I just did a review of a bunch of city builder games and what my initial impression of them was. (always seems like a good idea when designing another of the same Genre) Here are some notes. Please feel free to comment on these or add your own reviews as well. If you add a review of a different city builder, please include a video link of possible (trailer of the game or something), but not needed. Of course, this is all still focused around the original question of "What makes a good City Builder?"
Poor handling. Handling needs to be good.
Electro city was fun, but limited, a little hard to use/understand the value of actions. Make actions easy to understand. Use AI to present good choices.
IBM CityOne, didn't try, but the video looked interesting. Was required to sign up prior to playing, and used a lot of fields. was detured when the other games are letting me try it without any data ties.
Zanpo, Very creative, mine craft like almost,
- too much to do with too little understanding to start.
- not very obvious,
- some block handling wasn't easy.
CityVille, good start, little childish.
- Easy drag drop of cit view.
- plenty of things suggesting the next thing to do.
- OVER KILL on the notifications. Perhaps just one task bar. But should have a task bar.
- I did find myself playing this one a little longer, but definitely notification overkill. perhaps too much screen activity in general,
- Also ran a bit slow compared to others.
I immediately gathered that
- movement should be easier, controlling drag drop/map positioning.
- menuing and icon purpose should be clear. No need to be too creative, when general icon shapes exist for many games like it that are established and reused already.
- Construction needs to be simple to understand
- Multiple tasks at a time are good.
- Don't hog the screen unless it is vital. Use a side bar for managing information updates and tips.
- Don't use a tutorial, as much as In game wizards that get you started, in the form of visual tips.
- Don't require users to fill out huge amounts of info before trying the game. Allow them to start without logging in. at least to a certain point, before requiring signup. Then make the signup light weight, fast and easy.
This doesn't account for in game strategy of tweaking overhead variables to get vastly different effects with the lower level filters/AI's.
If I had to reiterate, I'd say add the un-expected nature of SimCity and the economic strategy of Cities XL into your City Builder element.
I.e putting a park in residential makes the residential richer. putting residential next to industrial will remain cheap housing, most likely apartments/other rentals. and of course the many ideas presented so far.
Edited by hpdvs2, 10 January 2013 - 07:54 AM.