I’ve been enjoying city building title SuperCity from Russian newcomer innoWate for over a week, now. It looks like city simulations might be another hot social genre in 2010, and hopefully SuperCity will be able to ride that wave to at least a modest level of success. But its slower pace and less forgiving gameplay all but ensure the game won’t lead the pack. Yet it is precisely these elements that attract me to the game.
The game works more-or-less like you’re probably imagining. Played from a traditional Sim City camera perspective, players build studio apartments (and later condos, later still castles), as well as shops, schools, power stations, etc. Each of these structures takes anywhere from 2 hours to over 24 hours to construct. Players can then return to their city every 4-8 hours and collect the rent money that has accumulated.
I say the game is unforgiving and slow for a couple of reasons. The amount of rent collected is a low enough percentage of the total building price that you won’t recoup your investment in that building until you’ve collected several times. Additionally, players don’t have the ability to move buildings. If you decide you want to re-arrange, you are required demolish that building (and pay the demolish fee no less), losing that investment.
I’m making it sound un-appealing, but it really isn’t. The slowed-down pace means two things:
1) Every new building you construct is a victory. You’re building a CITY here… not planting a Farm. Saving for a new power plant SHOULD be a big deal. It makes everything feel more like a true construction project.
2) Actual city planning becomes important. You need to have a rough outline of what will go where, since additions are semi-permanent.
Basically, if you come across someone’s SuperCity stuffed with high-end estates and mega malls, this is a more significant achievement than someone’s decked out farm or pet house. The slower pace appeals to me, but will it appeal to the masses?
SuperCity launched Dec. 25th with 8,000 daily players. As of today there are 15,300 daily players. So, this is still a quite small title. The entire experience is still a little rough around the edges – Awards, Gifts, and other features are still listed as “coming soon.” But give it a shot. It’s one of my current “play daily” titles. And there aren’t many of those.