iPad Game Review: Hydrothermal Reviewed by Steven Scarpitti
City building simulation games have been around for a long time and Hydrothermal is straight out of the past, for better or for worse.
So as the game starts you are greeted by a very sparse screen, a picture of a planet with the choices of New game, Load game, Help, and Quit. So as you might imagine there is only one mode of play and that is a sandbox mode where the point is obvious, grow your city as big as possible while maintaining a balanced budget. This sounds easy but if you have played a city simulation game then you know it isn't so easy. There are three levels of difficulty to choose from in Hydrothermal, easy, medium, and hard. The level of difficulty changes your starting funds and how critical your citizens are of your performance building the city.
Hydrothermal is very similar to the earliest versions of games like Sim City, so you don't have to worry about building electrical lines or water lines, and roads are the only form of transportation to manage. This game does feature a military aspect not present in most other games in this genre, you can manage the size of your army and there is always a chance of aliens invading. There are a good number of different options for building different kinds of zones including the basic residential, commercial, and industrial zones plus lots of others for schools, recreation, civil, and other zones.
There are also a good number of options for creating laws and changing taxes as well as being able to view what your citizens think are your top problems. My only real problems with the game are that placing objects can be troublesome as can trying to create some of the objects. I say this because when trying to select some objects from the menu, sometimes the menu is overlaid over another menu so when you select an item the menu closes and then you end up selecting the item underneath it. This game would really benefit from some kind of confirmation before an object is placed. Overall this is a fun game once you get past its flaws.
The graphics are sufficient in Hydrothermal and aren't anything special but they look nice and convey all the needed information well. As I mentioned before the touch controls are not the best and could use some work but once you understand the problems you can get around them.
The background music is nice and the sound effects are sufficient for the game but again they aren't anything special, just pretty basic. The game does include the ability to play your own custom soundtrack which is a nice feature.
Hydrothermal should appeal to casual gamers and to people who really enjoy city simulation games and want just the basic package without many extras. I would suggest that if you plan on getting this game you might wait until the controls get fixed.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -3- A very basic look that does the job. Sound: -3- Again pretty basic stuff but at least it supports custom soundtracks Controls: -3- If they could work out the control problems this game would be more enjoyable Gameplay: -3- There is only one mode of play and it is a very basic game without all the bells and whistles.