Virtual City

 

Learning(i)

Robust building sim doesn't get bogged down in details.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

As they advance deeper into the game, players will need to multitask, keeping multiple trucking lines running and upgrading properties, while keeping an eye on their bottom line. It can be a bit much for young or unfocused players.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A link from the main menu takes users to a list of other games by the developer. Additionally, players in the game's "Sandbox" mode can buy additional in-game money using real-world cash. Players who install a free version of the game will have to pay to unlock the full version.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players on iOS devices can opt in to Apple’s Game Center to track achievements. With Game Center, players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname. Requesting or accepting a friend via email will reveal the first and last name associated with each party’s Apple ID and the sender’s email address. Players can also post achievements to their Facebook page.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Virtual City is a city-building simulation game that mixes management with construction, and includes the possibility of in-app purchases. The game features 50 missions that are loaded with goals players must meet -- sometimes within a certain time limit. Successfully finishing a level requires players to work simultaneously on several of those tasks, all the while keeping an eye on the income levels of their company. The app also offers a "sandbox" mode for players to unlock that lets them create whatever sort of city they'd like with no time limits. The danger of this mode (beyond its ability to distract you for hours) is the ability to buy additional in-game money using real world cash. One option to buy $1 million in in-game currency costs $100, though lower amounts are available. The options menu, however, does let parents disable in-app purchases. A nearly identical version of the app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • statistics
  • subtraction
  • money

Social Studies

  • the economy

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • working efficiently
  • achieving goals
  • effort

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Budding city planners will find this app irresistable. Focuses more on resources than people. Developers have clearly taken pains to optimize the HD version for the iPad's larger screen.

Learning Approach

Many concepts and skills will transfer nicely to the real world. Sometimes too much detail and lack of clear user impact create a feeling of disconnnect. 

Support

Extensive help text explains virtual objects, and the personal secretary guides kids through missions. Details and data can be hard to see on smaller screens. Players on iOS devices can opt in to Apple’s Game Center to track achievements.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • statistics
  • subtraction
  • money

Social Studies

  • the economy

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • working efficiently
  • achieving goals
  • effort

Kids can learn to understand and follow directions to keep a small town economy running. Monitoring time, income, environment, population, and happiness statistics, kids slowly build, maintain, and upgrade commercial, residential, and civic enterprises. Details and data are engaging but often hard to see on smaller screens. Virtual City is a powerful sim that gives kids opportunities to engage in simple simulated business and civic management.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

Parents say

Not yet rated
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What's it about?

A stranded motorist is informed she has inherited a trucking company. She must manage her company well to help the city thrive. Kids tap on the garage to buy trucks and determine routes. Each level includes goals like transporting pies to a neighboring city or improving the environment with a recycling plant. Kids must repair and maintain resources as well as create new ones.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

VIRTUAL CITY manages to take the best aspects of the Sim City franchise and strip those out for a portable gaming audience. The game is challenging, but not impossible -- and gives players the choice between playing a task-driven game or building a city in any manner they choose. The game looks great, and developers have clearly taken pains to optimize the app for the iPad's larger screen in the HD version of the app. The larger screen makes it easier to control the game, particularly when there's a lot happening at once -- but it comes at a higher cost than the phone version, which is virtually the same.

Families can talk about...

  • Take kids to tour a local trucking company.

  • Help kids plant a tree in your neighborhood.

  • Encourage kids to plan and budget for gift giving or personal expenses.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD
Price:Free-$6.99
Release date:December 13, 2011
Category:Simulation Games
Size:56.60 MB
Publisher:G5 Entertainment
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later; Android 2.1 and up

This review of Virtual City was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bydr duck January 25, 2011
age 10+
 

Fun sim goes beyond where We Rule left off.

I loved it. It is a stripped down Sim City. But just as fun.
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 9 years old December 28, 2012
age 9+
 
LEARNING

Good But Could Be Better

I think this is a good game! It could go into more detail about everything going on, but I guess its still fine. It has some educational value because you learn what is important to build a working city.

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