Attack of the (CityVille) clones

Whether it can be attributed to a flooding of the market or simply apathy for ethics in gaming, cloning and outright creative theft seem rampant in the casual scene. Huwa IP Holdings now follows along in this questionable trend with a game so utterly similar to Cityville, you might just forget which game you’re actually playing.

Welcome to Sunny Town — the shady offspring of someone else’s ideas. Here, you’ll build homes and community structures, feed the fires of tourism, and hey, who knows, perhaps they’ll even make you mayor.

Sunny Town

In fact, you’ll get to do those all those things and more in Sunny Town, but chances are you’ve already gone through the process once before – it’s called Cityville. Sunny Town doesn’t miss a beat, step, or asset when it comes to cloning its competition, right down to the cute gal who will guide through the process of nurturing your metropolis.

From the energy system, graphics and interface, to the city cash and quests, almost every single element of Sunny Town looks and plays the exactly like Zynga’s Facebook city management sim. For good or ill, Sunny Town actually executes its mechanics well, and navigation and gameplay are all quite sound. The game’s fun, but it should be – it’s stolen all of its ideas from a great design.

You’ll begin your journey to mogulhood by boosting your population with the construction of a few houses and a town hall, chopping down a few trees, and establishing a quaint little mom-and-pop bakery. Quests located on the left-hand side of the screen will keep you on track in terms of building up your modern empire, and you are, of course, encouraged to invite and visit friends to earn more energy and assets.

Like Cityville, you’ll unlock new crops, buildings, etc. as you level up, and item collections can be turned in for goodies. Shops require goods, goods require storage, and populations require community buildings that are run by your Facebook friends or hired hands.

Sunny Town

Visually, there’s very little distinction from Cityville, though your city will sport a helipad instead of a train station. Buildings seem to exhibit slightly more detail, but the bushes, trees, and most other assets look almost identical. Character sprites animate well, and there’s no noticeable slowdown. The music is pleasing, and the sound effects are always satisfying.

Sunny Town doesn’t merely hit most bullet points of city management, it shoots Cityville right between the eyes. It’s with humorous irony that Zygna (creators of Cityville) should be the recipients of such creative abuse considering recent events surrounding their new iOS game, Dream Heights. Setting aside the ethics and possible legal quandaries, Sunny Town is a fun game, but it’s a game most of us have already played before under another name. All of its component parts work perfectly fine, but it somehow feels a bit dirty slogging through this shady side of town.