PC gamers have long lamented the loss of the SimCity series, with the classic urban planning game franchise infamously retired following the catastrophic launch of its 2013 edition.
Amid the fallout of its game-breaking bugs, persistent server problems, and the inevitable fan backlash, publishers Electronic Arts decided to ignominiously can the series before shuttering the main studio of developers Maxis.
A mere decade later and Sim City is back, kind of, with the release of Cityscapes: Sim Builder, a new mobile-only urban planning simulation that comes via Magic Fuel Games, a studio co-founded by SimCity senior producer Kip Katsarelis.
Exclusive to Apple Arcade, Cityscapes: Sim Builder puts a larger environmental angle on the city builder format, with a big emphasis on sustainability throughout the gameplay.
City builder heads up a bumper drop of new games on Apple Arcade
As with Sim City, you take on the role of mayor, on a mission to build a carefully thought-out metropolis. While you need to make your city profitable, you’ll also need to protect the health and happiness of citizens, by reducing waste and pollution, building green spaces and developing transport infrastructure to boost your approval rating as mayor.
Despite the big environmental aspect to the game, natural disasters – a staple of the Sim City series - won’t be appearing in Cityscapes: Sim Builder as a feature at launch – a decision which seems somewhat odd given that it could have been used to show the consequences of poor sustainability decisions when playing.
This omission aside, with its stunning cartoonish architecture and the gameplay depth and strategy which made the PC classics that inspired it such big hits, Cityscapes: Sim Builder looks set to offer endless hours of fun for budding town planners.
The game comes as part of a bumper drop of new titles today on Apple Arcade, with 20 new games hitting the subscription service including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Fate – an all-new roguelike adventure featuring the heroes in a half shell - and What the Car? - an off-the-wall driving game from Triband, the Danish developers behind What the Golf?
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist.
He started out as a music writer in the late 1990s, before moving to the Daily Mirror to become the newspaper’s technology editor, during which time he wrote a weekly column that saw him chart the boom of consumer tech and gaming as well as the resurrection and rise of Apple Inc.
He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards.