Let me preface the rest of this review by stating that I have not played the series since SimCity 2000, and I tried 3000 only once or twice. Being a decade behind, I can’t really compare this game to the more recent releases, and it has obviously changed quite a bit since the late nineties. Now then! Come and join me in the SIMply aweSIM city that is Simcinnati.
The game presents you with the task of successfully running a city as it’s de facto mayor. Your job is to lay the groundwork for a thriving society without directly controlling it, focusing on infrastructure and utilities like roads, zoning, waste disposal, etc. You can place special recreational or civic buildings in your city, but housing and other basic areas are taken care of automatically as a response to your planning. You also control various taxes and ordinances.
Basically, you just have to keep the Sims in your city happy. You can see what kind of zones they demand more of, and keeping them away from industrial zones and power plants while maintaining pollution are just some of the things you’ll have to keep in mind. Special buildings can boost population and happiness, but it can be hard to maintain a basic city as you try to learn the ins and outs of the game. Eventually, you’ll have to deal with things like fires and crime, dispatching emergency response when things get out of control. Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and glorious UFO attacks. If you’d rather not manage your own city, you can play in any of several preset cities, choosing from various sizes and eras of time.
The main game is basically without objectives, and more like a playground than a true game. You can play however you want, being a benevolent and kind mayor, leading your people into a new golden age, or you can just watch everyone suffer and die. Whatever floats your boat. For a more constructive use of your time, you can play scenarios that task you with building specific infrastructure systems by a certain future date. This is a great way to mix things up, but I’m terrible at this game. I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to raising money without turning my city into a wasteland. That’s probably just me though. Of course, you have various advisors to help guide you along the way.
The graphics look great, though when moving around the map or changing the zoom level you’ll experience lots of visual hiccups. It can also be pretty slow as it loads various things. This wasn’t too bothersome though. What was bothersome was the soundtrack. Just about every track got on my nerves after only few minutes. Either way, this is still a solid game, even if I’m terrible at it. I miss the classic version, but that’s probably just the rose-colored nostalgia goggles talking. You can play this modern iteration of the series for just five dollars.