A fun, portable, SimCity experience... but not without it's flaws.
For those of you who are new to Simcity. The object of the game is to achieve a balance in economy, zone your buildings properly, and keep your sims happy, or you will be fired as Mayor.
To do this, you first need to build your powerplant, followed by other zones, such as your residents, commerce, and industry. Meanwhile, you need to supply those sims with the proper local services, and raise the land value for better income and density. Ultimately you will end up with a wealthy metropolis, or a run down town. Its in your hands.
This had been the staple of the Simcity series for years now, and this game still captures that, but there are a few problems.
First of all, the game lacks a few features, and I know some of it is due to the technical specs of the DS. But other times, it just seems like laziness. There are only 2 forms of transportation, road and rail. This is a huge step back from SC 2k in 1994.
Another thing is there is no height/altitude, making the game a bit flat, but again that might be because of the technical problems.
Another thing is the water no longer requires any kind of piping. Im not sure whether thats due to the tech, or to make it more casual, but thats also pretty minor. The last issue is despite getting a big map with locations to choose from, you can only save 1 city, so doing another landscape requires you to ditch the last.
The technical problems aren't the bulk of the issue though, the game also has pointless gimmicks.
First of all, you'll have your female adviser to help you, and she is going to usually be the bringer of annoyance. The first major problem I have is that whenever a newsflash comes up (such as you getting a gift, or someone in town complains), you have to go back to the office, and get a dragged out dialogue on the event. Its not like in other simcitys where they can just tell me whats going on there and now, i have to get introduced to the character, be forced through unfunny comic relief, and then they finally tell me whats going on.
I also don't understand the point of the townsfolk, it's like they ask if they can speak with you, and it ends up being something like "ohmigosh, build a park", even though I build a dozen parks already, and then I have to agree or not. And I dont know what the difference is whether I sign the contract or not, I was gonna get to that soon anyway. I thought maybe it hurts your approval rating, but even if I do agree I don't have to do it, and it doesn't look like it effects anything. So whats the point of this feature, to annoy the heck out of you?
Fortunately you can usually ignore these by not going back to the office, but Im never sure if its something I really need to see. The townsfolk also give you the same meeting more than once, even if you do what they say, so in my opinion, it does NOTHING.
On the bright side, not everything new in this game is bad. Aside from the main gameplay, there's also a 'save the city' mode, where you need to meet a city goal. It is kind of similar to the scenarios they had in SimCity 2000, so that was a plus. Completing some of these missions also unlock monument buildings, which can be transferred to another DS in the post office. Its a feature that shows promise, and might have more potential in future titles.
Its also worth mentioning the game made good use of the DS features, such as the dual screen display, and the touchscreen for zoning.
The game also has minigames while you play in Simcity, whether its holiday themed, or a disaster. Its not a big plus, but it adds something to prevent the game from becoming monotonous. Unfortunately they don't come in great variety.
In closing, Simcity DS is not a perfect package, but its worth picking up for its portability. Some of the bells and whistles dilute the overall experience, but if you are a gamer who has loved the series, and would really like to carry it around with you, its not a bad game.