App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
City-building simulation games have been quite popular over the year, and with good reason: people like to run things without the fear of failure. Sure, it's possible for one of these virtual cities to crumble to dust due to economic decay, natural disasters or atomic monster attacks, but it's just a game so there's no real pressure. However, even without the risk it's still fun to pretend we're the one running everything.
Megacity HD takes the concept and boils it down to the absolute basics. Namely placing certain buildings next to others in order to make them better, and making groups of buildings better in order to create a successful urban center. It's much more straightforward in practice than is sounds. It's really just a bunch of tile placing, but certain tiles (a.k.a buildings) will have positive or negative effects on those around them. The goal is to use these positive attributes to increase the property values of houses and apartments in the far-left column, and once the added values meet or exceed a predetermined number the column is cleared and the next one slides over. It's pretty simple at first, but without proper planning it's very easy to get stuck later on.
The simple act of placing houses and other structures strategically has a pleasant addictiveness to it. As does watching the surrounding areas' appearances change based on the good or bad things dropped next to them. For example; a normal house looks okay, a "good" house looks fancier and a "bad" house looks rather gross. It's a simple effect that makes the experience that much more appealing. But what makes it most appealing, to me anyway, is how experience is steadily gained during play and will unlock new building tiles as higher levels are reached. It makes for one heck of a good reason to keep playing regardless of the lack of any sort of multiplayer. Save online high scores.
Really, all I can hold against Megacity HD is that it eventually runs out of stuff to unlock. Inevitably there won't be any more specific tasks to complete or community colleges and the like to earn, then it's down to nothing but score-chasing. Kind of a downer.
Of course, Megacity HD is an iOS app so there's a good chance it'll receive at least a few updates in the future. Some of which may add new things. Even if they don't, it's still one of those games that's always a pleasure to come back to. Whether or not everything's been unlocked, it's still going to make the hours melt away.