January 24, 2008

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SimCity Societies (PC)
Tilted Mill Entertainment, Nov. 2007
By Glenn "El Comptrollador" Given production@hippopress.com

EA spins the SimCity god simulator off Maxis to be dumbed down and gussied up into SimCity Societies, the moderately priced not unattractive hooker of the series.

Thank the lord that I no longer have to lay water mains and above-ground rail switching stations. Oh, wait, the obsessive detail and absurd minutiae were what made SimCity so addictive. Well, Societies has put away the fine-point brushes in favor of broader macro-societal influence on your sandbox metropolis. City managers place individual themed buildings (rather than zoning) that feed off or produce one of six energies like productivity, authority or knowledge, the balance of which tune your city into one of seven themes like Cyberpunk, Romantic or Capitalistic.

Societies makes some improvements, notably in its reward and medal system, and retains or upgrades many of the seriesí quirkier aspects. Manually triggered special events like Mimeageddon (where the local clown college unleashes a horde of wandering mimes) are fun and have practical effects on your endeavors to build and allocate social energies. Sadly the effort of maintaing the Fun or Authority of your town splits the already fractured resource management focus of the Sim series. Societiesí best aspects are the themes and architectural styles that are brought to your city; but these could have been better implemented as a skin for the latest SimCity.

Tilted Mill gets a point for barreling ahead with their choices but EA never should have taken the title from Maxis in the first place. Sorry, guys, itís fun but itís just not right. C ó Glenn Given