Virtual City in Review – SimCity for the less ambitious…

Whenever people speak about a city-simulation game the first one that comes to mind is, of course the SimCity franchise: SimCity™ Deluxe (ChiffaN’s SimCity™ Deluxe review, shigzeo’s SimCity™ review). And stunned by EA’s glory, they often forget that the SimCity franchise, while the best known, is far from being the only city-building simulation out there.

G5 Entertainment, one of the larger mobile games publishers, have just released their own contender to the city-building throne – Virtual City – a smaller scale version of the same concept.

Virtual City is a city-management sim game, which is actually closer to the Transport Tycoon series than to the SimCity series. You are put in charge of running a city and have to reach the goals set in a limited amount of time (at least if you wish for a hefty bonus). The goals freely range from reaching a set amount of population/environment rating/happiness to building a particular supply chain or delivering a specific amount of products.

There are two main activities in Virtual City: construction and transport management. In the former you’ll be trying to find some free space to place your buildings in and then finding the cash to upgrade them. The buildings come in 4 main categories – the production facilities, housing, environmental/happiness related and miscellaneous, including trash collectors, recycling plants, bus and tech stations. The production facilities manufacture goods, sometimes needing specific other goods to be delivered to them. The environment facilities combine the fire and hospital services, some structures to raise the environment rating and some for entertainment purposes. Almost all facilities can be upgraded to raise the production capacity as well as the environment bonus, though most have to be unlocked first in the R&D lab for investment points earned for completing missions.

Transport management is where a large portion of the action takes place in Virtual City. Delivering goods, collecting garbage and transporting citizens is how you’ll earn your cash. To do so you have a limited park of vehicles divided into trucks, garbage trucks and buses respectively. The limit is defined by the level of your garage, so if you run out of space it’s time to upgrade it. The trucks automatically change to handle the load they’re assigned and can be upgraded as well to handle more load. The world is not a perfect place and vehicles can break down and if they’re not in range of the nearby tech station you’ll have to manually fix them.

On the graphics part Virtual City is quite nicely drawn in lively sprites and can be zoomed in for more details to be enjoyed. The max zoom out rating I did find frustratingly low. The interface is well adapted to the iPhone and I haven’t experienced any issues using it. I did miss the upgrade all button for the vehicles on a number of occasions, requiring to go through the whole lot manually.

There is no use comparing Virtual City to the SimCity series – they are simply completely different games. Whereas the more famous counterpart is centered on high-level city management, Virtual City brings the player closer to the masses, requiring to handle individual bus and truck routes rather than considering city-wide policies. Whether this is good or bad depends more on taste than anything else. In all respects it combines colourful detailed graphics, addictive gameplay and 50 challenging levels across 5 settings into an aspiring small-town mayor’s dream.

With this I declare Virtual City officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Virtual CityDeveloper: G5 Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:2.0
Price:$2.99App Size:33.76MB
  • Lots of buildings to construct and upgrade
  • Nice graphics
  • Interesting scenarios
  • Max zoom factor is too low
  • A little too much micromanagement

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