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Review: SimCity BuildIt

SimCity BuildIt is the youngest in a long line of Sim games from EA. The premise is similar to all of its siblings. Your job, as the mayor of this new city, is to build it so that all citizens are happy, healthy, and rich… oh, and they need water and electricity, too. Hmph.


Only a few games have sparked the simultaneous feelings of obsession and ultimate frustration in me. SimCity BuildIt is one of those games. I cannot tell you how many times I deleted the game and started over in order to really get the hang of what I was doing (sidenote – I’m guessing this kind of thing would be frowned upon if you were a real life mayor, but we’ll get to that in more detail in just a little bit).

My first go-round, I connected to FaceBook as soon as I could and did my best to appease the ever-demanding population of my city, Pinkalicious. Yes, you read that right. Pinkalicious, bitches. It starts out easy because they give you 25,000 Simoleons (coins that you can earn) and 50 SimCash (green bucks you have to pay for). You build your first road, a couple of residential areas, start your power grid, and make sure your budding town has water. Then you have to build factories for basic supplies and a couple of supplies stores to turn your basic supplies (like metal and wood) into something more (like nails, lumber, hammers, etc.) The starter factories have a dirty radius of 12 X 12; which means your Sims are not going to want to live close to it.




Sim-Happy-o-meterI’m not going to claim to be an expert on this game, I mean, come on, it’s not even a month old yet. But, since I am a gracious person, I will share a few of the things I have learned along the way. For starters, just because you can add another residential area doesn’t mean you HAVE to. You need to make sure that you have provided enough basic services (water and electricity to start, sewage and waste management later) to be sure that your new residential area won’t be abandoned. Upgrade the residential areas you do have to earn Simoleons and save up for the things that your Sims will need. Also, at a certain level, there are four things each block of residential areas need to max out your building upgrade potential – 1. A fire stations 2. A police station 3. A park 4. A health clinic.

Your government buildings are the Town Hall, City Storage, City Hall (for collecting taxes), and the Mayor’s Mansion (unlocks achievements that earn you SimCash). Your Sims will love living next to City Hall but will not like living next to City Storage so, place it away from your residential areas to maximize happiness. Happier Sims = more taxes so plan accordingly.

When a residential area is ready for upgrade, you have the option to request new building plans. I tend to use this when the items needed for the upgrade will take more than 2 levels of production to get or it’s some I don’t see offered a lot in Global Trade. For example tables need lumber, nails, and hammers. This means, producing metal for the nails, wood for the lumber, and a combo of wood and metal for hammers. Then you take all of that and make a table. If I can’t find tables in Global Trade, I’m requesting new building plans every time they require tables. Keep in mind, as you progress in the game you unlock basic resources that take longer and longer to produce. I just unlocked “Sugar and Spices” and it takes four dang hours to produce one. ONE!

Leveling up will give you access to more and more services. These are items that, if you don’t provide them, will eventually force your Sims to abandon your residential areas (which means you aren’t earning taxes on them).

  • Level 1 – Power*
  • Level 1 – Water*
  • Level 5 – Fire Stations
  • Level 8 – Sewage*
  • Level 9 (I think) – Road Upgrades (yes, your Sims will abandon the residential areas due to traffic, I told you they were demanding)
  • Level 12 – Police Stations
  • Level 14 – Waste Management*
  • Level 16 – Health Services

* = city-wide, each provides services to a set number of residential areas

During play, you’ll see little thought bubbles pop out of the residential areas. These will tell you if your sims are happy (little blue picture inside the thought bubble) or unhappy (little red picture). The red thought bubbles will let you know what your Sims need. The blue bubbles can go one of two ways. Either they will tell you something your Sims want (like more transportation or education) or it’ll be positive feedback with the potential of dropping a special item that you can use to upgrade your city storage or expand your land (after reaching level 10).



Sim-DumbI’ve looked into what is the best investment for your SimCash and I have found one thing that is common… nobody recommends spending your SimCash on speeding up production. Also, don’t use it to add slots to your factories. As your population grows, factories with more slots (and a smaller dirty radius) will become available to buy for Simoleons.

I haven’t found the magical setup for residential blocks that results in max happiness AND population. I connected to Facebook early on and went through a two-day phase where I would delete the game from my tablet and start over without connecting to FaceBook so I could try to “get it right.” As I mentioned before, I would delete the game and start over and finally, I found a set up I was happy with. I re-connected to FaceBook and started moving everything around. I demolished a lot of the residential buildings so I could raise more money through building upgrades to make sure each of my residential blocks had all fire, police, health, and park services. I have started seeing the types of high-rises featured on the startup screen so I think I’m doing something right.


I haven’t unlocked disasters yet so, if anyone reading this can let us know what to expect that would be great! I remember playing one of the very first versions of SimCity and being able to unlock tornados to demolish stuff and it was oddly satisfying,

Finally, specializations like education and transportation won’t effect your the happiness level of your Sims. They’re going to moan and groan until you give it to them but, it is definitely something you can take your time saving up for.

Since the game is relatively new, there are some things that could be better but, overall, this game is highly addictive so proceed with caution!

Score | 9/10Rosie’s Wishlist for SimCity BuildIt
  • Currently, you can go to the Trade Depot or the Global Trade HQ, to sell/buy things on the open market. You can either sell things at the Trade Depot or buy things for sale at the Global Trade HQ. It would be nice to have somewhere that you could advertise you want to buy certain things and set the price you would pay and have people fill your order.
  • Alliances! It would be great to communicate to your friends about things you need or to be able to sell to them directly.
  • I have had a hard time buying things through Global Trade. By the time I tap it, travel to the city, then try to buy it, someone else has snagged it up. Also, when other players don’t buy the items you list in the trade depot, it can take a while for Daniel (the mayor of your first neighboring city) to buy the items from you. I’m not 100% sure if he always buys your un-purchased items but, so far, he has bought all of mine.
  • Achievements: The available achievements are pretty standard stuff… provide services, grow your city, trade, etc… I’d like to see some achievements that are more silly or creative. Like, a combination of providing education and gambling to 100% of the population unlocks the Mafioso achievement.
About Rosangela Robinson (7 Articles)
Rosangela Robinson is an introvert turned party girl turned mother-of-two. Having recently re-joined the workforce after five years of being a stay-at-home mother, she now spends her days trying desperately to balance her love of her family with her love of reading and writing in a way that leaves her family feeling loved but still allows ample time for her to escape to a place where her family may or may not exist.

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