If CityVille took place in the slums, it’d look a lot like Capital City

At first glance it’s easy to think that Capital City is yet another in a long line of Mafia Wars-style crime role playing games. After all, its a game that’s all about taking control of a city through less than legal means. But in terms of how it actually plays, Capital City has much more in common with CityVille. In fact, for veterans of Zynga’s city-building blockbuster, Capital City will feel very familiar. Except for all of the drive-by shootings, of course.

You start the game as a mob boss in charge of very little, as a recent jail sentence has decimated your once thriving criminal empire. So the first order of business when you’re released is to take back what is yours. That means taking controls of the streets, business, and homes of your dingy urban neighborhood.You go about this in a fairly traditional way, by completing missions and cleaning up the city. The missions add a bit of personality to the game, as each one is given to you by a different, distinct thug. There isn’t really a story in Capital City but at least there are characters.

Capital City

What’s surprising about the game, though, is just how similar it is to CityVille. You collect rent from residences, you supply businesses with goods, you place decorations, and you even need to staff up community buildings in order to increase your population. At times Capital City feels much too similar to CityVille, with nearly identical gameplay mechanics.

There are a few changes though, which are largely due to the vastly different themes of the two games. Instead of farming to produce supplies you’ll send out trucks and boats to “collect” them from locations all over the world. And instead of having to deal with trees popping up in need of removal, rival thugs will regularly sprout up all over your town. When you click on one your own henchmen will unceremoniously kill the unwanted bad guy. It can be a bit disturbing how inconsequential something like murder seems in the world of Capital City. In order to keep your city safe you’ll need to kill plenty of people, so much so that it becomes more of a chore than anything else.

These changes fit well into the themes of Capital City, though the killing portions definitely aren’t for everyone. But they aren’t really enough to make it feel like a new game. The more you play Capital City the more it feels like a CityVille clone with a new look and theme. A violent, criminal infested clone yes, but a clone nonetheless. For those who felt that CityVille was too bright and cheery, this is a solid alternative, just don’t expect much in the way of new gameplay.