Disney City Girl review

Disney City Girl is a life simulation Facebook game from Disney Playdom. It first came out in November, and has been showing up on the Emerging Facebook Games charts recently. It’s also available to play on Playdom’s web portal.

Disney City Girl casts players in the role of a girl who has graduated from college and decides to move to New York in an attempt to make something of her life. There is no option to play as a male character — unsurprising, given the title, but there is very little in the game that is not relevant to both genders. It is therefore somewhat surprising to see Playdom limiting its audience like this — the game is clearly heavily inspired by The Sims, which ably caters to players of both genders and all sexualities rather than limiting itself to the narrow stereotype of the shopping-obsessed girl.

It would not have been too much of a stretch for the game to be called something along the lines of “Disney City Life” and provide the ability for both genders to represent themselves as they saw fit, but sadly it is not to be, it seems. According to the developers, this is because the “paper doll” mechanic of dressing up an avatar is supposedly more popular with female players, and that female avatars get more interesting clothing. While this may well be true, it seems unnecessarily exclusionary and feels like pandering to stereotypes.

The game takes heavy cues from The Sims in its gameplay as well as its theme. The player character has a series of “needs” represented at the top of the screen, and these must be satisfied in order to perform certain actions. Keeping needs high turns the player character “dazzling” — similar to The Sims Social’s Inspired condition — which unlocks additional actions and bonuses. If needs drop too low, the player character will refuse to perform certain actions. The character will also refuse to perform the same action too many times in a row, preventing mindless grinding to a certain degree. Interacting with various items around their apartment rewards the player with experience points, currency and items that often have very little to do with the object that was interacted with. Going to sleep in a bed, for example, frequently rewarded me with a washer; using a computer to play games rewarded inexplicably rewarded me with song lyrics. Certain items also allow the player to improve their skills in areas such as cooking, charisma and music.

The player is guided through the game’s possibilities through a series of quests. This to-do list shows the player how to redecorate their apartment, buy new items, go to work, unlock additional activities at work and go shopping. They also offer regular rewards, which help the player to level up and be able to afford more expensive items.

A key part of Disney City Girl’s gameplay is inspired by the numerous “fashion games” in the mobile and social sectors. Every item of clothing the player character wears has a certain “points” value for various different types of outfit — everyday, active and so on — and certain tasks require that the player be wearing an outfit of a particular type of over a certain number of points. Certain jobs also provide bonuses to their payments if the player is wearing the correct type of outfit. This helps encourage the player to keep spending in-game currency on clothing items as they progress through the game.

Social features in the game are relatively conventional for the most part. Players may visit their friends who are also playing the game and develop their relationship statistic with one another. Having a higher relationship with a friend means that additional actions may be performed in their house, but unlike The Sims Social these interactions are only ever positive in nature — there is none of the comic mischief found in EA’s title.