City Island 3 Review

City Island 3 Review

Feb 3, 2015

City Island 3 plays somewhat like a simpler version of SimCity. The player begins with a empty island and must construct a city from the ground up. Houses are placed for your citizens to live in and just like SimCity it is best to construct ones that hold more people to make maximum use of space.

Businesses can be placed as well and these are the ones that generate money for the player, using a familiar timer based system. Businesses must be staffed with employees and thus you need to balance the amount of houses and businesses so there is always enough staff to crew your profitable businesses.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-07-26-52City Island 3 isn’t anywhere near as complex as SimCity though. Besides the business and citizens ratio there is no tax rate, special buildings or the like and gameplay basically boils down to placing whole lot of buildings and grabbing cash when it is ready. There are different kinds of terrain and some buildings can only be constructed at certain locations like lava or the beach so unlocking new islands in the game is required to build everything. It is a bit of fun building different looking cities. It is still the same gameplay no matter where you are though. It takes a very long time to unlock islands and purchase all the land plots as well.

City Island 3 is far more generous than most freemium city builders. Players can construct or upgrade 5 buildings at once, much more than most games allow. The game also has fairly short timers and money comes in fairly fast. New buildings are also unlocked pretty quickly. It does have a premium currency, in this case gold bars. After building a few of the better buildings and business, building more requires small amounts of bars to construct rather than cash. They are also used to speed up timers.

Screenshot_2015-01-31-07-15-30City Island 3 has a few full screen ads. The game itself lampshades this with a popup notifying you that the purchase of any in app purchase will remove all ads and that they are required due to the expense of developing the game. There aren’t too many ads, but when they do show up there is no warning and they are full screen. These interruptions are irritating.

City Island 3 looks good. The game is very colorful and there are vibrant beaches, green grass and each building looks very different to each other. It is still rather hard to construct a varied city though as there are only a few house designs. The sound could be much better though as there are previous few sound effects and no city ambiance or sound effects to speak of.

City Island 3 is a long way ahead of most other city builders on Android. While it is a bit simple, its generous freemium features and large amount of content make it an enjoyable game for fans of city building. More hardcore players will be better off with SimCity however.

SimCity BuildIt Review

SimCity BuildIt Review

Jan 16, 2015

Electronic Arts didn’t do very well with its latest PC entry of SimCity. It messed up with a bunch of different stuff, so I had high hopes for this mobile version of the game. And, well… Guess what.

When you think of SimCity, you think of a time being a mayor. You provide houses for the people of your city and also appropriate buildings for services like the police and firemen, energy, water, and so on. And although things like that are still possible, it is not that same as you would imagine it to be. But is that a bad thing?

If you do like the traditional SimCity gameplay, than yes, it is a bad thing. But since this is a free-to-play game, you have to consider the waiting time you need to endure while playing this game. And SimCity was, at least for me, always fun, because you could do anything you want, when you wanted. Well, if you had enough money, but it didn’t took the game long to give you some. But even though I still needed to wait a bit longer on my money, I always felt connected. Engaged, if you will.

simcity buildit 3

In SimCity BuildIt, that is not the case at all. Being the free-to-play title that it is, it constantly presented me with those waiting times. Of course, it is inevitable and understandable, but I wonder if the development team stopped and questioned itself if this was the right way to go for the series. Because next to thinking logically about placing fire departments close to a residential area or putting a factory as far as possible from it, there isn’t most of the management or stragetic gameplay the series always offered.

The game has been heavy simplified if you ask me. You start with a factory, farm its resources and build a residential area from them. When they’re all done, you get some coins and with those you can buy more utilities to keep the city from going dark or without water. Th bigger the city gets, the more utilities it needs – so you’ll have to keep on repeating the above process to expand.

And quit frankly, this isn’t much fun. It feels like work. Ironically maybe the work of a real mayor. But when I play a game, I want to be entertained. I don’t mind learning a couple things along the way or do mandatory stuff to proceed, but SimCity BuildIt, how promising it looks (no really, graphically, this game looks fantastic), it all work and no play.

1849, a 19th-Century City Manager, Confirmed to Release on Android on May 8th

1849, a 19th-Century City Manager, Confirmed to Release on Android on May 8th

Apr 21, 2014

1849 3

1849 is inspired by classic economic simulators like SimCity and features 20 different growing cities in California that the player needs to improve and manage, facing all the challenges of living in the time of gold rush. The game will be released on the 8th of May, but you can already play its early access version here if you are in a supported country: 1849 on Google Play. More details can be found here: 1849 Website.

The Hills Are Greener: Concerns Raised by Always-Online Games and DRM

The Hills Are Greener: Concerns Raised by Always-Online Games and DRM

Mar 11, 2013

The rise of the internet has done wonders for gaming, but there’s been plenty of new annoyances thanks to digital distribution and internet connectivity. No one who got a Sega Genesis for Christmas had to worry about updating the firmware before playing the new Sonic game. And in modern times, forced online connectivity is having an impact on our games. Look at EA’s SimCity. Or don’t, because all you’ll get is the inability to login.

For anyone making online-focused games, the rule is to always have servers ready. Have many of them ready. Do not let people who want to play be turned away due to technical reasons. Especially for major companies like EA, who have major marketing campaigns behind their titles, the fact that they have let SimCity become a server debacle is embarrassing. However, there wasn’t a lot in the way of positive harbingers for EA, as they took months to get The Simpsons: Tapped Out back on the App Store. The game now does extremely well, so there’s no telling just how much revenue they realistically lost by not keeping that game up and running. And with SimCity sales shutting down at some retailers like Amazon, they could be missing out on more money. Plus, people that want to play the game cannot because EA could not provide the experience they advertised.

However, there’s a secondary component to fearing online-only games, and that is digital archiving. Digital distribution is fantastic and convenient, but DRM makes it harder to preserve these games. We can easily go back and play Super Mario Bros. but how will we play games like Temple Run in a decade or two? Android is better for this because it’s easy to get APKs for games without DRM, but Google Play’s billing services and license confirmation could be an issue. Still, Apple’s DRM, especially for games, has been cracked in the past. In a way, while piracy can have an effect on the sales of games, it’s also doing a great job at preserving games, because those files may exist in a freely-accessible form somewhere. Pirates are doing good things in a way! But still, for other technical reasons ,we are at risk of someday losing access to the kinds of experiences that have defined a generation of gaming. Digital should not mean that we lose what we have.

I’m not saying that digital distribution is evil, because it is not. Digital can provide tremendous access that physical distribution fails at. But just because we can distribute games (and other forms of media) digitally, it does not mean that we should lose the physical aspect of it, because we should lose a generation our culture due to technological advances over the long-term. And in the short-term, the digital revolution is causing new problems that should not exist. Developers and gamers should consider how the games they make and support respectively have an impact on the culture, not just if they are playable.