City Story Mobile Game Review for iOS

City Story

City Story - Yet another city-building and management app that fits on your mobile

"A refreshing take on the genre",  "what a unique perspective", blah blah blah: you don't want to hear the tired old phrases used in every review of every game in the city-building genre. What you need to know about this game is that it effectively lets you be the mayor of a relatively small and colourfully-illustrated town, taking care of economic  and industrial aspects of the town while growing its population. Oh, and there's a social aspect as well. It's far from unique, and definitely not the best, but it's good for a casual mayoral romp if you've got nothing better to do. Continue Reading

Release Date: 12/07/2012

Available on: iOS

App Store Rating: 4.0/5

Gameplay Video

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Please note that the Android version is still available in the app store but no longer supported by the developers.

Big Whoop

It's pretty difficult to get excited about any one game in the city building genre because there are simply so many of them, all claiming to offer a different perspective or a unique angle on this niche of games. If I have to hear one more reviewer describe a game's approach as "refreshing" however, I may very well go out and burn a real city to the ground. And so it came to pass that I had a little tinker over a period of a good few days with City Story, coming to the table with an attitude that was neither positive or negative, but one that this game would have to work extremely hard to spin into a positive feeling. Things weren't helped by the promise of a social aspect to the fun, either. After all, Sim City 2000 always did just fine without a social aspect, and that game let you build a fully-fledged city.

A Tired Story

If you want an idea of what the game is like, then think Social City but in the palm of your hand. After all, City Story is almost an identical clone of this game with the aesthetics and moving parts changed around a little. Starting off involves having to build things like factories that manufacture goods, earning you money and therefore the potential to purchase other things for the various aspects of your tiny little city.

 Increasing the population is pretty much one of your main goals, and this can be done by getting involved with building commercial buildings to raise the initially low ceiling on the population numbers. As your population grows, you're also going to need somewhere to house them, which is when you can start to build residential areas to give your population places to live. It's a fairly standard cycle that is common to every single one of these city-building games, and this circular, self-sustaining gameplay in the style of Social City or Cityville (they're all simply different sides of the same coin, really) is pretty much what you can expect from City Story.

Desperate to Be Different

Where City Story attempts so desperately to distance itself from the utterly generic  boxes (they might as well be made from ticky tacky) that most of the games from this genre comfortably spend their time in is in its social dimension. By this I mean that developers Teamlava (a brand of Storm8) have actually taken away some of the usual responsibilities such as hands-on management of your various buildings, leaving you effectively with just the management of the game's factories and freeing you up to involve yourself in the earning potential of the game's social side.

By social side, I mainly mean that you end up offering to clean the houses of your neighbours (who are honest-to-god, real-life players of this game out there in the world) in return for money. Some may see this diminished management and increased social element as positive, but I'm better many will also detest the fact that a city-building sim like this doesn't actually involve as much hands-on management of the city as its position in the genre would generally indicate.

The Well of Fun Runs Dry

If you're looking for variation in the game, this comes in the form of its content, which is comprised of around ten types of houses and around twenty types of business, all unlockable over time of course. The problem is that in spite of the pretty pastel-coloured graphics and quirky little animations that play as your city goes about being a city, the game really gets quite boring once you run out of money. Once you do, you either have to wait for a long time to get anything done or pay real money to haste things along. A freemium format like this is acceptable when the game's actually got something unique to offer, but when paying money gets you a few more buildings in a game that's almost as generic Social City, the spending of even a single penny would leave most feeling utterly short-changed.


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Please note that the Android version is still available in the app store but no longer supported by the developers.

City Story is developed by TeamLava.

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