EA Mobile games released the classic SimCity for the iPhone. Having played SimCity Classic, 2000 and the Palm OS version, when I heard about this version, I knew it was going to be on my short list of wanted apps. Truth be told most of the games in the AppStore are worthless, so spending $9.99 on a game series I’ve enjoyed before didn’t seem like a bad deal.
It’s essentially SimCity 2000 + a few things. If you liked 2000, it’s a pretty safe bet the iPhone version won’t be a let down. You can of course save your game and keep it going for months since this isn’t the typical 5 minute iPhone game.
Controls on the iPhone work surprisingly well. My biggest gripe regarding controls is that when you place an object on the grid you can move it around before committing (this is necessary since there’s no hover on a touch display like there is with a mouse). I don’t mind the committing, but when moving an item off the view it doesn’t autoscroll. This makes moving an item further over, or simply zooming out a little tedious. My other gripe is that some things like adding a pumping station require too many clicks. Perhaps remembering the last selected item in that menu would cut down on the number of clicks. None of these are deal breakers, but places where some polish could be done.
Graphics are very good. To get around the performance problems of scrolling with a large city whenever you scroll it shows the colored grid rather than rendered buildings. This works well. I did notice that with the Earthquake disaster on a large city, things got choppy and it hung for a second. Not terrible, but perhaps something they will address at a later date. Some of the options panels can also be a bit slow to load. Loading saved cities is the most sluggish part of the game. I hope they can improve on some of the remaining performance stuff in a future release.
The game is very complete, though I miss the SimCity 2000 ability to raise/lower terrain. It is clearly something I can get addicted to. Graphs, map overlays are all there to assist you. I was a little surprised you can’t connect to a neighboring town though.
Since I promised some people screenshots, here they are: