Virtual City shares a lot of commonalities with the Build-a-lot series, but manages to set itself apart through some pretty unique play mechanics. It still regards itself as a time management game and rightly so, as you’ll be struggling to find the best way to complete each mission’s set of goals before the time expires.
What made this game stand apart from every city time management game out there? Mainly, it’s how many vehicles you’ll be creating and setting routes for. I’m surprised that they didn’t call this game, “Director of Transportation Simulator” or something to that effect. Towards the later episodes, you’ll be creating so many trucks, busses, dumpsters (garbage trucks)…to the point where your eyes will be darting around the screen trying to keep track of what is going on. I personally stopped keeping track of vehicles…I built them, set their route, and forgot about them. I occasionally upgraded them as I needed to, but I did that through the vehicle listing tabs along the bottom of the screen.
What will you be doing in Virtual City? Well, running a city, mainly…but each mission’s goals are a tad different. Some missions task you with raising the population, while others task you with transporting goods from one building to another. As the game progresses, you’ll often have to create finished goods by creating the raw materials for them first…and of course…one truck per route to move things back and forth. You’ll often have many trucks going at once just to move raw materials to the factory, then from the factory to the store.
From a residential standpoint, you can build houses or upgrade them to increase your city’s population. Building parks or busses nearby (you’ll need to set the routes for bus stops) will increase overall satisfaction. Likewise, not addressing eyesore buildings and letting your city rot with garbage will cause your satisfaction rating to plummet. You’ll also contend with things like fire and health emergencies as they arise.
I enjoyed my time with Virtual City…I sometimes ignored the time limit and just built what I wanted to and other times I raced to beat my previous best time. The early missions don’t take that long to beat, maybe a minute or two…but later on you’ll be spending about five minutes (or longer) trying to manage everything that the game throws at you. The game isn’t as complex as SimCity by any means, but it’s still a nice, dumbed down version that can fill your entire afternoon if you aren’t careful. Fans of the Build-a-lot series will probably enjoy this game, though trying out the demo beforehand is always a good idea.
Final Verdict: 6/10
Click below to visit the game’s page on Big Fish Games: