Metropolis – Or will you make it Gotham?

Considering that election time has just passed, it seems suiting to have game that has the player as a mayor. The game is Metropolis by Kramaley Games, and as the name suggests, you are building a virtual city, and of course, you are its mayor.

The game has the look and feel of your typical Facebook RPG, but while it dances precariously on that slippery slope, it doesn’t quite fall down it. It’s really more of a sandbox SimCity meets Facebook RPG. The game comes down to resource management as you build structures within your city in attempts to raise your culture, mitigate your upkeep costs, earn revenue, and keep your residents happy.

You start the game with a rather hefty chunk of change, a decent population, and you get to choose what type of city you will run (basically this determines if you want to get money, culture, or happiness faster). In typical Facebook RPG fashion, you purchase various items in order to grow your city, however in this game many have prerequisites (sort of like a tech-tree). For example, you have to buy an empty lot of land before you can buy, say, a grocery store.

As one might expect, the cost of everything scales up as you buy more, and resource management becomes more difficult as you unlock new and more expensive structures. Also, one can’t forget that there needs to be people to employ these new structures and plenty of jobs to go around, lest your city and its people end up in a predicament surprisingly close to the current reality.

For all intents and purposes, Metropolis is almost like a Facebook rendition of the well known, SimCity. Sadly, the game falls short of its predecessor not only because income and major changes are on a daily basis, but also because it lacks a distinct sense of style to it. You can’t see what your city looks like in anyway, and thus there is no way to really make it feel alive. Granted, the later would be rather difficult within the Facebook space, but it would be nice to actually see your efforts when you purchase that brand new park. Anything would be nicer to look at than the boring thumbnails of structures that exist now.

Of course, unlike the early SimCity titles, this game does directly include a social aspect. It’s nothing too extravagant, but you can connect your cities with those of your Facebook friends in order to help each other out. This is nothing special, as it seems like this is the default, cop-out social addition to any Facebook application.

However, there is an interesting “populate” feature that can put your city up for help from other players. Essentially, it advertises your need for new citizens encourages people whom you send a citizen to return the favor (or vice versa). This gives players a nice way to meet new people and work together with other players in the game that you may have not all ready known. Once combined with the previously stated “social” feature, the overall social outcome of this game is significantly greater: Not perfect, but better.

Despite the short-comings, Metropolis is a pretty well thought out SimCity-ish application. The resource balancing is done pretty well, and it is kind of fun to try and find those personal goals for your city (like trying to get the highest possible culture with the lowest possible upkeep costs). The social aspects are mediocre at best, but still better than the majority of Facebook games out there, and honestly the only real disappointment with this game is that you cannot see your city actually change and grow. Even if it were a static picture that changed from time to time, it would still invoke a significantly greater sense of accomplishment than the current collection of thumbnail images saying, “you have this.”