When the Virtual Console launched alongside the Wii in November 2006, SimCity was the flagship title for the SNES. Though the graphical limitations of the SNES resulted in a rather dated experience, the core gameplay held strong and the game managed to show newcomers to the franchise that it remains funeven after almost two decades.
That was SimCity’s first sighting on Wii. In late September of this year, the franchise returned to Wii for a more modernized version. Entitled SimCity Creator, Electronic Arts and Hudson Soft have really outdone themselves with this instalment, but not in a positive way.
Now then, where shall I begin? Let's start with the game’s control scheme. While working on your map, players use a point-and-click control style. Navigating through menus is done with the D-pad. Of course, that isn’t where the problem resides. By pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, players can navigate around the city, but unfortunately, the camera can’t be anchored while you’re working. So basically, if you lower or raise your arm when constructing something, your plans will more than likely be ruined due to the camera moving.
Once you’ve constructing your city, you can use your huge arsenal of weapons to destroy it. Dinosaurs, meteorites, huge balls, tornadoes, wild animals, hammers, you name it. Select a disaster from the menu and then watch it be summoned. It’s fun building your city, but it’s even better watching all your hard work go up in flames.
The main gameplay concepts introduced in the original SimCity are still present in Creator, but additional ideas have been implemented. One of them is the inclusion of online contests in which players who connect over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection can participate in specific challenges. Though it’s a great idea on paper, the entire concept is executed poorly. During each contest, participants can’t view how others are doing, which sort of subtracts from the whole idea of having contests. Also worth noting is that the developers took the easy way out and decided to ignore leaderboards.
Though the bulk of the time that players will spend playing Creator will be through the freestyle mode, there is a mission mode that’s sadly sort of flawed. Some of the missions appear unclear, thus resulting in a rather boring experience. Who wants to attempt to complete a mission in which they have no idea what to do?
Perhaps the strongest points of Creator are the graphics and audio. When you zoom into your city, there’s some nice details to be viewed and from an overall perspective, there’s also quite a bit of detail. In terms of audio, the game sort of falls in line with the definition of elevator music, but honestly, it fits the game quite well: relaxing music will only soothe the pain of the hideous controls.
By looking at recent review scores for the SimCity franchise, one could question where the franchise will go next. Unfortunately, Creator doesn’t break from the trend, mainly due to its controls and lack of depth. It’s quite easy to see that the game was a quick cash-in for Electronic Arts: though not terrible by any means, the game doesn’t quite capture the vision of a Wii SimCity that we all had in mind. For only 800 Wii Points, it would probably be a better idea to download the SNES version, which was released almost two decades ago. Trust us, it's miles ahead of this one.