With our recent review of Empire Builder: Ancient Egypt HD, listing some city builders that we believe are the best of the best on iOS seemed like a good idea. And iPhone owners rejoice, because for once we didn’t include any iPad only games!
I grew up playing SimCity games and absolutely love them. The iPhone and iPad versions of SimCity hold true to the original games. Excepting scenario modes, SimCity is a city builder with a great free play mode. It truly is free play more than almost any other iOS city builder. There’s a grid and things to build on that grid completely at the will of the player. SimCity is probably my favorite city builder on iOS.
The Civilization Games aren’t really “city” builders so much as they are war strategy games; but the basic gameplay has similarities enough for me to include this game (with the exception of battling other empires). The Civilization games include building up an empire on a grid. Maintaining that empire and each of its cities are an important part of the games and what makes it similar to maintaining the various parts of an individual city in SimCity. Civilization Revolution isn’t as feature-filled as its desktop equivalent but neither is its price as high. I love Civilization games and I’m hoping that they port an older favorite of mine to iOS eventually as well, Alpha Centauri.
The Settlers is a rare gem. Normally games ported over from consoles or PCs don’t feel quite as good as games made specifically for touch-screen devices. The gameplay for the Settlers has a unique polish that only seems to be possessed by games that were created originally for a touch screen. The game is more focused on gathering resources than many other city builders. Also, unlike many city builders, the player is directing actually people in the city (or village) instead of just building and maintaining. The Settlers is one of the better city builders I’ve played.
I stumbled on Virtual City in the last few days when I was looking around for a new city builder to play (it’s one of my favorite genres). I believe fellow 148apps writer, Jennifer Allen, made a great point about Virtual City in her review, “It’s a much friendlier version of SimCity and one that feels more enjoyable and less spreadsheet management- ish than other behemoth city management games.”