Electronic Arts has announced the release of SimCity BuildIt on iOS and Android devices. The free-to-play installment of the classic city-building franchise has been designed specifically for mobile devices, and combines the classic “zone” building from previous SimCity installments with a hefty crafting system for constructing and upgrading new buildings.
Players begin construction on their new city by extending one road from the highway, and building their first residential zones and crafting buildings. Instead of commercial zones, these crafting buildings are specific, standalone structures, like a Building Supplies Store, Farmer’s Market or Furniture Store (as examples), and each serves a role in the crafting system. For instance, players start with a Building Supplies Store, which can be used to create nails. These nails, in turn, are used to build or upgrade residential zones and increase the town’s population.
Factories are also available, and these can be used to produce raw resources, like metal and wood, which are then turned into items like nails (in our example). Players will need to ensure all homes have power and water running to them by constructing power plants and water towers. In this area, players may have the choice of building a cheaper coal power plant, which emits lots of pollution, or spending more money on clean wind energy.As players level up, they unlock additional features and buildings for construction. This includes parks, which increase the population of nearby homes, educational buildings (schools, libraries, etc.) for boosting citizen happiness, public transportation systems, and even entertainment and gambling facilities, among others.
Crafting items takes time, but players can speed this up using premium currency. Users can also purchase more coins using real money, rather than waiting for their town to generate the funds over time.
For social features, players can visit other players’ towns and can purchase excess items at their Trade Depot. A basic Trade Depot is unlocked for players one they’ve reached a population level of 8,000 citizens, while the Global Trade Depot requires 10,000 citizens. Elsewhere, players can complete Cargo Shipments after they’ve hit the 20,000 citizen mark, and when players’ towns reach 90,000 citizens, they’ll unlock Dr. Vu’s tower and the ability to complete Disaster Challenges. In the case of the Cargo Ship Dock, players can complete these shipments to earn Golden Keys, used in specializing their city later on.
SimCity BuildIt is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. For more information on the game, check out our interview with Jason Willig, vice president and group general manager for EA Mobile, about its development.