The SimCity series, whose design serves as a skeleton for VoxelCity, has always wanted to give you the feeling of being a mayor as best it could. Unfortunately, be it the personal touch of speaking with advisors, to the detailed population and their minute upheavals; the detail you liked from Maxis’ series has been scrapped or copied unflatteringly in VoxelCity.
For those uninitiated to city-builders, you begin VoxelCity with an empty piece of land upon which you are expected to build and maintain a city. You do this by managing resources spent and balancing costs with the tricky issue of taxes. You build power plants, water towers, and parks, along with various types of building districts. There are Industrial, Commercial, and Residential zones, that each come in three sizes, with each favoring a certain type of zone next to it. Better placement of zones increases population (represented by tiny, barely-noticeable arrows lunging up or downwards) and tax dollars.
Alongside is the music, which is quite pleasant. The tracks vary in energy but mostly have this spacey quality to them, and change abruptly in the most quirky fashion, all while synchronizing their tempo to the rising and falling arrows of your city’s growth.
Before you get excited, I should mention that to most players, the harrowing difficulty might at first stifle your dreams of an expansive metropolis. Starting with one of each zone on easy mode was almost impossible to manage for me, because despite having 3,000 residents, they were all somehow not paying taxes for decades, through what I assume was either a glitch or an oversight. But then, after messing around with about ten different city combinations, I found out how easy this game really was. Through mere shots in the dark, I found a combination of zones that clicked, and the whole game was over, essentially. Tap fast-forward and watch your money reach it’s hilariously small limit of 200,000 in no time, even on the hardest difficulty setting.
Is a goal even present in this game? Though my memory of the SimCity games is foggy and ends with SimCity 3000, I definitely remember various options to make your town more aesthetically pleasing and realistic. That was the challenge and purpose; to create a real-looking metropolis from scratch before godzilla came and stomped it down. In VoxelCity, the ridiculous amount of Power Plants, Parks, and Water Towers needed forbids your town from ever looking presentable, and the cartoonish graphical style doesn’t help my attempted recreation of Chicago, especially since there’s barely an indication that I’m making a mistake besides a number turning red. No giant monsters to come destroy it either. What a gyp.
Android strategy games have much incentive to slim down their PC counterparts for a more streamlined mobile experience, but too slim can easily cross the line into anorexia. If you want something to idly tap squares on, there are better options for your money, like a drum machine.
Is it Hardcore?
Bland and easy strategy game that wants to talk like SimCity, but can’t walk like it.