The final stop on our impressions trip takes us to wonderful SimCity, the sim game that started it all, for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
I originally scoffed at the idea of a game like SimCity on the iPhone. Not only does the game require a large investment of time to do anything, the idea of using the touch screen to place buildings meticulously on a grid seems impractical. EA may have proved me wrong, however, as it seems they have found a way to compensate for your fat, ungroomed fingers.
The controls act the same way they do for Google maps. Sliding your fingers together, inward, zooms out, while sliding them apart zooms in. Touching and dragging moves your view around the map, while continuous taps cycles through the zoom levels. Placing singular objects is simple, but placing large zones or roads can be tricky to maneuver. Once you've selected the zone you want, you touch and drag to the appropriate length and width. However, there are times when you may find zones overlapping or roads not lining up properly. EA allows for easy corrections as you can reposition or delete unwanted blocks by the touch of a finger. I found this to be a little wonky at times the more dense an area becomes due to the increased chances of deleting the wrong block or building.
As you can see from the screenshot, you may also find yourself struggling with screen real estate during busy sessions. Also, first-time players will have to overcome a bit of a learning curve when it comes to figuring where all the menus are and what they do.
Whatever you do, though, don't go thinking this is SimCity Lite. This mobile version is fully featured, with pre-built cities, accountant recommendations, water pipes, natural disasters, etc. The works.
Zooming in as close as you can on the 2D sprites reveals intricate details, such a smoke emitting from towers, or shading alongside the buildings. Overall, a really nice graphical presentation that compares similarly to SimCity 3000. You won't be able to rotate the map, however.
SimCity certainly bucks any mobile gaming trends with this offering. If you need your Will Wright fix on the go, this could feed your need. The older demo I played wasn't completely finished, as there were still a few minor bugs and glitches, but I was promised these would be ironed out for the final release.
SimCity will be out for the iPhone and iPod Touch this month.