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1 Review

Manufacturer: Team Lava / Online Role Play Game

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      11.01.2012 09:37
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      One of my all time favourite apps!

      Ok so I can admit I am a bit of a geek when it comes to computer games. Even in my mid twenties I do still play computer games, mostly on my Ipad. I am very loyal to the ones I enjoy and will occasionally seek out new ones based on the things I like, but for the most part I tend to stick to games I know and like.

      One of my favourite and also one of the ones I have been playing the longest is 'City Story'. It's a game produced by a company named Team Lava, who are known for producing games that tend to reach the top of the download charts. Their games often hit the number one spot for games in their genre.

      City Story is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, it's a story about a city. The city, and the story is up to you as the player though. So with regards to limitations there really aren't many, let your imagination be your guide!

      When you first download City Story, (which at this point I will point out is absolutely free to do so) you are given a foundation city. This consists of a basic plot of land with a few houses and community buildings, a factory and some basic roads for transport. From there you can re-arrange your buildings how you want them to look and begin to design the layout for your city. The foundation city is the same for everyone and therefore everyone's will look the same until you change it.

      One of the first steps is to name your city, in my time playing I've come across some really imaginative names, lots of real-life city names and probably more than anything I've seen lot of boring, unimaginative names for example 'John's City' etc! However, what ever floats your boat, name your city as you like because it's yours! Imagination is key but simple is ok too! You need to name your city before you can begin to nteract and fully use all the features of the game so it is key to do this when prompted.

      Another of the first things that happens is the tutorial, it's basic and is expressed through 'tasks' which will flash under small icons on the left side of the screen. These tasks will teach you how to play the game, for example what all the tabs and buttons do, how to move and rotate items, how to build etc. These tasks are also multi functional because you get rewarded for completing them. Some tasks reward you money and some reward you with 'xp' points which are experience points which build up to increase your player level as your progress. Some tasks give you both! But while earning them you are also learning about the game, so I quite enjoyed this part (allbeit a long time ago now!). These tasks don't just last for the tutorial, they will remain to give you motivation to play and develop your city but once you reach a certain level they do disappear as you are left to control your city on your own. However by the time this happens, you are ready to play on your own so it's no loss.

      The key element to a functional city is to use your factories. You can choose from many different contracts for your factory to fulfill and they each provide a different amount of income and take a different amount of time (all shown when choosing). As you increase through the level ranks you will unlock more contracts which helps as they generally become more beneficial providing higher revinue in shorter times etc. A useful feature of the game are the game alerts that will draw your attention to when a contract has been completed and funds are aviailable to collect. The sooner you collect the sooner you can begin your next contract! However if you leave it too long your contract will expire and you will loose the revinue you earnt so you must collect within the time frame to avoid loosing out!

      When your factories begin to generate money you will hold money in your bank which you can spend on your city! City Story features over 50 varieties of buildings from homes, businesses and parks. All of which carry a price tag. Team Lava also introduce free updates regularly (mostly every few weeks although they advertise it's a weekly update, it's not) so you will get the chance to have new buildings in your city regularly which stops it gettings stale.

      You can also purchase real life buildings like the Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberty etc and place them in your city too! After buying buildings (or before if you prefer) you can also focus on decorating your city. There is a whole tab in the shopping mode dedicated to decorations. From sports fields to parks, flower patches to waste dumps! Anything you want to act as a decoration is here! Roads and rivers are also located here and roads especially are important because if your buildings don't have an access route located next to them then they don't contribute their population allowance to your city. This is easily noticeable though because an icon will show to alert you that you need to connect the roads to the building.

      City Story is an online game, this means you need a connection to the internet to play it. It's therefore been designed to function in a way that allows user interaction while playing online. This basically means that you create a specific 'username' (called a storm8 id) which means you are part of the game community. From here you can add neighbours and visit other people's city. The benefit of this is that you can 'clean' their buildings which leaves them 'tips' which they can collect and goes in their revinue pot. If the city in question is a community member but not on your neighbours list then you can leave five tips a day, but if on your neighbour list then you can leave ten per day. The benefit of this is that most players will return the favour and come and clean some of your buildings too for you to collect! Each city has a 'wall' for messages if you want to leave one but if not then your visit to the city will also be automatically recorded in the record of visitors which allows the city owner to see you have been and return the visit.

      Another key feature when using the community features is the fact that you can send and recieve 'gifts'. These can be buildings are parks etc or a specific material that is needed to complete the building of one property. You can request certain things if you want to but most of the time users will just submit the same gift to all their neighbours as it's much faster this way! You will also recieve them back and you can either use them in your city or sell them for their value, which again all goes in your revinue pot to put towards something you want in your city!

      My opinion on City Story is it's well worth five stars! I love playing it and the opportunites are endless and imagination is the key. I would describe it as a softer version of games like Sim City. Whereby you get all the nice parts of having a city with minimal nastiness, and no 'real' work other than contract producing! It's because of this that City Story is suitable for children and adult users. Children will find it fun to play on one level while adults make up the majority of the community, I know I would feel safe letting my son play this but perhaps wouldn't let him have access to the community areas if I was worried about that side of things.

      I find the game easy to play and easy to navigate and having a storage section means I can regularly re-arrange my city and change how it looks which is useful as after a while it doesn't get quite repetative and you will need a visual shake up! The graphics in this game are great too, I love the way the game looks and the general detail is great! The variation of buildings and decorations always means you have something you aspire to owning in your city and therefore something to work towards even if like me, you stopped getting the tasks long ago.

      My only bug bear with this game is the in-app purchases. Obvisouly Team Lava need to benefit somewhere along the line, and I understand that. It's a free game and it's such a good one I almost don't always get annoyed about this. Not always, but usually! There are two types of currency in this game, one is the one you generate for yourself and one is the one you have to pay for using real cash. This buys 'city coins' which allows you to buy buildings and decorations that without this revenue you otherwise wouldn't be able to have in your city. These city cash buildings are often better and more unique, and therefore makes you want them but you have to spend money to get them. It's a bit annoying I must say, there is even a section for a 'pick and mix' style purchase using city coins to be made which isn't accessable without these coins. This element I would be careful with if you allow your child to play-otherwise you may find several 'suprise' purchases billed directly to your account!

      Other than this though I love City Story, it is a bit monotomous but hey I have been playing for over a year now and considering it's not an action game I guess this is to be expected. I still check on my city several times a day and regularly do my neighbour visits to make sure I'm a good neighbour!

      I would say if you have an Ipad or Iphone then download this game, it's sweet, very addictive and allows you to take it or leave it as you wish. For me it's not one to be missed!

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