SimCity BuildIt

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
SimCity BuildIt App Poster Image
Decent city builder marred by "freemium" model.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the importance of government in a society and the difficulty that comes with making decisions as a leader. Do you build a sewer plant that gets the job done but upsets citizens or put up with sanitation issues until you can afford a bio-friendly plant? Do you build parks or earmark that money for industry? Decisions have consequences in SimCity BuildIt, which offers a bird's-eye view of the many tough choices a government has to make. 

Ease of Play

Avoids some of the inconveniences of other city-/base-building titles, making it easy to place and move buildings and create roads. 


Houses can burn down, and natural disasters, such as tornadoes, can wipe out parts of town. 


Players can get through the game for a while without feeling any real pressure to spend money, but the more you play, the more you'll be tempted. "SimCash" costs real-world cash, in amounts ranging from $5 to $100. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SimCity BuildIt is a city-simulator game: You build an imaginary town and try to keep up with economic and citizen demands. As with many SimCity games, there's no sex or language to worry about, and there's no character-on-character crime, either, only natural disasters. But the game leans heavily on microtransactions -- small, in-app purchases used to buy supplies within the game. Creating the supplies can mean long wait times, which can try the patience of some players and might tempt kids to speed things up by spending real money. Parents, though, can always disable in-app purchases through their device settings.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byDavid P. April 24, 2016

Waste of time

I downloaded the game for my young son, as I saw it was for ages 4 or 5 and up.

It was a complete disappointment. Obviously the reading level is above this ag... Continue reading
Adult Written byJason787 February 3, 2021

Glitchy and lots of bugs.

Most gameplay requires money. So disappointed that EA has ruined such a classic game.
Kid, 11 years old May 20, 2018

Pretty good but the wait times!!

Sim city build it is a fun app. That’s it. It’s not super great but fun. The one annoying thing about it is the wait time. Be prepared to wait for everything an... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byamandafran February 8, 2015

Great graphics

Love this game. Great graphics. Not too much time and work needed although sims (the people that live in your city) complain about EVERYTHING!!!

What's it about?

In SIMCITY BUILDIT, players oversee a new city, establishing zones for commercial, residential, and industrial development. To build properties, you'll have to create resources -- such as wood, steel, plastic, nails, and lumber -- in factories and stores. This is a time-consuming process that generally requires you to wait several minutes (or make an in-app purchase) for them to be completed. As you build, you also need to attend to the needs of your city's inhabitants and solve problems that affect your citizens.

Is it any good?

SimCity BuildIt may look a lot like a typical SimCity game, but it's more like FarmVille or any other popular, time-based resource game. Although the city-building theme is fun, this is yet another app that tests your patience by forcing you to wait increasing amounts of time for resources to be built so you can expand your town -- or cough up some real-world cash to hurry things along. If those waits don't bother you, you'll have plenty of fun with the game, but there's little here that stands out from other titles in the same genre, despite the app's well-respected brand.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about individual wants vs. the greater good. How do you balance the needs of a large group of people?

  • What are the responsibilities of a city government? Does this game really replicate what it's like to maintain a city?

  • Talk about budgeting and how it's better to save your money than spend it immediately on a whim. Kids: Which parts of this game make you want to spend money?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love apps about building

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