SimCity Social is a vile piece of shit. How dare you, Electronic Arts. You’d let my favored city management sim languish for years before building my hopes up with next year’s big release. Now you seek to tarnish not only SimCity’s reputation, but yours further, Electronic Arts already known as the worst company in America. While Zynga defined these games, Flash-based Facebook titles that forge and perpetuate a dependency on their slow-drip gameplay littered with microtransactions, EA deserves every last lashing for replicating their ruthlessness to the T. With absolutely no shame in their hearts, EA has produced a game on the whims of a meeting room full of Six Sigma-dieting MBAs that vow to sleaze up Facebook gaming to whatever profitable tangent possible. The world, nay, humanity, is worse off for it.
SimCity Social is CityVille. That there hasn’t been a Tiny Tower-level cloning conspiracy is astonishing. I imagine if you poked hard enough, Zynga logos would probably leak out of the app. You’re initially allotted space to establish your city, with additional spaces purchase-able with currency ripped shamelessly from Zynga’s game as well. Everything is the same. You do everything exactly the same, it plays exactly the same. EA is more than happy to remind you of this at every turn by incorporating lightning bolts as action points, stars as experience to rank up your city, and so forth.
To complete major structures that advance your city, you’re required to either invite your friends into this drowning pool to fill charming roles like Landscaper and Manager or plunk down Bejeweled diamonds (no doubt EA’s modus operandi in purchasing PopCap) to fill the spots with SimCity’s fake advisers. These diamonds are doled out arbitrarily, but you can pay out literal dollars for more. Just like any Ville game, your actions are restricted, preventing true ‘sim’ gameplay. SimCity Social isn’t a strategy game for the same reason CityVille isn’t: it’s a babysitting title. Most of your options are aesthetic bonuses. The game is so restrictive, as to facilitate its microtransactions, that it will be many grueling weeks before you can construct a city that isn’t identical to your friends’. But why would you subject your friends to this?.
Is it fair to demolish SimCity Social when Zynga has been at this for months? Absolutely. EA has absolutely no shame in presenting yet another soulless “social gaming” experience to the world. Unfortunately, this won’t be the last of it, either. I don’t care who they had intended to play this game, it shouldn’t exist. It’s an insult to the SimCity franchise, it’s an insult to gamers, and it’s an insult to people with the slightest tug of integrity. There are far better things you can be doing with your time and effort than babysit another blatantly commercialized Facebook game. For example: getting food poisoning, eating knives, getting your car stolen…