Virtual City’s premise is fresh and a warm welcome to the genre. Its unchallenging gameplay may seem a little too friendly for some, but the game focusses much more on that elation you get when you look back on a completed city with all your little vehicles in awe of what you have achieved. And that is what makes it such a brilliant title.
Virtual City Gameplay
Your job is to implement an urban-renewal scheme in each city you come across. However, each city’s situation is different. Maybe they lack industry and you need to set it up for them, or they might have suffered a natural disaster which has left their environment in ruins. Whatever the challenge you are more than capable of executing it.
There are three main sections to Virtual City. The main one is transportation. This involves transporting materials from one place to another (for example, ink to a magazine factory) which will then result in something else. You need to co-ordinate your trucks to transport materials from one factory to another which should then result in the finished product, cosmetics for example, being sold in the supermarket.
But these cities aren’t devoid of civilian life, and so therefore you need to tend to their needs as well. You need to empty rubbish and recycle it through rubbish trucks, heal the sick and put out fires. Transporting civilians to the shopping mall or other entertainment venues is also important if you want to keep your people happy.
The third section of Virtual City is building. For what you might expect, a lot less emphasis is put on building compared to transportation and it is great that Virtual City takes a new angle on the old genre. In most cases, what you need is already there for you and you just need to join up the dotted lines. However, keeping everyone happy can be a tall order.
Even though the game doesn’t ask a lot from you other than bucket loads of time, it’s crazily addicting. The game features a brilliant interactive tutorial to get you into it, and you never feel totally out of your depth. Yet after every level, whether it be constructing a space shuttle or delivering a pie to the mall, you always feel a sense of accomplishment. What’s more, the levels only continue to ramp up. By the end of the game, you will be engaging in extremely complex industrial chains and enormous cities which would have had you completely bewildered before.
Other than Virtual City’s lengthy campaign, it also features a brilliant sandbox mode. This places you in an empty enormous landscape, completely untouched. With buildings and upgrades you have unlocked in the Campaign, you can start creating the city of your dreams, whether it be industry or residentially focussed. As you play through the Campaign and unlock more, you can then go back to your city and implement them.
The game’s difficulty, or lack of it, may put some people off. However, the sensation of completing a seemingly impossible task is what keeps you coming back for more. And this is what makes Virtual City one of the best city-management games out there. Recommended.
Developer: G5 Entertainment
Price: $4.99 (£4.99)
Description: A complex city-management game
Pros: Vibrant graphics, addicting gameplay, a lot of content.
Cons: Maybe a bit too slow-going for some gamers.
Advised Control Method: Mouse (trackpad cautioned)