Igor's Blog
Programming, DIY, Games, Hacks, and Tech

Visually, SimCity BuildIt is a stunning game. I was really excited to get it to try it out and at first spent a fair amount of time playing it. The excitement quickly wore off as I realised that it is just another one of those 'grind to build' or 'pay exuberant amounts of money to make progress' kind of titles. Of course the slant is heavy towards getting you to purchase premium currency.

I've been playing various SimCity games since childhood, I even played it on a Mac Colour Classic back in primary school. SimCity has always been a pure game of strategy with nicely defined goals and familiar game play that relied on your skill, not how much real cash you were willing to spend. With BuildIt, all of this went out the door. It would be stretching the truth considerably to even call it a SimCity game.

In BuildIt, you can only build certain amounts of buildings at a time, there is a level system and you have to keep micromanaging resources like wood, seeds, nails, hammers, etc. The resources take time to manufacture in the limited factories or stores you are allowed to create. Of course you can skip waiting if you use premium currency (did I mention it costs an arm and a leg to buy?)!

I didn't get much further than this into the game purely because of the its grind aspect and the fact that to do quickly you have to pay really turned me off. I would have been prepared to pay a good amount for the game up-front (say 20$ - this is a mobile game title after all) rather than having to put up with the freemium model. Some games pull off freemium really well (Simpsons Tapped Out is an amazing example), others like BuildIt completely fail and at the same time manage to put a black mark against what is a fantastic game franchise.

Here are some screenshots though, the graphics are great for something you are playing on a tablet. I especially like the fact that day and night look distinctly different and the lights from cars actually illuminate buildings, etc.

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This game could have been so much more, it's a shame EA took this approach with it.

-i

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