Pocket City – Microtransaction-free Mobile City Building
City building games on mobile devices are one of my favorite ways to spend time playing games on my phone. I’m the definition of a casual mobile gamer, so anything that requires more than a few minutes of concentration, or constant checking of progress, doesn’t work well for me. City building typically fits the exact niche I am looking for, but is usually marred by peddling of microtransactions or in-game currencies in order for me to progress. Yes, I like casual gaming, but I do not want to grind for 3 weeks to find some sort of item, or be forced to spend $10 to buy it. Microtransactions prices on mobile gaming put the outrage we’ve recently seen for games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 to shame. In steps Pocket City, currently under development at Codebrew Games, a one-man indie developer based in Toronto, Canada.
Pocket City is coming in early 2018 for iOS and Android devices. It will offer the classic city building gameplay that was made popular by the behemoths of the genre, such as Sim City. The standout feature that Codebrew Games is pushing is the fact that the game will come without any trace of microtransactions. All items required to grow your city will be available through regular gameplay. The game will come with a free version that is supported by ads which can reward in-game currency. A paid version will also be available that offers a sandbox mode that has everything unlocked. Imagine that, paying for something and getting exactly what you want. Amazing!
In Pocket City, the player grows their city by creating residential, commercial, and industrial zones, as well as special buildings. Following standard city building conventions, these zones must be placed according to the demand of your citizens. Support services such as power and water need to be made available for citizens to move in and prosper. A quest system will provide a way to earn experience which will unlock special buildings and allow the city to progress.
Success in the game is measured by standard metrics ranging from income, to population, and happiness. Other metrics in the game include traffic congestion, crime rates, fire safety, health, recreation, job market, and housing. These metrics affect the higher-level metrics. Happy citizens who feel safe, have jobs, and don’t sit in traffic for hours a day will help your city thrive.
No good city builder would be complete without the occasional disaster, and Codebrew Games is brewing up some of those as well. Pardon the pun. Events can be positive or negative and range from temporary boosts to happiness of citizens to disasters that destroy the hard work you’ve created.
As Pocket City inches closer to its release date, Codebrew Games is hard at work adding features and functionality to the game. For an ever-updating list of what you can expect, we suggest you visit the Pocket City blog. The current list of features is vast and includes the following:
- Controls optimized for fluid, touch-based city building
- Deep city building gameplay that takes inspiration from the PC city building genre
- Beautiful, clean graphics in a city that is fun to watch, with residents, vehicles, and animated buildings
- Unlock progressively more advanced buildings by leveling up your city
- Unlock special events, like block parties
- Unlock new areas with different terrain
- Encounter disasters like tornadoes and watch them wreak havoc
- Easy-to-use, non-intimidating user interfaces
- Upload your city to the cloud to transfer to another device, or share with a friend
Of course, there will be no microtransactions throughout all of this, which will hopefully provide for that relaxed gaming experience which will still keep me coming back to it every, erm, bio break.
Early testing will begin soon and a release may happen as early as February. Be sure to keep an eye on our Pocket City game page and follow @pocketcitygame on Twitter.