Hands On With The SimCity Beta!

Over the past week, I’ve been lucky enough to wreak some poorly engineered wrath on numerous cities in the SimCity Closed Beta. The new SimCity is set to release in March and if the Beta is anything to go by, the official game is going to glue a lot of us to our computer screens.

The beta starts off with an overly lengthy and honestly fairly dreary – but necessary – tutorial. It teaches you how to attract people to your city, how to raise or lower your taxes, how to zone industrial, commercial and residential areas, and alerts you of things your town is missing. You’ll need a power plant, a sewerage plant, police, hospitals, schools, a town hall, public transport centres and even parks and recreational areas to attract wealthy Sims. Each building or zone you place will build itself from the ground up right before your eyes and handy stat trackers will tell you exactly how prosperous your city is becoming.

Everything you need for a fully functional city is fairly straightforward, easy to find and even easier to become familiar with. The thing that really makes the game addictive is the constant demand for more, more, more. You’ll repeatedly be told, as mayor, that you desperately need more industrial zones to employ your local Sims. Then, there’ll be a higher demand for residential areas, a demand for more fire stations, more police stations and more schools. Nothing is ever perfect, nothing settles for even a moment, so you’ll be building and building and building until you get to a point that makes you sit back and go, ‘huh, I wish I lived here.’

And, when the full game comes out, I’m pretty certain I will be living in front of my computer screen.