take a look at this...it's what you do in this game:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Tap-tap-tap. Collect those resources. Is this SimCity? The wait-then-tap-then-spend-then-wait formula is more FarmVille or Clash of Clans.

Another reviewer:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

And another:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

To be fair, there are people who really like the game, and they too have written reviews on the App Store. Some of them think that the people who dislike the game might just stink at it. To wit:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

Other five-star reviewers also advise patience. Play the game smartly, they say. Play it just a few minutes per session and you'll have a good time.

I was struck, though, by the following review. It's the first one that appears on the App Store. It's a five-star review. And this is what it says:

SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity

"Scam the system"

Five-star review.

You're being advised to game the game so you don't have to pay for the game. Ugh.

If a game is good, I think the people who made the game deserve to be paid for it. So the idea that the best way to play a game is to avoid all the ways it asks you to spend feels perverse.

But there it is.

There's free-to-play mobile gaming in 2014 for you, as exemplified by SimCity Buildit and its brethren. You can wait to progress. You can buckle and pay. Clearly, some people find this fun. And some people — yeah, me — just think: "Hmmm. Maybe I should go back and try that PC version again. It had its problems, but it wasn't anything quite like this."

Since SimCity Buildit is free, you can try it yourself and be the judge. Be patient, ok?


Comments

    See this stuff is gambling to me so I think it should come under the same laws. I don't care what other people think either.

    I think South Park got the message down pat on this one.

      Unfortunately that would take some ludicrous changes to gambling laws as these games give no pay outs but I agree they could use some sort of regulation, but it would just be too difficult (re: almost impossible) to implement.

      Not to mention even if those changes to gambling laws came along they would have little to no effect given the global nature of the development of these games.

      I'm just curious... care to explain how something like this is akin to "gambling"?

      I mean I can see the connections w/ the compulsion to spend to get ahead but that's pretty much where I see the similarities end. Now if the game had a "gacha" element such as random box which may or may not drop something useful. I don't really see any "random" elements here that require *mandatory* cash injections.

    Ergh. We got the Sims 4 recently, after playing it for a fair bit, we determined it's a gutted, watered down, boring re-tread of Sims 3, it's SO limited in comparison and in some cases, is graphically UGLIER and missing animations that 3 had. We liked Sims 4 initially, it seemed fun. Then the thin coat of paint came off and the turd shone through.

    So it comes as no surprise that EA would put out a bastardised, lazy version of SimCity to create money from its userbase. It really doesn't surprise me at all...

      Hey if at first you don't succeed......

      Try again and hope suckers will buy it before word gets out again =P

    So they took the old Sim City games off the store and didn't refund me for taking away what I purchased... Must be EA! (Or Ubisoft or whichever other scum is anti-consumer and gamer enemy #1 this week)

    And this why even though the mobile industry is such a big market in asia, western audiences hold such a complete disdain for mobile gaming.

    Shoehorning stupid mechanics on games that cannot function mechanically w/ a stupid paywall/timer. Again there is *nothing* inherently wrong w/ timer systems as long as your giving someone some *GAMEPLAY* in between timer sessions. I mean geebus if I wanted to watch progress bars grow I would go on my console/PC and reinstall some updates. I get the same "wating time" watching a bar progress and its free =/

    I was thinking of downloading this yesterday but the micro transactions from 0.99c to $130.00 got me saying hell no. I wonder if this game was made by the Canadian Minister?

    I thought we'd had this discussion and were told that freemium, pay-to-win casual mobile games were totally legitimate and counted 100% as "real" games?

    If this is true, what is the issue?

      See... you can't even count this as a "game" since for the whole majority of it all you are doing is looking at timers. Proper freemium games like say Valkyrie Crusade and Chain Chronicles (even Candy Crush) have some limited gameplay involved in between timers that scale w/ gameplay which means that even though you have longer wait times as you get to higher levels you can play for much longer sessions in between wait times.

      This is just a reskin of Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park mobile where all you do is just stare at timer bars all day. At best you can count theses as the mobile version of "shovelware". The irony being that a majority of western mobile game shovelware seems to be coming from "bigger" studios.

    It took a bit, we had a good patch there. Sure, there were the odd Freemium games and we all held our breaths. But now. It's all it bloody is.

    The odd game where it isn't is such a breath of fresh air. Oh, I wouldn't mind that game on a tablet. Cool, I'll just play this on my commute to work. Oh, I have to wait 30 minutes for this to build. I'll just leave it at home then.

    Just get Simcity 2K and you're laughin'. These games are frustrating and bullshit money making exercises that aren't even fun.

    A Scummy EA Mobile game full of scam and micro transaction wearing a once proud IP's Clothing... why are people shocked. like seriously?

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