The iPhone has garnered a reputation as the home of quick-fix gaming, with dozens of modern classics like Angry Birds and Flight Control that work best in small doses. Well, Virtual City takes that notion and throws it straight in the bin.
Virtual City is not to be taken lightly. You probably won’t find yourself playing Virtual City while sitting on the toilet, unless you’re quite happy to stay in there for 30 minutes at a time.
The intro sequence shows Virtual City’s protagonist break down on an isolated road. “What am I gonna do? Without my car I’ll never be able to get a decent job and actually make something of my…” Before she can finish, a huge truck pulls up, and a business-attired lady steps out to explain that our car-less friend has inherited the family business. Problem solved.
The business in question is essentially town planning, in the style of Sim City. But Virtual City is far from just a Sim City clone. In fact, by breaking the game down into different stages with specific goals, it’s arguably a more enjoyable experience.
The aforementioned business lady eases you in gently, explaining how to build trucks to carry grain from a farm to a mill. Nice and easy. Then she goes on to introduce the concept of upgrading vehicles and buildings. Simple.
Virtual City continues in that vein, gradually introducing dozens of concepts, but the learning curve is such that it never feels overwhelming. Among lots of other things, you’ll trade with other cities, fly in air support for sick people, put out fires, build bus stations and plot routes for garbage trucks. It’s all great fun.
My only gripe with Virtual City – and it’s a minor one – is that it sometimes takes a few taps to select an item. It’s understandable later in the game, when the cities are cluttered with stuff, but I found it happening very early on, when I was trying to select my very first truck for an upgrade. It by no means ruins the game, and the trick seems to be quick, precise taps.
There are 50 levels in total, so there’s plenty to get your teeth into. The developers have also released an update with a sandbox mode, so Virtual City will keep you busy for a long, long time.
- It’s Sim City, but more fun
- Perfect learning curve
- 50 levels plus sandbox mode
- Not ideal for on-the-toilet gaming
- Very hard to put down
- Occasionally iffy touch controls
Summary: Essentially a more enjoyable Sim City, Virtual City is stupidly deep with a sandbox mode that offers unlimited game life. There’s not enough space in this review to mention the dozens of concepts the game introduces. Just play it for yourself, yeah?
Developer: G5 Entertainment
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £2.99 @ App Store