[Confession: I've been a little slow in getting the usual twice-weekly Forum Reviews up, and cjvitek and msbaylor, as if sensing my slacktivity level, put their production into turbo mode. So what's an editor to do? Come up with an angle, of course! So, from now until we catch up -- or I mess up again -- we'll be presenting lots more Forum Reviews. How many more? Well, we're calling it our Holidaily Double, so howzat for a clue? - Rene]
My main concern before getting this application was – would it be able to handle all the animations on the screen, or would it just be an expensive crashing app? After a brief setup and I selected the tutorial, I got a white screen. I thought this was a glitch (First thought - "NO, Not the white-screen-of-death!"), but after about 15 or 20 seconds, the main Sim-screen came up and walked me through the controls and what everything meant. That alone was very nice to have - major kudos for the help explanations.
Read on for the review, after the jump!
The first thing it caught me was – how to add roads. I immediately had problems with this, laying it exactly where it wanted me to. I felt that an offset feature would be nice, so that I could see exactly where I was laying the road instead of covering it up with my finger. I later realized I could zoom in to be more accurate, however, this might prove difficult if you want to lay down a long line of road – pave > pan > pave > pan, etc. Also if you are off when you place something, you have the ability to move it around before confirming its location (a type of “post-offset.”)
Another issue I noticed was under the help menu (not the in game help,) that the buttons are very short and a bit hard to hit if you have fat fingers.
Other than that, the game seemed to run just fine. I like how it adjusted some of the imagery to keep from eating up too much RAM without taking away from the game play. For instance – as you zoom out, animations will stop on the structures and just become static images. If you zoom in, all the way – in, you can see you Sims in transit (vehicular movement), however the images become fuzzy and less-sharp in detail as you zoom it. This was a bit of a let down, but I guess it has to happen to keep your handy-dandy iPhone from crashing… After all if viewing one or two structures on the screen, the structures animate, i.e., smoke stack on the oil factory puffs smoke.)
The controls are fairly intuitive, incorporating the pinch/zoom, double-tap to zoom, and other features that you would normally use in the Maps.app are implemented into the application when viewing the map.
If you have question regarding anything on screen, just tap the question mark in the bottom left-hand corner, then tap the area/item that you have a question about and you will be given an explanation. This app has very helpful feature if you are new to this type of game.
There is a news ticker at the bottom of the screen that alerts you to things that are going on in your Sim’s world. If it is green text, then it usually means something good or something that needs to be fixed soon. This leads me to Advisors – depending on the “news stories” that show up, you have different “advisors” That will advise you on what to do in order to make your city better.
This game exceeded my expectations in how the game handles and the depth of play, however, I was a bit dismayed on how hard it has to simply lay road down and how the images deteriorated when you zoomed in (I expected more from EA on image quality). If you’re a fan of SimCity or other God-view Sim games, then you should love this game.
[SimCity is available from the iTunes App Store, though some may need to search for the "international" version. iSigh.]