Fans of the original Simcity (as well as those who simply enjoy a great RTS) can squeak, hop and giggle at the release of EA’s second mobile offering in the series, SimCity Buildit. Once again, role players will return to a city where they become the mayor. The superior horsepower of mobile devices today renders the world around our city with a wonderfully detailed anime quality, and the gameplay, sound effects and music are on par with what one would expect from an RTS of this kind.
SimCity Buildit bears striking resemblances to several well-known RTS, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. The animation style is, of course, pure Japanese anime, and the gameplay has both City XXl & Civilization feel to it. The character “parties” move around the screen “choo-choo” style, with each character mimicking the movements of the leader. Experienced gamers will find more than a few references to other games in Evolution 2’s characters, items and music.
The game has a nearly flawless control system, and the camera angles are controllable on the fly — the left and right triggers will pan the camera to the left or right respectively. If a player doesn’t like the overhead perspective, it can be changed to an Ocarina of Time perspective with one button push. As to the rest of the controls, we’re talking familiar territory — old school RTS. This is a turn-based, chalk-up-the-hit-points type game. Those who plan to buy it should know this ahead of time.
Players can sharpen their skills in the “Tower of Despair,” which is basically a training ground for would-be adventurers. It’s a good idea to sharpen up combat skills in this arena, as the stakes are much lower, and there’s a lot to gain by learning how to defeat certain enemies. It really pays off in the end.
Once players accept a mission of becoming a mayor, it is now his goal to to become the best that he can bring city as much as possible. The game’s action takes place, are where the game’s few flaws come out. There are two types of city in the game, predefined and random. The predefined ones never change, but the random ones are different every time they are entered. As a result, some of the city can be overly confusing in terms of where to go next, and the repetitive encounters with the same types of creature could drive a player up the wall if they are not big RTS fans.
The sound effects work well for the title, as do the cinemas that further the story. These cinemas appear appropriately throughout, especially when the characters return to the hotel after a long mission. They never feel out of place or put there just for eye candy. The story will compel those who give it a chance. SimCity Buildit is a fast, funny, cute and thrilling RTS that combines elements gamers already love. First timers might find it a bit frustrating, but RTS fans will find it’s more of the same delightful stuff.