X City brings a full-featured, well-implemented city-builder to Android
PapayaMobile and Aidi Game’s oddly named X City is possibly one of the most solid city-builders currently available for Android. While a lot of Android social games tend to just offer watered-down versions of what’s already old hat to Facebook players, X City makes a point of including every single feature a social gamer could possibly want. More than just being present, X City‘s features are also packed into a cleverly-designed GUI that lets you quickly access any menu you’d need without overwhelming your phone’s screen icons and other distractions.
Like most city-building games, X City begins by making you the mayor of a city named whatever you choose to name it. From there you do a few simple quests that teach you how to position buildings, building roads, collect resources, and harvest crops. The overall flow of play is similar to Zynga’s CityVille, though your city map is much smaller at the game’s beginning. You grow your city by placing houses, which increase your population, and try to earn money by growing crops and placing villages. Businesses need to be supplied, which means you need to grow crops.
The challenge with social games on mobile phones is always shrinking the interface down into something that’s neither obtrusive nor useless. X City handles this really well, with an interface that fades out of sight when you aren’t using it. Tapping the screen once brings up a sparse four icons that intuitively direct you toward quests, the building interface, a stats screen, and tools for managing your in-game friends. The more complicated parts of the interface take you to different screens entirely, which makes everything legible even on smaller phones like the HTC Incredible used in this test.
X City‘s text is well-implemented and the game isn’t overly reliant on it. Most buildings appear as icons you can manipulate by dragging them around the screen. You don’t seem able to rotate buildings, but that’s not a major inconvenience. Any business can be supplied and generate money provided it’s adjacent to a road. Building is comfortable and responsive even on a smaller screen, simply calling for you to drag icons around with a finger to position them. You do eventually need to build things that can’t be constructed without spending real money or having multiple friends playing the game with you, though.
X City‘s emphasis on having friends does mean the game eventually levies a “no friends” tax on solo players. Otherwise, X City is one of the best city-builders available on Android, full-featured and polished. X City is also a game that’s rather kind to your battery life, which makes it practical to check frequently throughout the day. The loading process for the game is somewhat long, but not long enough to be a deal-breaker. In short, if you have an Android phone and want to play something like CityVille as a pleasant time-waster, X City is what you want to be playing.