You got the whole world, in your hand!
Some games in this world appear to have been around for ever. Tetris, Pirates!, Prince of Persia to name but a few. Of all of these long lived games, one springs to mind as the most prolifically ported and repackaged game that I can think of, SimCity. There have been more Sim games than I can remember, from Sim Copter to Sim Ant!! So it comes as no shock to discover that a new version has been produced for the humble Nintendo DS! In fact the shock is more that it has taken so long to come about.
SimCity DS is a nice time waster of a game.
Just in case you have lived in pure isolation, in a Big Brother style house, for the last 20 or so years a quick explanation of what exactly SimCity is. Released in 1989 by Maxis, SimCity was the brain child of Will Wright. The idea was simple. Build a thriving city and keep it’s citizens happy. At it’s most basic this means putting down a power plant, water works (in the case of the later SimCity games), Industrial Zones, Commercial Zones and Residential Zones.
These zones will grow and prosper depending on various factors such as layout, location, pollution and the like. To help these zone grow the player is able to add in things like road systems, rail networks, sea ports, green belt areas, schools and much much more.
As you can see the games is pretty well established and on almost every format going, so what does SimCity DS bring to the table? SimCity DS is a modified version of SimCity 3000. It has been repackaged to make use of the DSs unique features, such as the touch screen, dual display and even the microphone.
First of all you should play the Tutorial. This will give you the basics on how to get a city going. Once you have finished this you will be asked a few question that will help decide which of the five possible advisors would suit you best; Julie McSim, Mr. Maxis, Ayako Tachibana, Kaishu Tachibana, Servo 3000
At the start the player is asked to choose a plot of land. Each plot of land on the map has a certain difficulty associated to it and also a set starting budget. Once your plot has been chose, you must sign the town charted using the stylus.
Your advisor will help you through the first stages of setting up your city. Once you get going they will give you budget updates, surveys and news about how the people in your city are feeling.
The top screen shows a nice isometric view of your city, whilst the bottom screen is the business end of the game. Here you will be able to place buildings, talk to your advisor and deal with the mundane aspects of being a mayor like budgets.
The stylus is a great choice for input, being the closest thing a hand held has to a mouse. Sadly though it lacks some accuracy and you will find your self getting a little frustrated as you put roads where you never meant them to go! For the most part tough it does the job very well.
SimCity DS is a nice time waster of a game. It is not as complex as its PC based relations, but for a handheld that works just fine. If you have a hankering to play god, or just want to waste some time on the train on the way to work, this is a highly recommended buy!
The Bad: Not as good as other version, stylus can be a little inaccurate