Australian Council on Children and the Media

SimCity BuildIt - Electronic Arts

app image

Short takes

SimCity BuildIt is a quest-and-timer city building game. caution: In app purchases

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of SimCity BuildIt was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 February 2015.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: SimCity BuildIt
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store, Google Play
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: Google Play Store: Low Maturity, iTunes Store: 4+
ACCM suggested age: 4+ with supervision; 16+ for in app purchases
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of SimCity BuildIt contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

This review focuses on levels 1-8

App description

SimCity BuildIt is a timer and quest app. The objective of the game is to build a city that is habitable by citizens. This is done by crafting a range of buildings and structures, and progressively adding to the city as more citizens make it their home. There are limited skills needed, but motor skills and creative thinking may prove useful.

Reviewers comments

When the app opens, players are introduced to a young blonde-haired woman who tells them ‘Welcome, Mayor! Are you ready to build your city?’. Players are then asked to accept the terms and conditions. After this, players are presented with an overhead view of a piece of land whilst the woman introduces herself formally as Eva, the city advisor. She informs players that she is here to ‘help get you started’, and says that ‘first, we need to connect your new city to the main highway’.

Players have a side menu of options to choose from, including things such as roads, houses, etc. Within each of these menu options, players are able to Build, Upgrade or Bulldoze creations (allowing them to edit and change things if they feel it is necessary). Upon selecting the option to Build Roads, a construction worker explains that roads can be drawn by clicking and dragging one’s finger, and then tapping the checkpoint to lay down roads. Players then need to build residential houses in the vicinity of the road. Once a house template is placed on the map, players may click to view what building materials are needed for construction, and are told to click-and-drag them onto the construction site. In doing so, they obtain numerous in-game rewards (such as earning Simoleons and bringing players closer to levelling up). Players are then required to construct a Building Supplies Store in order to keep the city running efficiently. Tapping on the store allows players to create more specific materials, such as nails. In creating these items, players may wait for a delay period or speed up the process by spending in-game currency.

When construction is complete, citizens start moving in. It is necessary to turn the power on for the neighbourhood. In order to do this, players need to place a power plant within the city. It is also possible to upgrade homes and make them bigger for the citizens, thus increasing their satisfaction and willingness to pay taxes.

Players are eventually invited by a Major of another city to visit other locations – in this city, items are sold that can help players  grow and develop their own city (e.g. Trade Depots). There are new items for sale every day, and players are encouraged to return. Players are also encouraged to build a Government Town Hall, and then find structures of their own to fill the city with. In order to build houses, players often need materials that they can either use in-game currency to speedily obtain, or can go through the lengthy process of crafting them and waiting long periods for them to be made within the game.

After players sign out of the app and back in again, the level of happiness of the Sims citizens decreases. This offers players something new to do each time – e.g. provide a hospital, or other structure, that the citizens need in order to keep their happiness levels at maximum. The things players may include within their city fall into the following categories: Power, Water, Sewage, Waste Management, Fire, Police, Health, Government, Parks, Education, Transportation, Entertainment, Gambling (the app states that Casinos will increase the happiness of citizens), and Landmarks.

In App purchasing

The app contains a store allowing players to purchase in-app packages of items for real-life money. These include a 250 SimCash for $6.49, 550 SimCash for $12.99, 1300 SimCash for $24.99, 2625 SimCash for $43.99, 4000 SimCash for $64.99, and 8500 SimCash for $129.99.

Online information

It is possible to log in via Facebook, thus allowing players to save their progress to their account and log in through multiple devices.

Gambling

No gambling elements were found in the levels played during this review. Beware that some city building games may have options to build casinos and horse racing tracks.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

The extensive in-app purchasing and time-lag features may encourage the spending of real-life money in order to deal with potential impatience.

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.