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It’s been predicted by some that our mobile devices are killing the handheld gaming market. With games like Virtual City Playground and Steambirds: Survival in the iTunes app store, there are definitely good reasons to leave your handheld and home. While the vast majority of apps are nowhere near the caliber of the highest rated DS and PSP titles, gamers are beginning to see some of their most beloved titles (Katamari and Scribblenauts for example) ported over to their iOS devices. And with the ever improving processors in smartphones, the potential of apps is only increasing. Check out this week’s selection to see if you agree.
Virtual City Playground
I think one of the computers my parents bought while I was in highschool came preloaded with a version of Sim City, and it was that game that first got me hooked on building sims. Virtual City Playground, developed by G5 games, has some things in common with its Sim predecessors, but there are some key differences between it and the games I grew up with. One of the things that I noticed right away that had me enjoying Virtual City Playground is that after all your hard work planning your city and setting up production routines, they continue after the game is minimized. So while you’re sleeping (or returning to work after a long bathroom break), you’re still earning energy and credits.
Since I mentioned the production routines, I’ll explain those a little further. Where a lazy developer might have you just build a bakery to earn money, the team at G5 made things interesting by including quests that require you to build production and supply chains to sell goods in your city. Early in the game, you have to build a farm, mill, bakery and mall just to offer your citizens pies (then create trucks to transport goods between each building). Once this quest is completed, you’ll have your first continuous revenue stream to earn credits. To make things even more interesting, the more you build and produce, the more trash and waste your city produces. To keep the environment clean and your citizens happy you’ll have to build recycling and trash plants so your garbage trucks can remove trash from the city.
It’s games like Virtual City Playground that make me wish I had an iPad. While the game is pretty fantastic on my iPod Touch, at times the smaller screen real estate resulted in the wrong placement of buildings or accidentally accessing a menu, but these were minor annoyances. Virtual City Playground is a game worth investing some time in and I’m willing to bet that after you try out the free version, you’ll feel the same.
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