SimCity Deluxe (iPhone) review

SimCity Deluxe iPhone Review

We haven’t had a lot of new SimCity games. The last one was SimCity Societies (although in my opinion the last “real” SimCity game was SimCity 4 and its expansion Rush Hour). EA has made several reiterations of old SimCity games on the DS and iPhone before. Their latest edition is SimCity Deluxe for iPhone and iPod Touch.

SimCity Deluxe splash

SimCity 3000 deluxe

Graphically this game looks a lot like SimCity 3000. It has been refreshed here and there and there are some nice graphical twists when a new season hits (more on that later on). The game wasn’t optimized for iPhone retina display at the time of writing, but the game still looks pretty crisp, though you can tell the lack of retina support here and there. The menu/HUD is not obstructing your view on the city. There are buttons on the left side of the screen, that – when pressed – open new menus next to them. Navigating through the buildings, zones and other menu items is easy and intuitive. At the bottom of the screen is the news ticker with serious news (as serious as it can get in a SimCity game) as well as the weird nonsense we know from SimCity. Your current money and the amount of residents are showed at the top of the screen.

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Building the city of your dreams

When you start the game, you can start by building your own city, or by playing one of the available scenarios. These are basically objectives that you need to achieve within an already build city. Starting your own city is a lot like starting one on the PC. You can choose the amount of water and trees, but also the type of city; do you want a see on one side of your city, a river running through it, or just a big plane with grass and no water at all. Once you’re satisfied with your city plan, you can start building. This is done by zoning the three important areas of SimCity: Residential, Commercial and Industrial (RCI). Zoning is done by dragging the size of the zone on the grid of your map. You can make the zone bigger or smaller by dragging the handles on the corners of your zone. You can also drag it to another position. Once your happy with the zone, just click the ‘ok’ button and viola, you’ve placed your first zone. Roads, are build in the same way; you drag them, can make them bigger or change the location. Buildings and things like power plants are done a little bit different. You don’t have to drag them of course, but you can just place them and drag them somewhere else.
A meter at the right side shows you what zones are wanted for your city, so keep an eye on that; you don’t want lots of unused zones in your city.
You also need to take into account the location of your zones. Don’t place heavy industry or a landfill next to a luxurious residential neighborhood. People will start to complain soon after you do that!

SimCity Deluxe

(Micro)managing

But of course it’s not just building your city and be done with it. There are a lot of management options that you can customize and control in your city. This almost goes just as deep as the PC versions of the game. One thing that you don’t have are neighbor contracts, but you can sign petitions, set taxes and do all other sorts of things to make your city a better place to live (or to get more money in the treasury). Your advisors will help you make decisions on what is best for the city and what is not. Raising taxes while your city still needs to flourish might not be the best idea in the world.

SimCity Deluxe

Seasons and disasters

New in this version of SimCity are seasons. The game knows all four seasons. They give a nice transition when a new season hits and the screen gets a nice tint that fits the season.
The game also knows disasters. There are several ones, like severe heat, alien invasions and several others. They can strike the city at random, or you can be the evil mayor and cast a disaster on the city yourself. Whichever it may be, you’ll ultimately have to clean up the mess you made!

Conclusion

SimCity Deluxe is a great game on your iPhone. It’s perfect to play while on a long ride in the train or the plane. It’s controls are simple and intuitive and you can easily pick it up to play it. There are no long loading times or endless menu’s that you need to go through. When you have an iPhone 4, you’ll notice the lack of retina display support, but maybe EA will add that in a future update.
In short, if you are a SimCity fan, you’ll definitely won’t regret buying this game. If this is your first SimCity game, it’s a good introduction to the series, though you might want to pick up the PC games of it as well!

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