Return to your role as virtual mayor.

When the original CityVille launched, social gaming was an entirely different animal. Releasing a game was less of a risk, and it was impossible to go a day without hearing something about FarmVille. These past few months, though, Zynga has encountered sundry problems of the legal and financial variety, and they haven’t had the best luck getting back on track. Is CityVille 2 the game that will change the tides? If not, well, there’s no saying Zynga didn’t give it the old college try.

Those familiar with the differences between FarmVille and its sequel have a decent idea of what to expect here. CityVille 2‘s primary changes come from its 3D visuals and deeper gameplay mechanics, but there’s oodles (OODLES!) of new content on top of all that. Clicking up a storm and constructing buildings used to be the name of the game, and for the most part it still is, but now you have a variety of other factors to consider. For example, there’s now a university where you can craft different types of people. Do you want to raise a scientist capable of building rockets, or do you think another worker type is more beneficial?

CityVille 2

The oft-requested day and night cycle has also been added, though its inclusion isn’t just cosmetic. There are different events at night, such as power outages. When you encounter problems like this in the game, it’s up to you to discover how to resolve them. In this instance, locating a power truck would be the solution.

Believe it or not, there’s also a pretty in-depth narrative in CityVille 2. Where once you constructed a virtual city for little rhyme or reason, you now have the side mission of trying to figure out who blew your home up. You’ll discover suspects as you play, and from there you must determine whether they’re innocent or somehow related to the crime. And seeing as how this is a city management title, discovering whodunit won’t be the end of the game. In fact, it’s only the beginning of the story. Mysterious.

There are also, as you’ve surely guessed, an assortment of social elements in the game. When you visit a friend’s city and click on their buildings, you’ll help level up whatever district those buildings are in. And if you visit your friend’s city the most, you’ll become the VIP! Should you wish to rub that in another friend’s face, you can do so via in-game chat.

CityVille 2

How do you feel? Excited to play, or a little burned out on social sim games? Let us know in the comments, and expect a review from us shortly!