SimCity DS - Nintendo DS

Remember SimCity? You know, the game that allowed you to pass away a summer by building and managing a city. Well the bad news for fans who've managed to wean themselves off the game first released in the early-90s, is that it's back, but this time for the ultra portable Nintendo DS. So has the charm of the first outing remained? We get playing to find out.

SimCity is very much one of those genres that you either love or hate, for us and the purpose of this review, it's probably best to tell you that up until a point (i.e., a couple of weeks) we love the original SimCity.

The new version follows the same premise as before, in that you have a pot a cash, a piece of land and you've got to build the best, biggest city you can with the funds available to you.

In doing so you have to manage everything from budgets, taxes, emergency services and the schools as well as a other choosing to run campaigns to improve the lives of your citizens.

There are three main zoning areas you can build; residential, industrial and commercial and depending on how much you build, the taxes you charge and where you build it depends on what you need more of and whether your inhabitants will move in.

A picturesque view of your city is displayed at all times on the screen at the top alongside a ticker tape of news and events and the touchscreen features the building interface, budget charts and other stats that make SimCity what it is.

The bottom touch screen also displays stuff like your available funds, the date, and the population of Pocketlintville, so you can brag to friends. There is even a meter telling you what you need to build next and a women who is happy to give you advice like build more police stations, or lower taxes.

EA, now keeper of the game, has done a very good job of keeping it true to the original versions on the PC, although one frustration we found, is that the games timer is paused when you are in build or stats mode. On the PC you used to be able to spend hours building away while in the background your money racked up, In SimCity DS this isn't the case and the result is a tad annoying.

Other differences include the need not to have to worry about water pipes and subway networks; for the better we think, and the removal of automatic demolition when it comes to zoning or building which again is frustrating.

Verdict

Overall SimCity DS is great fun and the fact that its now mobile means you can sit on the sofa for hours rather than looking like a sad muppet sitting in front of your PC building cities.

Of course if you aren't a fan of the classic PC game then this version isn't going to win you over. There are some frustrations, but these are little problems that don't effect the overall performance of the game.

Our only word of advice; if you get easily addicted, then be careful as this will quickly loose you a couple of evenings before Mrs Pocket-lint, or Mr Pocket-lint for that matter, threaten to leave you.