Touch in the City Review – Speedy Clicking and Mistranslation

May 27, 2017
Simulation

Touch in the City is an idler city builder with a great deal of aspirational gameplay but a whole lot of confusion mixed in.

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The gameplay attempts to be consistent with most idlers of its type, such as cookie clicker or even perhaps Bit City. You tap the screen to collect additional revenue, as well as generating automatic revenue whenever cars drive through your town. Some games might just have money appear automatically, but instead the game ties the money generation to something that makes sense; this is quite rare in games of this type and deserves to be applauded.

The actual manual revenue generation is through repeated clicks, but it is has something entirely unique that makes the entire gaming experience incredibly worthwhile – you can actually use multiple fingers, and it will register every single one. Normally, you’re limited to just to the tapping of one finger, leading to a very painful index finger. In Touch in the City however, you can click with as many fingers as you want and it still accepts it. You will quickly find yourself tapping away at your phone screen as if it were a keyboard, getting huge amounts of revenue. It also feels really satisfying.

You will quickly find yourself tapping away at your phone screen as if it were a keyboard, getting huge amounts of revenue. It also feels really satisfying.

Progress in Touch in the City is quite linear – revenue can be spent to improve your town and thus, improve revenue either through the amount you get when you tap or automatically. You also receive “Gems” which can be used to give additional upgrades as required. How and when you receive these gems is somewhat of a mystery, however, the game doesn’t seem to want to tell you.

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As in most city builders of this type, the ascetic of the town changes as you develop and upgrade. Touch in the City does this well, with houses blossoming up from the ground and railway infrastructure materializing out of thin air. It looks quite nice, but this pleasant ascetic is ruined by the utter clunkiness of the UI.

Everywhere you look, there are numbers and pictures and information that you don’t quite understand what it’s for. It somehow accomplishes the rarity of giving you both too much information, and yet not enough at the same time.

To go along with this confusion, Touch in the City has clearly been developed by non-English speakers. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it seems they have neglected to consider adding an actual translation. Instead, every dialogue spoken to the player either through the narrator (who appears to be some sort of out-of-work teacher, possibly due to her clothing choices) or your secretary… person is entirely in broken English. At some points it is wholly unclear what they’re actually saying and the entire experience is jarring and confusing.

This confusion continues when, after reaching a certain point in city development, you are informed your secretary has embezzled all your money and you are broke again. So… you lose, now go back to the very start. I understand they were attempting to create some sort of Prestige system wherein you restart with better bonuses – and creating an in-universe reason for this is nice – it just feels incredibly insulting to the player. No reason, no explanation other than a thinly veiled cop out, just “Sorry, you lose, do it again”.

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Despite these immense frustrations, as well as the inherent confusion present in the game story and UI, Touch in the City manages to make it worthwhile. It is still an extremely enjoyable idler, it still gives you that sense of gratification when achieving goals and development and, best of all, it registers all of you finger clicks!

It is still an extremely enjoyable idler, it still gives you that sense of gratification when achieving goals and development and, best of all, it registers all of you finger clicks!

Any game wherein you can pretend you’re typing something really important on your phone, rather than just mindlessly collecting coins, should always be considered a great one.

City Growing-Touch in the City
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