Nov 8, 2011
Virtual City brought the city-building genre to the Android platform with strong game mechanics, and solid game design. The game offered all of the city building features you’d expect – you have to keep your population up, keep your citizens happy, and provide transportation and shipping routes to keep your people happy, and your factories producing products.
The original Virtual City taught you how to go about building an effective city by using a very structured approach to gameplay. The game contained a series of missions that first taught you the basics, and then taught you some of the more advanced details of city building. Virtual City Playground pushes all of that aside in favor of pure, simple city building. The game does include a steady stream of objectives to give you something to shoot for, but in terms of structure, you won’t find very much of it in this game.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. The sandbox gameplay found in Virtual City Playground is actually quite enjoyable. The only goal is to build your city up, and keep your people happy, and that into and of itself is extremely enjoyable. As with the original, you’ll have to set up all of the structures necessary to keep your city running like a recycling plant, a shopping mall, and various landmarks, The sole difference between the two games is that Virtual City guides you through the game with missions while Virtual City Playground just provides simple optional objectives.
For the most part, the lack of structure doesn’t hurt Virtual City Playground… or at least that’s true if you played Virtual City. Newcomers to the series will likely find the game overwhelming, as it does nothing to guide you through the various menus you’ll have to navigate in order to get anything done. If you are new to the series, and you’re not interested in the mission-based Virtual City, it’s still a good idea to play the demo before diving into Virtual City Playground. There’s a lot to do, and a lot to understand about this game, which is what makes it a great city building sim. Unfortunately, that also means there’s a steep learning curve; a tutorial would have benefited this game greatly.
Despite lacking a tutorial, Virtual City Playground is still a great game well worth playing if you enjoy city building sims like Sim City, or Cities XL. then, at the low low price of “free”, Virtual City Playground is a must have game.