Tuesday, 16 March 2010

My Time With: City Rain

I get the feeling that somewhere a game design document exists with the following description: "A Game that combines Sim City and Tetris!" At least thats what I imagine the creators of City Rain thought before embarking on this. And it kind of works...

So each level presents you with an isometric grid of a city, each grid square containing houses, factories, schools, etc. Of course there's usually plenty of space for building too! Rather than buying houses, shops and other standard structures these fall out of the sky and slowly approach the land where your mouse pointer is. You usually have a choice between several types of building that you can place but you have to place one of them. Placing the same type of building on another increases the level of that building, for instance houses can be increased in size until they are large skyscrapers!

You can also buy specialist structures, mostly geared around improving the environment. So things like reforestation sites and eco-police.

The current needs of the city are represented by energy bars in the bottom left of the screen. Keeping all of these high is necessary to maintain a high agent status and indicate if you need to build more hospitals, police stations or need to create more jobs through shops and industry.

Each level has it's own specific goals, usually geared around building specific structures and earning cash. These start off easy but later on get a bit more difficult, mainly because every set of goals has a time limit (or rather a turn limit) to be completed in. The speed at which buildings drop also increases (at least it seems that way!) forcing you to make decisions faster.

So generally it's quite enjoyable but feels a little unstructured, the concept just didn't seem to work for me. The idea of buildings falling worked ok but when you then have to buy specific buildings it kind of negates the point. Plus you don't really get time to appreciate the choices you've made. Each level lasts only a handful of minutes and then you're whisked away to the next. Definitely something different though!

You can get City Rain from Gamers Gate!

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