Drew Bower1 comments
Tags: City Management, Time Management, G5 Entertainment, Casual, City Sim
Welcome to paradise
Way back in September 2010, G5 Entertainment released the highly acclaimed Virtual City on iOS devices. We awarded it a very respectable 4/5 thanks in main to the involving city management gameplay that didn’t bog down players with too many intricate details. Since then we have seen Virtual City Playground and now finally a full blown sequel, nattily titled Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort.
The beauty of Virtual City comes with its time management style of gameplay. Instead of giving you a blank canvas and saying “build me a working city”, it instead gives you part built locations and a set of goals to achieve. Whilst this may sound restrictive, you are still given a fair amount of freedom on where to place new buildings, to buy and route vehicles and make upgrades.
Unlike most time management games that are aimed squarely at the casual market, Virtual City 2 requires much more dedication in order to get the most out of it. Sure, stages can be completed in less than ten minutes – and in a lot of cases, will need to be in order to purchase precious upgrades – but to gather an understanding of how each decision you make will affect the flow of your city will take much longer to master. You are graded on population, jobs, environment and daily income. Keeping them under close control is a fine balancing act as you try to squeeze in an extra few houses or other feature.
Early stages guide you through the various elements of how running your virtual city works. At the heart of things is the transport network. Buses, garbage trucks and delivery trucks all need to have their routes carefully planned in order to achieve a smooth and efficient flow of people and commodities. The delivery of products between various factories and end destinations is perhaps the trickiest to get under control. Tapping on a building will show you what items are produced and what goods are required inward. When you have a truck correctly inserted into the supply chain a green tick is shown next to the icon which helps to quickly check and correct and missing links.
Each stage has a gold time to try and beat. Doing so earns you points to invest in new buildings, features and upgrades. Completing a level inside the gold time is no easy task, even on the early levels. And this is perhaps my main criticism of the game: there’s no real feedback as to why or how you are doing well (or really bad). For instance, is it better to have 3 garbage trucks collecting rubbish from every house, or should you split them into 3 smaller rounds? There are no indications one way or the other and this is the same for most areas of the game. Just occasionally it would be nice to have your assistant drop some hints, even if this was an optional feature that could be turned on. When you do crack a stage though, it is very rewarding to see your best laid plans flowing smoothly and churning in the money.
Graphically, everything is nice and detailed especially the little animations of various factories and buildings. Despite the small screen and there often being lots going on, it never feels cluttered or obscured. A row of icons along the bottom of the screen gives quick access to your fleet of vehicles, current objectives and build options. Information on vehicles and buildings is also nice and clear with upgrade and route options easy to use.
There’s no doubting the quality of Virtual City 2 and is an easy recommendation to just about anyone, not just time management fans. It’s certainly no push over if you’re going for gold times and mastering will take many hours, but your time will be well spent in doing so. The only downside is the lack of feedback which may deter those accustomed to simpler time management games.
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