City Life is a great underestimated game which many SimCity fans will enjoy. The installation onto a vista machine was simple and once installed you don’t need the game disc to play. It also does NOT require online activation unlike other games. I will just warn people that when selecting city life on your computer be patient as it seemed as if the game wasn’t loading and then it suddenly did. Only an extra minute or two but after that it loads very quickly. There is no intro video and you are shown the main page instantly.
The whole point of city life is to create a city with different social classes. This game really feels like a better version of SimCity societies and those that have instantly struggled with the class culture problems clearly haven’t given this game enough time. The intro page has a mini tutorial, which is just a page of pictures and writing helping you to understand the gameplay and once you load a city the game will help tell you what to do via a little box in the corner of the screen.
When you select to play a game you can play in sandbox mode (with no goals) or a scenario. Both versions actually play the same, Scenario mode is not really a challenge, you have long term goals such as raising a population to a certain number, accumulating a certain amount of money or attracting a certain percentage of a certain class to your city. I’d advise anyone to play a scenario as the gameplay is long and you cannot unlock all the maps without earning bronze, silver or gold medals (through completing scenarios).
In this 2008 version you are given the option of selecting basic city life maps or 2008 maps, the game still plays out the same though so choose an area you’d like to play in. The game starts by placing city hall and after that laying out residential areas. People will build the houses but the type of houses built and the classes that inhabit them will be based on other buildings in the area which you choose to place individually (like in SimCity societies). For example, blue collar workers will be attracted to an area by blue collar work and recreation buildings. Radical chics will be attracted to radical chic buildings.
You begin the game only able to attract the have-nots, blue collar and fringes to your city. Certain classes don’t get along such as the blue collars and fringes and you have to learn to keep them far enough apart or build certain buildings that can help ease the tension. This aspect of the gameplay is what makes this game different from SimCity. In SimCity societies you could build different areas but there were not real consequences as there are in this game. Getting new classes to be attracted to your city is not so hard it just takes a long time and a lot of funds. This is definitely a game to take you days, not a few hours.
For me this game fills the gap that SimCity societies left when it wouldn’t work on my pc. The graphics are great, you can really zoom in on your city and you can view it at different times of the day, dawn, noon, dusk and night. This is purely for fun but viewing your city from street level is a great feature that is lost in most SimCity games. You can really get close to your citizens and watch them talking to each other, or sometimes there’s even a heart attack scene. It’s very detailed. The buildings are very detailed too and in 1st person view you can actually walk through alleyways and see things you might not see so easily fro a top-down view.
You don’t need the manual to play this game, all of the buttons in the game have a good description of what they do, hover for a few extra seconds and additional information will show up. Although the manual is still useful in learning a few extra features such as what button to hold down in order to build roads in the shape you choose.
I’d recommend this game to anyone especially to those that may have been disappointed with SimCity societies, just give it some patience, playing the game is easy, mastering it is not. But with casual music and a NON-glitchey game I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys city builders, and those that with to get into these types of strategy game. Very good game!