Version Reviewed: 1.1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Virtual City Playground owes a lot to CityVille Hometown. Using a very similar template, Virtual City Playground is a game all about cultivating a city and building it up into a huge behemoth of a populous. In that respect, it's much like SimCity Deluxe and G5 Entertainment's earlier release Virtual City. The difference here lies in the ever popular freemium elements that mean, while it's free at first, players will find themselves tempted into buying credits and points all in the name of speeding up progress. Virtual City Playground relies on such familiar gaming tropes a little too much. While patient gamers can enjoy a solid city building experience, the amount of time that's needed can get annoying.
Besides building various structures just like in a regular city building sim, Virtual City Playground also places heavy emphasis on routing relevant vehicles to appropriate buildings. This can take the form of sending the right material to a mill to eventually form bread and it can also be something as simple as having buses transport residents from their home to somewhere fun. Even garbage routes need to be set up but it's ok, it's explained in kind of a fun way.
Numerous missions are offered to unveil what Virtual City Playground has to offer. They start out pretty simple, gradually becoming more and more complicated. It all keeps things ticking along nicely, however, and makes for an appropriate way of showing what Virtual City Playground has to offer. It's a much more linear experience than anyone would expect from a title that includes the word 'playground', conjuring up images of sandbox style gameplay, but it does mean that players feel that they achieve a lot.
This does come at a price. All actions use up energy with only so much energy provided on a daily basis. It refills gradually but for those players who want to devote a lot of time to Virtual City Playground, it can mean frustration. It's a similar problem with the likes of credits and investment points which are all used to unlock buildings and other useful things like buying more land. These can be purchased through an in-app purchase or players can wait patiently for the game to catch up. It does create a plateau effect though and can get annoying.
Virtual City Playground is still enjoyable and the series of missions certainly adds to the appeal. For the hardened gamer however, restrictions can turn frustrating. Players with limited amounts of free time will lap Virtual City Playground up as a worthy alternative to Virtual City.