Virtual City Review

Virtual City Review

Sep 9, 2011

Back in 1989 Will Wright created the original Sim City. In doing so, he launched a new sub-genre of strategy games. Over the past twenty years, these city-building games that originated from Sim City have graced just about every platform games are played on, and a number of city-building game franchises have cropped up.

The city building genre has finally made its way to the Android OS in the form of Virtual City. The title might be generic, but the actual game is anything but. Each level of Virtual City lays out a specific set of objectives for the player to achieve with the ultimate goal of expanding your city and keeping your population up, and your citizens happy.

You’ll have to set up public transportation, garbage collection, get supplies where they need to go, and perform many many other similar tasks to reach the goals set out by each level. Balancing these tasks against your budget can be tricky in later levels, but ultimately, victory feels extremely rewarding.

Getting things done in Virtual City never feels cumbersome or difficult – if you want to interact with a vehicle or building, just tap on it and a menu full of easy-to-understand icons will pop up. You can zoom in and out by pinching the screen to make it easier to tap on the right vehicle or building, making the whole process extremely smooth and enjoyable.

Before you go download Virtual City, there are a few technical issues you should know about. The first time you fire up the game you’ll have to wait for it to download approximately 30 MB worth of files. Doing this over 3G is likely to result in at least one failed attempt, so make sure you’re connected to a wifi network the first time you launch the game.

Purchasing the full version also lead to a great deal of trouble. You can’t just buy the full version outright from the Android Market, you actually have to upgrade from within the free version. That wouldn’t be a problem, except that when I went to do so, I received an error message saying the transaction had been refunded due to the connection timing out. My credit card had been billed, and I also received a receipt – it took a couple of days to get the whole thing straightened out. Before you go blaming the instability of a 3G connection, I was connected to a wifi router roughly six feet from my desk when I attempted the purchase.

Creating a player profile also proved more challenging than it should have been. Each time I tried to create a profile it wouldn’t stick, and ultimately, I had to delete all of the game’s saved and cached data from my phone before I was able to successfully create a profile.

These technical issues are extremely frustrating, but once you get past them, and into the game, they’re easy to forget about. Virtual City provides an enjoyable and robust city building sim on the Android platform. With rich gameplay and solid controls, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Virtual City Review Rundown

Graphics and Sound - Virtual city is light on music and sound effects, but it looks great.
Controls - The controls work very well - just tap the building, vehicle, or icon you want to use, and choose options from a simple menu.
Gameplay - You won't find a more robust city building sim on an Android device.
Replay Value - Once you beat a level, you may want to revisit it to see if you can work out a more efficient solution.
Overall - Despite a few technical issues, Virtual City manages to offer solid gameplay, and great controls.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Michael Kurz
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