Disclaimer: Cityconomy has had two patches before I started to finalise the content for this review and there well may be more.
I’m in a very difficult place with this review, Cityconomy has the potential to be a fine game, but performance issues, weak replayability and a lack of additional features make this a tough sell. The moment to moment gameplay is just fine, with mostly tight controls when completing jobs, but it ultimately fails to build upon those qualities and ends up being a hollow, empty experience.
• Developer: Nano Games sp. z o.o.
• Publisher: astragon Entertainment GmbH
• Reviewed on: PC
• Also Available On: N/A
• Release Date: Available Now
Cityconomy puts you in the role of a city serviceman, completing service jobs throughout the city for money and fame. Money and fame grants more trucks, more active jobs and expansion throughout the city limits. The city itself doesn’t have any particular landmarks or memorable pieces of scenery, but is expansive, with individually themed districts providing a noticeable difference while driving around.
When driving, the arcade like controls are perhaps too sharp, causing for some very bad cornering even at slow speeds. It definitely plays and feels like an arcade racer, with no real deterrent for driving like a lunatic. There have been a few changes which make the experience more realistic, but nowhere near where it needs to be for this type of game. The simulation aspect is severely broken by the lack of a cockpit view for all vehicles. Although that is a primary concern, in all other aspects vehicles have good fidelity and all possess enough graphical and practical differences to be worth the effort and money within the game world.
The general interface within Cityconomy is clean, meaning you won’t ever be too far away from where you need to be. This does however indicate just how deep the whole experience is, which unfortunately is one of the game’s biggest shortfalls. Although driving from job to job is generally fun, there doesn’t seem much end game, or future proofing. While you’ve still got trucks and jobs to unlock, there’s at least something to play for, and getting to that point involves a lot of repetition and driving back and forth, from district to district.
As an entrepreneur within the service industry, you have the task of managing a set of staff to complete jobs around the city for you. Although this part of the game is nice, it’s hollow and doesn’t offer more than just a way to add extra money to your accounts. The workers are nameless and there’s no real way to track progress. It feels more like a tacked on feature, that doesn’t add anything to the overall experience. If the main game was stronger, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
Cityconomy feels more like a chore. Although it doesn’t feel terrible when you’re doing it, the thought of doing it again and again is daunting. Completing the first few services, such as garbage collection, involves preparing the required truck, travelling to the location and completing the job. When completing the job, and grinding away, the controls and realism are intriguing, it couldn’t put a foot wrong. The issue comes when you need to complete the same job again, in a similar area of the city, even within the same district. That itself is a grind, and although some will find it a relaxing and somewhat meditative experience, the poor performance and uninspiring graphics knocks you right out of that feeling.
On paper, Cityconomy had the potential to be something unique with plenty of staying power. What we end up getting is a bog standard experience, the odd fun moment, but ultimately it’s a fruitless endeavour. There’s a natural progression as you unlock more job types, but the world you’re in doesn’t change. A well designed city with no life doesn’t make for a fun time, the work you do has no tangible difference to the cities look or feel which could have been a saving grace.
Jump on and drive the well designed and realised Man trucks, complete a couple of jobs and feel at ease. If you stay though, you’ll find yourself wanting more, and thinking of what might have been. Cityconomy doesn’t build on it’s positives and has too many negatives to recommend.
Tags: Cityconomy, Service For Your City