|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Maxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The game also sports an updated interface, one a bit more attractive and user-friendly than past games in the series. The look and feel is borrowed directly from MySims the game even includes many of the main characters to act as advisors for you here but these cutesy features dont change the fact theres a steep learning curve for players new to the SimCity formula. If you can get over the games hurdles, however, there is fun to be had here.
The missions offer hours of challenging strategy gameplay, and the Free Play area is the equivalent of having a giant toy set to fool around with, minus the mess. Additionally, theres the Contests section where players can compete in missions against other players online.
Though there are plenty of options for players to enjoy in SimCity Creator, the gameplay is not without its flaws. As mentioned, theres a frustrating lack of relevant instruction, even with the addition of the 15 tutorials. Sometimes its impossible to know how to meet mission objectives, and only through trial and error will you succeed. Your advisors offer only vague tips about general aspects of managing your city, and, ultimately, youre on your own, often with no clue as to how you should proceed. It can also be frustrating simply panning the camera around your city map. The game uses only the Wii-mote, and youll pan by moving the pointer to the edges of the screen. Its a set-up meant to mimic a PCs mouse, but its often jerky and unmanageable.
The presentation of SimCity Creator is modest yet attractive, and everything is neatly compartmentalized. In addition to the different gameplay areas, there are options to view snapshots taken while in-game, as well as view the myriad unlockables you acquire in the Missions mode. Menu navigation is straight forward, and the MySims theme definitely helps to lull players into what can otherwise be a fairly daunting gameplay experience.
On the graphics front, well, its pretty much everything weve come to expect from the SimCity franchise. So, its not the prettiest Wii game out there. Maps sport drab-green tiles, dull water areas, and crammed-city overviews. You can zoom in or out on the map, but the game never allows you to get up close and personal, which is probably for the best. The buildings look okay, but monster models and other disaster animations are right out of an N64-era game. The MySims characters are the most visually attractive element, though, they too are decidedly simple in appearance.
One of the games big surprises, however, is its music. SimCity Creator truly scores in the audio department. There arent a ton of sound effects, and the ones that are here arent particularly great, but the music really fits wonderfully alongside the SimCity experience. Its also recorded in pristine fidelity, with nice stereo separation and smooth transitions between themes. There are a few hiccups here and there during gameplay loads, but for the most part, everything sounds great. Theres also a ton of musical variety, and at any time, you can go into the collectables section and sift through the many themes youve unlocked. Its a small extra perhaps, but a nice touch that adds one more element of value to the overall package.
SimCity Creator isnt an overhaul of the series. If youve played any SimCity game before, youll likely feel right at home here. Its a touch of Déjà vu, but the new features offer some incentive for series veterans to perhaps give the game a look. Considering the updated interface, MySims characters, and the simple fact the game is on Wii, Creator seems to be aimed at a more casual audience. Its just too bad the developers didnt stay on track in this regard, because the learning curve is basically on par with past games in the series, and newcomers will have a frustrating road ahead when approaching this city planning venture.
That said, players who muster the moxy to press on will find a fair bit of enjoyment, as well as some truly challenging strategy gameplay. Its a hefty-sized package with plenty to do and see. If youre up for the sort of dry pleasure city building offers, SimCity Creator might be something worth checking out. There are some issues with the controls, much of the gesture gameplay is gratuitous, and the game offers all the perplexity of a chemistry set. But folks looking to role play as mayor might consider SimCity Creator as a rental.
CCC Freelance Writer