SimCity Deluxe is a port of the famous PC game franchise from the legendary studio Maxis, released most recently for the iPad. For the uninformed, SimCity is a city building management simulation that paved the way for the countless games on Facebook and mobile devices that end in -ville (Farmville, Cityville, etc etc). With the endless strategy options available to gamers, does this old management franchise that started it all still have it, or are there better, more modern options out there?
SimCity Deluxe was initially designed to be played with a mouse & keyboard. As a result, your finger will act as the mouse, pointing and tapping to bring up menus, build roads, zone land, and so on. The standard “Pinch & Zoom” serves as your mouse wheel, allowing you to zoom in and out of your city. On paper this should be an intuitive experience that for fans of the franchise should be a largely seamless transition. But it’s not.
Perhaps most annoying is a general lack of precision when it comes to planning and constructing cities. As the game requires you to build roads and structures in specific locations in order to be the most successful, it becomes a growing frustration when a road is accidentally built too far away, or you end up building far too many residential zones. Options exist to correct these oopsies, such as a confirmation check that needs to be tapped before a structure is actually placed, and the ability to slide roads over an inch or two before finally confirming. Regardless, these annoyances really sap the fun out of SimCity.
The game is pretty obtuse in terms of what specifically you need to do to run your city, and the fact that the interface is one you need to fight against in order to have success, it’s tricky for me to fully recommend this game to new players and casual gamers who likely found much joy in the casual strategy offerings of “Kingdom Rush” & “Pocket Planes”, but may find themselves buried under a largely directionless and time consuming experience. This is truly a port of a game made to be played for hours on end on a PC, not for 20 – 30 minutes at a time during a lunch break.
Thus, Sim City Deluxe for the iPad is an interesting game. If you’re the kind of guy who enjoys spending hours watching your virtual city unfold, zoning more land, building more roads, raising and lowering taxes, and are, most importantly, intimately familiar with the Sim City series, this is an excellent game filled with depth and literally limitless hours of content. It is a quality product hindered by interface and design, not by quality of content or lack of complexities.
So, if you’ve rushed the kingdom for all 75 stars, and have pockets of planes in all 6 continents, Sim City Deluxe is certainly worth a try to see if it satiates your many strategy needs. However, if you think this Sim City is at *all* like the horrible casual abomination just recently released on Facebook, steer clear, because, like a misplaced road, It means well, but will ultimately lead you nowhere.