While I am not usually a fan of social games, especially Zynga-style "villes", I am a huge fan of the SimCity franchise, and this time the name won out. I have spent the past few days playing the newest game in the franchise and, while the game probably doesn't exactly deserve the moniker, I can certainly enjoy the Maxis humor that is spread within.
The game is very much built in the standard social construct: annoy your friends enough until they start playing or pay us for the ability to not lose your friends. Certain goals are impossible to accomplish without asking your friends for things, like materials or work assistance. Despite what it sounds like, however, it does not affect the friend's own inventory. So, if you ask a friend for, say, a land permit and they agree, they do not lose one of their own, one seems to be created out of nowhere.
One aspect of the game that makes the game engaging is the fact that, without your interaction, you will not receive the resources or money that your businesses and factories produce. You must regularly interact with your city to collect, which means the more often you open the game, the more resources you can receive. However, the more you collect, the less energy you have, which is also required for building new buildings, and just about every other action in the game.
Pestering your friends for energy and permits isn't the only social integration in the game. Hit the break for a photo of our current city as well as a rundown of some of the negatives and positives of the social sim.
As with every SimCity title, there are challenges that will help you progress through the game, as well as learn how certain aspect of the game work. Some of the challenges, such as those by your city manager, are designed to help you gain population as well as resources. Others help build businesses and relationships with your neighboring cities.
The ability to visit and interact with the cities of your friends is my favorite parts. I can visit and make friends or enemies with the mayor of that city. You gain fame by doing so, either positive or negative. Both choices give you the ability to build new buildings, both good and evil. It is an interesting way to maintain the Maxis standard without having the natural disasters and such that are usually synonymous with a SimCity titles.
All in, the game is a lot of fun. Those of us who have been playing with it since it started the public beta do seem to enjoy it, and some are having trouble putting it down. If you have been avoiding social games, this might be the title to make you reconsider that decision.