App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Even though they've expanded into other genres in the past, NimbleBit is probably best known for their casual timer-based management games like Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. Something about those games was so compelling despite their utter simplicity that they're some of the only games I saw on my non-gaming-friends' phones. Bit City is a game that takes the same, simple management principles and applies them to a city-builder game, which makes for a pleasant–but not particularly special–treadmill to progress through when you want something to do on your phone.
Much like in Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, your task in Bit City involves incrementally creating and improving something, and in this case that something is a city. To build your city, you can tap on plots of land to buy and zone land for residential, business, or service use.
From here, things depart from NimbleBit's previous games a bit. The progression to advancing your city can be tackled from multiple angles, including the purchasing of more lots, unlocking cars to traverse your city streets, upgrading existing lots, or going to city hall to impose higher fees or taxes on your inhabitants. This might make Bit City sound like it has some Sim City elements in it, but that would be overselling the nature of these systems. Like most contemporary clicker games, all of these “decisions” you make are really just buttons you push to make the rate at which you earn money increase.
Bit by bit
As another marked departure from Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, Bit City doesn't revolve around you building and upgrading a single city. Instead, you progress through a series of cities, each with their own specific goals that you have to meet before being able to move onto the next.
Most of these goals are to reach a population limit, which is generally just a symptom of how many lots you've bought, but earning the capital to buy those lots more quickly comes from investing your money into upgrades that increase your earn rate. To mix things up, Bit City also provides side-missions that persist across every city and give you something more interesting to work toward.
I definitely appreciate the aesthetics of Bit City's voxel-y landscapes and pleasant muzak-inspired soundtrack, but my personal enjoyment of the game largely starts and ends there. In fact, if it weren't for the pedigree that NimbleBit has, I'm not sure I would've played Bit City beyond the first city.
Bit City largely just feels like yet another clicker. The game asks you to press buttons to meet goals and press other buttons to help you meet the goals faster. It demands very little from the player and it provides very little satisfaction in return.
The bottom line
There was a time on the App Store where a game like Bit City could be a hit if you made it charming enough. But in 2017, it feels really uninspired. If you are still in the market for a clicker, Bit City is a pretty charming one, but it doesn't really offer anything new to the genre.