SimCity, the seminal city building and management series, has had a rocky lifespan on the App Store. The original SimCity game for the iPhone was released nearly two full years ago. At that time it was hard not to be impressed that a fully featured version of the game was running on a mobile phone, but the reality is that game had some pretty serious bugs and performance problems, especially when your population grew to a few hundred thousand.
Then last July EA Mobile pulled the old SimCity title in favor of SimCity Deluxe [$2.99] which indeed was an overall better experience but came with some new problems of its own. Both versions of SimCity suffered from a lack of screen real estate on the iPhone and iPod touch, and neither ever felt like that remarkable of an experience.
After checking out SimCity Deluxe for iPad in person, though, it seems that the franchise has finally found a device that can do it justice. SimCity Deluxe for iPad uses the graphical assets from SimCity 4, so it looks gorgeous on the bigger screen. The biggest benefit however is the revamped user interface and extra screen space that allows for simple and intuitive controls. The content is largely the same as the iPhone version of SimCity Deluxe, with 7 starter cities modeled after real world locations, 7 scenarios with specific goals to work out, and of course the ability to start completely from scratch. An EA rep demoed the game for me and this video shows off a ton of the features in the game:
Being a fan of SimCity, I always wanted to like the iPhone versions but they just felt too cramped and frustrating to play. With most of those frustrations alleviated thanks to the bigger screen on the iPad, I can actually picture myself playing this game a lot more. The highly customizable and easy to use interface is friendly to newcomers or casual players, but doesn’t sacrifice the ability to dig in to some of the more advanced techniques. The release date is scheduled for this month, and we’ll take another look at SimCity Deluxe for iPad when it finally does hit the App Store.