If you’re going to make a city building game, you need to do something special to stand out. Pocket City has a unique focus when compared to games in the same genre, it cares about your experience. There are no IAPs, no advertisements nothing to stop you from sitting down and enjoying the game, which is a breath of fresh air.
I have avoided these types of games on the App Store for one reason, it always felt like gameplay was the secondary focus. The primary focus of city builders was to annoy you into purchasing something you didn’t need. Whether it was annoying ads, wait times or a level cap that could only be broken by additional purchases, city builders just felt charmless. Pocket City avoids all these problems by allowing gameplay to unlock content. There is only one currency to keep track of, and you can’t buy more of it. The only way to earn more virtual money is to well, earn it.
Now that I’ve got the IAP stuff off my chest, I can focus more on how the game plays. Pocket City adds more than enough content to keep you entertained for hours. Start off career mode by building your city. At this point, you have unlocked nothing special so your focus is to please the bars in the top right corner. The bars are colour coded to show what areas your city needs more than others. Green represents residential areas, where are your civilians going to live? Blue shows commercial areas, where are you townsfolk going to spend their money? Orange represents the industrial area, how will your people spend money if they have nowhere to work.
So, you start the game following the instructions of the bars, but that’s not all there is to do. Your focus can now shift onto something more specific, quests. There are several individuals that issue quests to you, a personal advisor who gives you objectives to aim for in the long run like a larger population. Street thugs who seek to disrupt your town with crimes such as muggings and car theft. A gardener with an eco-friendly attitude and many more including the police chief, fire department and bank manager. Their missions can be as easy as building a new building, or as difficult as finding a spot where your citizens do yoga.
Other aspects that keep the game interesting include the random events. Your city is situated in a hotspot for tornadoes and underground volcanoes, which can do monumental damage to your city if you’ve designed it poorly or are not prepared. Besides random events, there are unlocks that require you to go back and do some redesigning on your city. One quest requests you to put in bus stops while another wants a train line connecting the industrial and commercial area. So you are always going back and chopping and changing what you’ve previously done, or upgrading your old buildings.