Megapolis - A pleasantly quant little city-building sim that's marred by the red tape of freemium
For all of you Sim City veterans out there, there's hope for the city-building sim yet: Megapolis is your best bet for building a city that spans hundreds of square miles on a device that's no more than a few centimetres across. Residential buildings are essential for housing the population; industrial buildings are a necessity for the industry and economy of your city; even the landscaping is in your control in a pleasantly colourful and massively detailed game that's sadly just a little bit too embroiled in the freemium world for the liking of many. Continue Reading
Release Date: 12/12/2012
Available on: iOS, Android
Construction Spanning Decades
With the games like SimCity and Simcity 2000 making pretty much anyone who has had first-hand experience with them feel rather old, one would think that the age of the city-building sim has definitely passed the gaming world by. Though that may be true in terms of the volume and frequency of city-sim releases, there is still plenty of untapped potential in this genre, even after a staggering 25 years after the original Sim City was released. The pleasantly-named Megapolis not only rolls off the tongue like a dream but also has players imbued with the ability to construct an entire city's infrastructure from the ground up, and all on a device that's potentially smaller than any one of the single bricks that would be used in the virtual city's construction.
Originality isn't going to be the primary asset of this game since we all know that the city-building simulation genre is one that's quite crowded, both in the Facebook and the mobile-game world. But no one here is trying to compare this game to Sim City, not consciously anyway (though Sim City was so ubiquitous at one stage there is likely to be a bit of Simcity bias at the subconscious level of thought). Megapolis actually has its own brand of city-building fun to offer anyway. After all, it's pretty fun to be told you're in charge of the construction, management, and infrastructure of an entire municipality, no matter what the context.
Your numerous responsibilities as de-facto deity of this city can be categorised into the building of the structures themselves (developing infrastructure), management of the city's economy, and tending to the population by keeping them happy and also keeping the numbers rising. There's even an aspect of landscaping involved in the action since you're in charge of all of the land that your city is being built on, allowing you to tinker with the shape and the placement of buildings in a relatively flexible manner. It's city building on the micro scale and city management on the macro.
Megabucks Cost Mega Bucks
The specific buildings to be used in your quest for financial and general municipal success include shops, residential buildings, industrial factories, and eventually skyscrapers and other gigantic buildings once your city reaches physical and financial maturity (the two of these obviously being inextricably linked). The limitation here is that you're bound by the game's two currencies: standard money, which is readily available through taxing your population and income from attaining large contracts, and megabucks, the rarer currency that is also the premium coin of the Megapolis world.
The problem with Megapolis (or the main problem amongst the many that this game has) is that there is only so much you can do with the game's regular coinage, forcing you to either wait for the rare occasion that megabucks fall into your lap or- and this is where the frustratingly freemium nature of the game stars to sour the experience - hand over some of your hard-earned real-life money to fund the virtual city you're building.
An Impeachable Offence
Other problems include the lack of true freedom in your city building (you're basically following a set of tasks in order to advance in the game and the annoying lack of availability of some items until you reach a certain level. All of these things take away from the relative freedom you had to make your own mistakes in games like Sim City, plus the graphics are somewhat below par when you're fully zoomed in. Megapolis is a decent attempt at city management, but it is sadly wrought and warped into a disappointing shape by the Social Quantum's over-zealousness in the freemium department as well as the game's multiple flaws.
We discuss a potential sequel for Megapolis Game. You may want to check it out here
Megapolis is developed by Social Quantum Ltd.