Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
App Reviewed on: iPad
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I don't think it would be particularly controversial to say that two of the most popular types of games on iOS are management-style and turn-based. Suburbia is a title that combines the management aspects of city building, and merges them with competitive and board game elements to make a pretty great mash-up of a turn-based management style game, complete with a pretty cool single-player campaign to boot.
The goal of Suburbia is to create a city with the highest population possible. To do this players purchase tiles that represent different structures, all of which fall into a category (residential, commercial, industrial, civic) and have their own individual properties and characteristics that affect the city's population, reputation, or income. Once these tiles have been purchased, players place them on the game board, and the arrangement of these tiles also changes the way the city's attributes are affected.
The key to Suburbia's success is how each of the game's resources interacts with one another. While the goal is to grow a large population, the amount of people that come to a city per turn depends on the city's reputation. But a city's reputation is dependent upon the structures built in the city, all of which cost money. On top of this, players are all choosing from the same limited pool of structures to build their cities, and this scarcity drives competition as the game ends when there are no more tiles to be dealt out. To add replayability, Suburbia also adds random elements like shared and private objectives, which can add to a city's population at the end of a game if completed.
Beyond being well-designed, Suburbia looks great on iOS with its clean but colorful interface. Also, this version contains its own single-player campaign, which cleverly uses real cities as each level and asks players to complete specific objectives before running out of tiles. While much of the competitive elements are stripped out of this mode, it is still a very challenging experience that satisfies in the absence of people to play against.
Overall, Suburbia is pretty awesome. It plays well, looks good, has lasting replay value, features local and online multi-player, and has a neat single-player mode. There's simply not much to complain about; except maybe that its board game roots are clearly visible and might be off-putting to some, but that's really about it. Even so, Suburbia is easy to recommend as a sleek-looking, competitive, and puzzly experience for iOS.