Reviewed: October 16, 2010
Released: October 14, 2010
App Store Price: $9.99
G5 Entertainment managed to beat Electronic Arts to the iPad app store with their SimCity clone, Virtual City HD. Itís been years since Iíve played a SimCity game but I can still recall the countless hours building up my own metropolis then sending fires, tornados, and giant mutant lizards into town to test my emergency management skills. Virtual City HD mirrors those magical memories with gorgeous graphics and an intuitive interface perfect for the iPad.|
You can explore your inner city design planner skills in the 5 large sandbox maps or, if you require more structure and purpose to your gaming, check out the 50 challenging levels set in areas such as Colorado, California, Michigan, Montana, and New York with 18 unique mission scenarios. Tutorials ease you into the concepts of the game before leaving you to create a thriving city with satisfied citizens.
Itís up to you to mix residential and industry and create infrastructure like mass-transit and shipping routes, all the while making sure to recycle and and plant trees and offer adequate EMS like police and hospitals, but donít forget to keep the population happy with parks and theaters. There are more than 50 building types, 25 types of goods to create your economy through 7 production chains, and all sorts of upgrades and special achievements you can unlock through skilled gameplay.
Preset scenarios will place certain restrictions or create various situations that you must overcome like overpopulation, natural disasters, or even economic woes. Test your skills to rise above these challenges and earn fame by building special landmarks like the Marina, Train Depot, or shoot for the stars with your own Space Shuttle launch. Beneath the charming visuals, achieve the perfect balance of Time, Income, Environment, Population, and Happiness.
The graphics are a pure delight, colorful and charming with easily identifiable icons and shapes and a nice pop-up interface for tutorials and in-game messages. The menu bar along the bottom is non-invasive and works nicely. Easy-listening music plays in the background and is perfect for the long hours you will be spending with this game.
Itís been far too long since Iíve played SimCity to make any direct comparisons but all those same feelings of accomplishment and pride are there when you manage to build your own unique city and achieve that level of self-sustaining harmony to keep it running on its own. With ample structured gameplay and the endless sandbox mode, there is limitless gameplay potential here, so if you enjoy this type of city-building and resource management game then it doesnít get any better than Virtual City HD.