City Builder Review (Wii)

Game Review: City Builder
Release: June 8th, 2010
Genre: Puzzle/ Sim City Building
Developer: Virtual Play Inc. / Collision Studios
Available Platforms: Wii
Players: 1
MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

The Wii has been the greatest gateway tool for any developer trying to introduce different, and hard core game genres to the casual market. With City Builder, Collision studio takes the city building simulation genre and simplifies the traditional mechanics for casual gamers of all ages. By stripping the game play to a few core components they manage to create a very competent game within the genre.  The overall presentation takes advantage of the Wii’s ability to create cartoon like graphics, as the look of the game has just that. Taking a lighthearted approach to the world created, everything animates in that bouncy like cartoon world where even the buildings move as if alive. The audio presentation matches the tone of the game with fun New Orleans inspired music.

At the start of the game you are plunged right away into the world, with no emphasis on story whatsoever as City Builder focuses on just that, building cities. In the first few levels players are shown the basics with the traditional in game tutorials before being introduced to the games more challenging, components. Focusing or three main areas the game uses, building roads, plumbing, and electrical, to set up your cities and are as complicated as city builder gets. Opting to not overwhelm the casual player the set up is actually quite nice. Removing the daunting interface found in many city building games, players are shown a series of tiles that have pieces in which to lay out on the playing field to build their cities. If a player gets a tile he or she does not want they may press the A button to switch the tiles, slot machine style. The player may only do this so many times as the tile system will overheat and players will suffer a time delay, this is shown by the little thermometer meter that displays how hot the tile area is getting. As players begin each round they are given a starting entry point and an ending point that are shown at the beginning of each level. From there, time is of the essence as players have a limited amount of time to lay down their tiles from one point to another strategically to allow for maximum building property for your houses, shops, etc. Once the time is up traffic begins to flow on the streets, water in pipes and so on. If you don’t have your path completed in time it could spell doom for your city.

City Builder has tons of modes and levels that offer many hours of game play. The inclusion of many different interacting characters and lighthearted atmosphere allow for a nice rainy day family get together where they can take turns to see who can come up with a better city. As games go this is a very, very casual introduction into the genera that may be a little too thin for the more serious gamer.  The introduction of maybe a few more complex ideas would have been nice, but their intended audience is very clear from the start.

Many gamers will honestly overlook the title, but if you have children 8 and younger this game is very entertaining and will provide hours of mind stimulating activities for the little ones.  City Builder for the Wii does everything it sets itself out to do, for the audience it was meant for.

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