Tolerable 'til Donuts - SimCity™ BuildIt

Traffic at a busy intersection in SimCity Buildit

While playing SimCity™ BuildIt on iOS, I spend a lot of time watching the traffic.  The traffic laws in this game are hilarious!  There are stop lights at every intersection, but clearly they are just suggestions.  Cars seem to go whenever they feel like it, even if that means driving right through pedestrians.  They will cut each other off to make a left hand turn from a right lane, and sometimes they just merge into each other.  

Even though it's a lot of fun to watch the traffic, you may find yourself watching traffic more than playing the game because the thing you do most with this game is wait.  The game is obviously not meant to be played for long periods of time, but rather like a digital pet, something you come back to check on from time to time.  Old school SimCity was a game that I could play for hours without losing interest, but that's not the case with SimCity BuildIt. 

I almost wish they hadn't called the game SimCity™ because at it's heart, it doesn't feel like SimCity™. It feels more like FarmVille, The Smurfs, or The Simpsons.  Stephen Totilo already did a great job of outlining the new Free to Play (F2P) model of the game in his article SimCity Purists Are Understandably Upset About The Newest SimCity so I won't go into much further detail except to show you one example. 

The hard hat shows us that this building is upgradeable. Okay, let's get to upgrading. What do we need to do?

When we tap on it to find out, we see that in order to upgrade, we need a shovel and a donut. A donut? To upgrade a building? Where are we going to get a donut?

Oh, clearly we'll get a donut from the donut shop. Wait, there aren't any donuts in the donut shop. What do we need to get a donut? Well, we need a bag of flour and some cinnamon and sugar it would appear. Where do you get a bag of flower?


The bag of flour comes to us from the Farmer's Market. But wait, we can't get a bag of flour without seeds and textiles. Where are we going to get those?

Seeds and textiles come from the factories. How convenient.

Notice how it takes 3 hours to make the textiles required for the bag of flour.  It takes 30 minutes to make the bag of flower itself, and it takes another 45 minutes to make the donut.  Do you see how you could end up spending a lot of time watching traffic?

We have no choice but to think of SimCity and SimCity BuildIt as two completely different concepts.  When SimCity Deluxe for the iPad was released, I gladly paid $10.00 for it.  It wasn't the best iOS gaming experience, and could certainly have used a lot of improvements, but I wish they hadn't thrown it away and come out with SimCity BuildIt.  This Free to Play (F2P) concept makes the game developers a lot of money, but it doesn't make me happy as an end user.  I would much prefer to spend the money upfront for a great game than to be nickel and dimed through the whole thing.  


I swear I've tried my damnedest.  I've wanted to like the latest version of SimCity for iOS so badly.  My first impression when I started playing? "Shit, they turned it into FarmVille."  Then later when it asked for a donut to update a building, "Shit, they've turned it into The Simpsons."

Apps mentioned in this post: