Now Try It With FeelingIf there's one thing that separates SimCity Social more from the competition, it's that this city-builder feels more like a living, breathing city than any other. That's thanks to the ripple effects that players come across at almost every juncture while playing. (Including the literal, visual ripples of population increases whenever players introduce new decorations or attractions.) The cities in SimCity Social feel more alive because of considerations like fires, pollution and crime. Friends' mayors living in your city and chiming in on your actions also help make it feel as if your city responds to your actions. But what's most impressive is how Playfish has somehow delivered these features in a way that isn't too complex for the casual player.
Fun Loves CompanySimCity Social certainly earns its title. While the crux of social play in Playfish's game is borrowed from The Sims Social, it makes for an interesting consideration for the player: How will I interact with my friends, and how will that reflect in my own city? This doesn't have much of any effect on whether players succeed, but it's at least more interesting than, say, visiting friends for nothing more than the freebies.
The Great (Pay) WallOne thing that tends to bog down the SimCity Social experience is its energy system. It's not terribly different from any social game--actions require energy, which refills over time--but it's not conducive to playing for more than about five minutes at a time without paying up. That's a problem when games like these almost demand to be played for longer sessions. Also, can we just say that this whole "staffing buildings with Facebook friends" thing needs to die, and fast?
The Final CountdownThere's something to be said of the game that made, broke and set almost every record in the books. By the same token, there's even more to be said of the game that has watched very closely and improved upon that formula through staying true to and celebrating its roots. SimCity Social, while it could be more welcoming to the free players, is simply more lively and interesting than its competitors, thanks to over 20 years of city-building DNA. But we're more concerned with what you think:
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