Tue. May 30th, 2023

Het lijkt misschien op <i>SimCity</i>but it plays more like a Zynga game than most <i>SimCity</i>fans will feel comfortable.”/><figcaption class=

It may seem like it SimCitybut it plays more like a Zynga game than most SimCity fans will feel comfortable.


When I heard that EA are new SimCity Social spin-off with the tagline “More City, Less City,” I hoped against my better judgment that the game would replicate the ingrained, deeply annoying social gaming mold of Zynga’s ultra-popular, ultra-simple Facebook games like Farm village. It’s hard to think of an established, well-respected game franchise with more potential to bring a little deep simulation, complex strategy, and gameplay variety to the world of popular Facebook games.

After playing around with the SimCity Social beta since a few days, but I’m a little stumped at how much that potential has been squandered. Considering how content the game is to mimic Zynga’s conventions City village without adding significant gameplay elements of its namesake, the slogan “More City, less Sim” would probably be more accurate SimCity Social.

Like others SimCity games, Social gives players relatively free rein to contract their cities with their own preferred mix of residential, business and industrial. Here, however, the decisions are more cosmetic than really meaningful to the functioning of the city. In any other SimCity game, every decision would be fraught with consequences and compromises flowing down through a series of interconnected systems: more industrial zoning could mean more jobs and taxes, but also more pollution and crime; a fire station can help protect citizens, but it also takes up a limited budget.

But there are no real negative consequences for your decisions in it Social. Of course, some decisions are ultimately better than others – one company may make more money than another in the same amount of time, for example – but even the most inefficient company will turn you into a millionaire with enough patience. The only real strategy to speak of is an incredibly basic min-maxing, to find the mix of buildings and decorations that will yield the most money and goods within the limited constraints of space and time. Beyond that, playing the game is really about mindlessly clicking your buildings when they’re ready to be “harvested” for money and goods, building more when you have the resources, and watching your numbers go up and up.

The lack of any potential for failure in SimCity Social sucks all the satisfaction out of carefully building a city. This seems to be an inherent limitation in a lot of social games. I suppose that’s because imposing negative consequences would necessarily lead to the risk of catastrophic failure, which could cause players to stop playing. And if someone is not playing SimCity Social, it means they’re not a potential customer for Diamonds, the in-game uber currency that can convert your real money into anything from building permits to time-saving “gears” to the “Simoleans” needed to fix almost anything in town. That’s right, if you want more money SimCity Social, you don’t have to worry about calibrating your tax rate or even waiting for your existing buildings to produce more. You just need to spend real money to earn fake money.

This kind

These kind of “friend or foe” decisions are what passes for multiplayer interaction SimCity Social.

Beyond that, you’re basically just rearranging your town like a glorified dollhouse, making it as aesthetically pleasing as possible for when your neighbors come to visit. This is the most “social” part of it SimCity Social. To its credit, it does its best to make the interactions feel a bit more meaningful through a wacky friend or foe system. For example, if you click on your neighbor’s apartment building, you can choose to grease their door and earn some wrath, or invite them over for a sleepover and earn some kindness. The resulting resources you get for each action are the same, but leaning heavily on the negative side gives you the option of leaving your friends prank gifts like pooping birds (which is as close as this game is fun).

But for the most part, friends are inside SimCity Social are less people to play with and more numbers to use as virtual assets for your goals. For example, one of the first “events” in the game sees a non-threatening UFO crash into the remote suburbs of the city. To remove it, invite friends to positions on the science team, such as ET Linguist and Physicist. Not sure who to invite? Don’t worry, the game will gladly suggest 50 Facebook friends to bother, many of whom probably don’t even play the game and will undoubtedly hate your wall-spam.

Such staffing doesn’t require any real sacrifice on your friends’ part – when they fire up the game, they, like you, will likely be bombarded with dozens of random requests for help or virtual goods. They mindlessly click through without thinking and without having to expend their in-game resources.

The sheer simplicity of this social transaction means no real connection is made by helping out a friend. It just becomes another chore, a business relationship where a few clicks and a minimum of attention is all that is required from both parties. Of course, if you don’t want to bother your friends (or don’t have any), you can skip the whole thing by spending your real money on diamonds, paying determined players to go “solo” through some of the more difficult objectives.

When SimCity Social makes efforts for real simulation, the results are almost laughable. Citizens will occasionally express anger or glee at, say, an occasional piece of city construction, but either way the comments can be dismissed simply by sending a virtual gift to the player represented by the citizen avatar. Fires will occasionally break out in your citizens’ homes, but luckily they won’t start until you’ve built your first fire station, and even then there’s no real risk that your single fire truck won’t be able to take out the entire city. to cover. for a very long time. There are also some companies that can pollute the city, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out any concrete consequences of all that smog.

Judging by the relatively low standards of City village clone, SimCity Social is actually not a half bad example of the form. There are plenty of building types to rearrange, brightly colored shiny things to click on, and entertaining sound effects to listen to. But the SimCity name writes a check that this game just can’t cash.

By akfire1

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