Last night I didn't get very much sleep. Not because I was up late watching a movie or starting New Year celebrations early. I didn't get much sleep because yesterday I downloaded SimCity BuildIt on my tablet.
The first SimCity game to be offered on mobile devices, SimCity BuildIt, by EA Games, allows users to build up their city, while trying to keep their citizens happy and gaining resources along the way.
At the start of the game, users are guided through a tutorial that explains how it works. They build a few "residential zones," a town hall and a factory to generate resources. Residential zones are essentially where the user's citizens live, and they are free to build, though limited in how many you can build at certain levels.
Factories are an important part of the game, able to generate iron, wood and plastic, which can be used to build new buildings and upgrade existing ones, or to be turned into tools and other products. For example, the iron can be turned into nails, which can also be used to upgrade buildings.
As the user's city grows, more resources will be needed to add and upgrade more buildings.
The graphics of the game are great. The detail in the playing field is quite intricate, and while the game doesn't try to look "realistic," it does achieves the cartoony feel that it was going for quite well.
SimCity BuildIt does have some drawbacks, however. Many prefer to pay a few dollars outright rather than play a game using the "freemium" model, where the initial game is free but to advance at a reasonable pace users need to buy things in game. In this case, users can pay to have more of the in-game currency, which is needed to buy more buildings.
This would be fine if users could leave the game for a while and come back after earning some more money (Simoleons is what the currency is called in the game), without having to pay real money. Unfortunately, however, there is a certain level of pressure put on players to spend money. For example, I ran out of Simoleons right when power in my city ran out. Not only does this mean that I had to build more power stations, but the longer I wait, the lower the overall happiness of my citizens goes. And why shouldn't it? They're living without power! Unless, of course, I spend real money, to get in-game money, to buy a power station and restore power to my citizens.
SimCity BuildIt, which is available for both Android and iOS, will bring back childhood memories for a lot of people. And while the game is certainly fun to play, it can get a little frustrating not being able to advance at a reasonable pace without spending money.