Is there a creature on Earth more misunderstood than the humble town planner? They work hard all day, toiling for hours in the fields, trying to find that idyllic spot out in the sticks to place their town’s fire station, and then they sit up all night stylus-tapping missiles into the face of hospital-munching giant apes. And for what?
After a few hours designing your dream town in Sim City, however, you’ll want to send your own town’s council a bouquet of flowers and a box of Sees candies. Because appeasing the whining inhabitants of your haphazardly designed city is next to impossible. But then, it’s not really about them, is it?
As anyone who’s spent quality time with Sim City can tell any of the seven people worldwide who haven’t, the joy in Sim City is by building up a thriving metropolis and then systematically tearing it down, either driving your subjects out with inhumane tax hikes or summoning a tornado to evict them forcefully - it’s your city, after all.
See, it’s much more like a toy than a game. Although there’s progression in the sense that your successful designmanship (made-up word) unlocks increasingly cool-looking buildings to incorporate into your city, it remains so that there’s no solid goal here - just the relaxing knowledge that creating a beautifully symmetrical settlement, radiant with the excessive amounts of shrubbery and parkland that you doubled the ever-suffering local’s income tax to fund, is its own reward.
It’s the perfect handheld title, deep enough to engross you for months, but equally a flawless way to kill a few minutes on the bus. In which case there’s no option but to give it a spectacular score of 10. Hang on. You have to blow into the mic to put out fires? Oh, well. Nobody’s perfect.