Editor's Choice: SimCity

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Release Date: 07/03/2013

Editor's Choice

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Sometimes the world isn't a nice place, everyday stories are reported on the news that make you wheep for the future of this great planet. Whether it's rising fuel prices or more global events, there is always some sort of stroy that makes people shout out "This is what I would do!"

So perhaps now is the perfect time for the release of SimCity on the PC and Mac, a game that lets you create your own Mecca on Earth. This behemoth that first appeared way back in 1989 has returned after a ten-year break, and its mission? Like previous games in the acclaimed series, to simply consume your every waking moment. And it will thanks to a host of new options and its sumptuous 3D isometric eye candy, all mated to classic SimCity gameplay.

At its core, the city builder remains all about managing; from budgets and your population through to the layout of individual streets. Newbies might raise a wary eyebrow but far from being a dry experience, the latest SimCity goes out of its way to make everything as accessible as possible; laying down power and water no longer requires a fetishist-like lust for micromanaging pipes. No, they now simply follow the layout of your road network – and using the 'poo-cam' (trademark GAME), you can even see how efficiently your city's bowel movements are travelling with a click of an icon. Oh joy.

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Most importantly, SimCity now offers you the ability to 'specialise' your metropolis. For example, create a Las Vegas-like sprawl dedicated to gambling or make a UCLA-like campus town for students to study and throw up in. Another addition is the always-on net connection (even in single player mode, folks...) that means you can trade supplies and essentials with other nearby cities set up by fellow megalomaniacs. Need more police? Then draft 'em in from, say, neighbouring 'Stasiville' to crush any civil uprisings.

And no SimCity would be complete without a roster of 'disasters' – those one-off events that will test you and your city's resilience by chucking tornadoes, fires, meteor strikes and the walking dead at you and your precious suburbs. It all adds up to a game dripping in content and variety – in fact, the game's only downside is that it's so engrossing that it could lead to marriage breakdowns, job losses and mortgage foreclosures. But when virtual life is this good, who cares? As long as you keep paying those quarterly broadband bills, everything will be just fine...

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