Apr 11, 2012

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Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort Review

Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort Review

Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort is the latest title from developer G5, known for the enjoyable Stand O’Food and Jane series. The sequel to the popular city sim Virtual City, Paradise Resort looks to appeal to casual gamers while improving on every aspect of its predecessor. With few quality city sims in the iOS store and the fact that Virtual City 2 is free, is there really any reason not to download this title?

Virtual City 2 is both the easiest sim to pick up, yet the most complex to master. Its goals are simple enough to understand, yet in order to excel and master each level, careful management of time and resources are required. The game breaks up its four locales into 52 different levels, each with different, yet very similar goals. More often then not, players must create routes to deliver some type of resource from one building to another, in order to meet a certain goal for that specific level. Simultaneously, players must balance different “ratings,” including environmental, population, and overall citizen happiness in order to complete each goal listed. Additionally, repairing vehicles, keeping buildings properly maintained, and managing a steady income all ensure that players will have their hands full throughout the game’s lengthy duration.

With simple button presses, it’s easy enough to build landmarks, guide trucks, or upgrade resources. The game plays from an isometric viewpoint, and environments as well as vehicles are animated and beautiful to look at. The game itself runs smoothly and menus are easy enough to navigate, allowing quick maintenance of your virtual city. Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn the perspective of the camera, often meaning that players will have trouble tapping specific buildings or vehicles (specifically buses and small houses). Also, though the menus are bright and easy enough to understand, upgrading individual resources is awkward and may result in players wasting precious income when there are much more important needs. This may not seem like a big issue, but with a decent amount of the levels taking upwards of 10 minutes to complete, a crucial mistake like wasting thousands of dollars makes a world of difference. Aside from these issues, controls overall are quick, intuitive, and well thought out.

Mechanically, there doesn’t seem to be many issues with Virtual City 2, with decent controls, great graphics, and a simple enough structure for anyone to pick up. My main issue with Virtual City 2 as a game is that it just feels bland and was extremely hard for me to want to continue playing. Though the locales changed and the missions differed, my time spent with the game felt like a chore, and more often then not I longed for the lengthy levels to just finish. This was mainly due to the fact that I spent much of my time waiting while income was generated so I could either erect a new building, or improve resources.While finishing levels promptly earned me an expert rating, I rarely had the desire to replay levels upon completing them. My boredom reached a peak when I found myself reading a book or watching television while casually waiting for goals to be completed in Virtual City 2. 

I’m sure that others will have fun and enjoy Virtual City 2, but unfortunately, I am not one of those people. The missions felt boring and repetitive, consisting of many “bring this here to create this, bring set number of created items here” or “build certain building to attract/appease/increase citizens,” which grew stale a dozen levels in. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed G5′s Stand O’Food series, I can emphatically state that I’m not a fan of Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort and find it a chore to play. Though Virtual City 2 doesn’t appeal to me, I’m sure it’ll appeal to others looking for a deep city simulation for their iOS device.

Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort
Platform: iPad, iPhone (reviewed)
Genre: Simulation
Release Date: April 5, 2012
Developer: G5 Entertainment
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
ESRB Rating: 4+
MSRP: Free; $6.99 to unlock full game for iPad, $2.99 for iPhone