SimCity - Mac

Also known as: SimCity: Collector's Edition', 'SimCity: Limited Edition

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SimCity (Mac)
Also for: PC
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: Management
Strategy: God game
Media: Download Arcade origin:No
Developer: Maxis Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 8 Mar 2013 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 7+


Nine years is a long time for city simulation fans to wait for a new SimCity, but wait they have and with the latest addition to the series, their patience has been rewarded.

Fundamentally, things are exactly the same. You assume the role of mayor, in a city that you build from the ground up. First you find a nice plot of land, then you build some houses, a road or two, a power supply and a means for your virtual tenants to access that power... with careful planning and good judgement, you can grow from a small town to a glowing utopia.

So what’s changed in the new SimCity, and why should we care? The buzz phrase that Maxis is using to lead development of this game is ‘visual feedback’ - the ability to read the state of your town and civilians using colourful data layers, without the necessity to pull up separate screens full of charts and graphs. It’s all to make the game much more accessible to casual and core players alike.

One of the pillars that hold up this development philosophy is a brand new engine called GlassBox. The effects of this engine is astounding in a number of ways. Firstly, it allows the SimCity world to be presented as a true 3D environment. No longer are you limited to fixed isometric views and 90-degree camera turns. You can pull the view down as close as you like and angle the horizon so you can see a truly stunning view of your city as it bustles with day-to-day life.

Maxis can now simulate everything that happens in your city and use this to present visual clues as to whether there are problems to address. As an example of this, protests can take place outside the mayor’s office to signal a problem, and the crowd will grow depending on the number affected.

The visual clues from the Sims are only part of the story though - clicking on a number of icons at the bottom of the screen will bring up overlays to your city. Unlike previous SimCity games, where you had completely different displays of the environment, here they simply act as additional icons to bring context.

Perhaps one of the most interesting change to the SimCity formula is in its embracement of online connectivity. In past games, you could connect your city by road or power line to the edge of your region grid and offer to connect to a nearby town. This would allow you to trade and make deals with AI players across the virtual border. Now, Maxis is replacing those AI players with real-life ones. As you establish communication and trade agreements with other SimCity towns, how you perform as mayor will have an impact on the online players who are sat around you.