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Bit City review - built for success?


For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

City building on the rails

Product: Bit City | Publisher: NimbleBit | Format: iPhone | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.1.0
 
Moving beyond the scope of Tiny Tower's singular skyscraper, Nimblebit gives players the keys to their very own, itty bitty metropolis in their latest outing, Bit City.

What looks like a charming city building sim at first glance is actually a voxelized clicker game. You buy up plots of land and populate your city streets with cars to increase the rate at which you rake in the cash. More cash means quicker development

Folks looking for a mobile city builder with Nimblebit's cutesy stylings may be a bit disappointed, but if idle games are to your taste, you'll feel right at home.

Nimblebit gives you eight city maps of increasing size for you to play with. You'll need to reach population goals for each before you can unlock the next on the ladder.

To do that, you draw people to your fledgling urban centre by buying up plots of land, which can then be zoned as residential, service, or business areas.

Construction will then commence on a timer, with your land steadily levelling up over time to increase both its cash value and the types of buildings that develop.

You might start off the game with a caravan park which eventually turns into a towering luxury apartment skyscraper. It's a nice little touch that makes you feel like you're making some real progress.

We built this city

Of course, to supplement those big real estate dreams of yours, you'll need some additional sources of revenue.

You can populate your towns with an assortment of cars, planes, and boats that will earn gold over time.

You can also impose taxes on your microscopic citizens, like housing taxes or toll roads. While these upgrades are expensive, they're vital to your city's cash flow.

While I did enjoy the design of the game - part of the game's draw is seeing which new building will spring up in your city next - the end goal does feel a bit empty.

Boosting taxes and buying fancier yachts is great, but the systems don't really go any deeper than an extravagant shopping trip.

Once you reach the last map, what else is there to build for? Endlessly tap, tap, tapping for gold feels a bit exploitative when there's no real reward you're working towards.

Even as a clicker game, the goals and nearly non-existent rewards feel shallow.

Building for building's sake

With that said, there is some appeal for players who enjoy the design aspects of city building games. You choose how to zone each square, and then the game handles the rest with its constant construction mechanics.

What starts off as a field of hay may eventually become a burger joint, before transforming into a "Starbits" cafe.

When a building you especially like pops up, you can lock it in place (though it will continue to level up) by designating it as a historic building.

This makes it easy for you to create different neighbourhoods and build up the city of your choosing.

Each building is unique and well-designed, so there's potential to create some truly cool things here. Plus there's a photo mode that lets you show off your cities.

The mayoral decree

Even within the idle genre, Bit City does little to innovate. You'll probably run out of steam quickly playing this one, unless you enjoy the endless quest for cash or the adorable voxel artwork.

Bit City has that characteristic Nimblebit charm and polish, but there's very little happening beneath the surface.
 
Bit City review - built for success?
Reviewer photo
Jessica Famularo | 20 March 2017
A somewhat empty clicker game disguised as SimCity
 
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