Spend hours designing the perfect city, watching as tens of thousands of invisible Sim people move in and make it their home. Create a road network that spells out your favourite swear word, visible from outer space, and humbly accept the gift of a statue in your honour. Then smash the whole thing to pieces with a giant hammer and a huge spiky ball…
This version of SimCity offers nearly as many ways to destroy as it does to create, but given the amount of effort it takes to build anything worth dropping an asteroid on, the violence is best saved for the ready-made model cities that offer teasing glimpses of what could be possible with enough time and patience. It’s simple to play. Point the remote at the screen, draw a wiggly road, and paint some splodges of colour to show the zone (type of building) you want to go there. Hook the whole thing up to a power station, tunnel down to an underground view to add water pipes, then see how it develops.
Everything you build costs money, which you earn back by charging taxes. You can sweeten the deal for the Sims by making their residential areas green and uncrowded, ensuring they can travel to work easily, and siting the dirtier parts of the urban machinery well away from the posh bits. Once you delve into the pop-up menus there’s loads of stuff you can add to the city, including the Wii-specific ‘hero buildings’ that influence the style of architecture around them. If you want a business district made from donuts and biscuits, the option is there.
Drawing directly onto the map means you can create strange shapes with your roads and zones, but the stickiness of the pointer makes everything looks like it was sketched in the back of a car as it sped over a potholed road. Luckily there are tools for doing boxes, circles and straight lines. Neat cities look better. Although the menus are easy enough to navigate, the game insists on pausing every time you access them. Fair enough when you want to design an area without having Sims mess it up before you’ve finished, but the enforced slowness can be annoying. Even at full speed, the pace is glacial.