iPhone and iPad Game Review: City Story Reviewed by JadeDragon
TeamLava forged its fame with Farm Story, then they created City Story. If you want to build a realistically working city, try Virtual City. But if you want to create a city of your dreams, any kind of dream, and build it along with your fellow players, then City Story is not to be passed up. This online city building game stands out with its large number of buildings and decorations and a large, tightly knit community of players. The game works and looks equally good on both the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad, though the iPad version is a couple of major updates behind.
In City Story, you are given a piece of square land where you can build houses, business buildings, factories, stores, government buildings and lots and lots more. The game starts out with over 50 buildings, which is a large number for an online game, but that number goes up every week as the developer adds more and more buildings. The active updates of adding more buildings, gifts and new city sizes keep the game fresh and players busy. You can build houses to increase your city?s population, build businesses to keep the population busy and happy, build supporting buildings such as firehouses, banks, libraries and retail stores to keep the city running, and even decorate the city with parks, sports complexes and trees and flowers. But most important part of the city finance is the factories where you make the big bucks with which you can in term put back building the city.
You can make all sorts of products in your factories from clothing, to gizmos to toys and food. Each product takes a certain number of hours/minutes to make, and each offers 4 levels to achieve mastery. You will get rewards for each level you reach, and it?s a great motivation to work toward mastering something. Growing the size of your city is also one of the goals in City Story. It takes an increasing amount of money to grow your city in sizes, and just when you thought you?d reach the largest size of expansion, the developer would add 3 more sizes and send you back to the grind. Once you?ve reached certain levels in the game, you will unlock some incredible buildings like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and more.
Another thing that makes City Story a stand out is the great and friendly community that?s growing everyday. If you have a spirit of fighting, go play Castle Craft, but if you want to get showered by gifts every morning and hang out with your in-game friends and help build each other?s cities, City Story fits the bill perfectly. The game encourages community city building with an ingenious social gaming mechanism: you can send and receive gifts that include ever changing selection of houses, businesses and parks/trees, etc., and you can clean cities for your neighbors or strangers that bring them money daily. Since both of these in-game activities bring you a nice purse each day, most players seek out to make friends and neighbors. Nothing brings out a smile on your face than a message from a friendly fellow player who took time to clean your city and leave a nice message, or family members taking care of each other?s cities and leaving Mom tips and tricks of the game. Fun!
City Story is a free game, which is amazing! You can enjoy all the features in the game without paying a penny. Like all online games, City Story finds lots of ways for in-app purchases as well, and makes it fun if you can believe it. Aside from the landmark buildings like the Eiffel Tower, the game has a mystery chest that you can buy. It gives you anything from windmills to the colorful Saint Basil?s castle to the awesome Burj Al Arab Hotel.
Regardless what the game offers, free or paid, the biggest thing that separates City Story from SimCity type of games is that the gameplay is completely open. You can build a city with lots of high rises, or a suburb with lots of trees and parks, or how about build a city with only parking lots? There are absolutely no rules on what your city should look like. You can take your city to as far as your imaginations take you.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics style in City Story is bright, light but detailed. The buildings look very different from each other, and they look sharp in the inventory and work well together when you put them on the city blocks. Road works very well too, which really helps you create different sections and neighborhoods easily. The large number of basic buildings have amazing amount of details, and the special and landmark buildings look attractive and colorful.
City Story has an upbeat yet relaxing music that reminds you the music track from earlier version of The Sims. The single track is very long but it does repeat itself. City Story share lots of sound bites with Farm Story, their first online sim hit. The dominant sound bite is the cash register sound when you collect the coins from the buildings other players have cleaned.
Extremely addictive, social and free, City Story hits all the right notes for a successful online game. The constant updates with more new buildings, items and sizes breathes fresh air into the game for even the veteran players who have been playing the game for a while. New players can step into a thriving community of friendly gamers who will help any stranger feel at home. City Story has ton of gameplay that?s completely free, and the open ended gameplay model will please just about anyone who want to build a city that they can name.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Sharp and colorful graphics, ton of buildings yet not cluttered. Sound: - 4.5 - Upbeat music with nice sound bites shared with their other game. Controls: - 5 - Touch control is smoothly and flawless. Gameplay: - 5 - Huge amount of gameplay with daily replay thanks to a thriving online community.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Balance the growth in size and buildings, also balance the residents and businesses to keep your people happy. Or not, if you don?t care how happy the people are.
- Get the factories as soon as you unlock them. They are the big money makers.