The battle for the crown of top social game maker is far from over. Zynga still holds a comfortable lead at 240,000,000 monthly active users, but each of their tentpole games face the threat of competitors every single day. One of those competitors is Electronic Arts, whose Sims Social game has proven to be a durable hit for the company. In the same vein, EA has recently released SimCity Social on Facebook. The game is the offspring of the famous SimCity franchise and while it may share much of the same genetic code, does it have the tools to succeed in this new social environment?
SimCity Social is essentially a game about managing currency and materials to build a prosperous city with a high population. You must manage the needs of your people, the demands of your infrastructure and even natural disasters to keep your citizens thriving and growing. It’s been the SimCity way for years, and the new game does justice to its provenance.
The game begins with a great tutorial, helping you build residential areas, roads and attractions – all of which help attract your first populations. You have a given amount of energy per turn, as is standard for these types of social games, and with it you build a series of improvements and watch the people roll in.
One cool element is that the people that come in to your city aren’t just Joe Nobodies, they’re your real Facebook friends and as they walk in to your city, they take up residence in one of the specific houses you built. This may not be as attractive for some users, but people with close connections who also play the game (teenagers, especially) may get a kick out of having a friend living in the city and giving them the best spot in the city, or the creepy mansion up on the hill, or sticking them in the projects with all the other reprobates. I have on idea if you can build a ghetto yet, but I’m going to try!
As you play through the game, you’ll realize that the game is more than just about building residences. There are factories that produce materials necessary for more building, and farms as well. The more of all these things you buy, the more money you can put into attractions to help attract people, and the more people you attract, the better your houses look. That part is a bit different than other city games – instead of being able to unlock the ability to purchase bigger houses, in SimCity Social your houses automatically begin to upgrade as you attract more people to a specific location. It’s a cool touch that lets you focus on the quality of a spot with a laser sight. It adds more strategy to the game, in my opinion.
There are a lot of elements to try in SimCity, so go check it out and let us know what you think.