By David Chapman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Simple VR city builder gives players a hands-on approach
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Little Cities is a casual city building simulator and can teach how proper planning, civil projects, and maintenance are all important factors in creating a smoothly operating city. It also shows how natural disasters can affect cities and what can be done to prevent or minimize their impact, as well as how to rebuild afterwards.
The game's premise is to build and maintain a prosperous community that satisfies its people, providing for their needs while also keeping them happy.
Positive Role Models
There's not much direct interaction with any individuals. Instead, players manage planning, construction, and actions of their city in any way that they see fit.
Ease of Play
Little Cities doesn't bury players in an avalanche of statistics, requirements, etc., but there's still challenge in keeping a balance between citizens' happiness, city requirements, resources, and development. The user interface is clean and simple, but navigating and interacting with elements in the virtual environment can be disorienting.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Little Cities is a downloadable virtual reality city building simulation game available for purchase on the Oculus Quest and Quest 2. Players work to build a bustling city from the ground up, balancing things like citizen happiness, city budgets, resources, civil programs, and disaster preparedness. The virtual reality nature of the game allows players to navigate and observe their efforts in unique ways, though navigation can be a bit disorienting. The user interface features simple but effective menus and information that are quick to access, while issuing commands and placing structures can take more work to get used to.
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What’s It About?
LITTLE CITIES is a virtual reality city building simulation that gives players the chance to use their creativity and ingenuity to build the community of their dreams with their own two hands. You'll trace out a path for roadways, clear plots for housing, and watch everything grow from the ground up as residents race to make a new home in your expanding community. You'll have to keep the people safe with civil services while finding room in the budget to keep them happy with special amenities. You'll also protect your city from natural disasters, maintain a quality of life, and expand from a small town to a metropolitan paradise. And thanks to the intuitive virtual reality environment, players can enjoy with their creations in unique ways. You can step directly into the city and take an up close and personal view of how it operates, or simply sit back and take in the bigger picture on a grander scale.
Is It Any Good?
In many ways, city building simulation games can feel like a virtual terrarium, watching the things inside move around and live their daily lives. Little Cities brings fans of the genre closer than ever to their miniature metropolitan ant farms by adding virtual reality technology to the formula. While having a much more literal "hands on" approach to city building does help to get the player more involved and invested in their creations, it also creates a few extra cracks in the game's foundation.
Everything from the tallest buildings to the smallest cars in Little Cities are rendered as these generically sterile models. Instead of feeling like you're building a robust city, the style makes it feel more like you're playing with bits and pieces raided from a preschool kid's toybox. Another issue seems to be more the fault of the platform than the game itself. Navigating in and out of the city with so many tiny things moving around at once in a virtual space can be very disorienting. While it's fun to occasionally stomp through the city streets like an omnipotent kaiju monster, vertigo is likely to keep many players using the more stationary seated option as opposed to roaming the living room in roomscale. None of this is to say Little Cities is without its charm. The game's bright colors and relaxing soundtrack, coupled with simplified gameplay, makes for a much less stressful experience than more hardcore city building games. Instead, Little Cities feels more like a sort of industrial themed Zen garden where players can just watch the world go by, while lending the occasional helping hand.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about government and city management. What process is used for cities to grow and expand? How can cities plan for things like natural disasters, population explosions, etc.? What are ways citizens can get involved in the process?
What are some of the ways that VR can bring players closer to the action in video games? What are some ways that VR simulations can help with real world applications?
- Platform: Oculus Quest
- Subjects: Science: engineering, ecosystems and the environment, Social Studies: government, the economy
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, strategy, Creativity: making new creations
- Pricing structure: Paid ($19.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: nDreams
- Release date: May 12, 2022
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: STEM, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
- Last updated: December 1, 2022
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