By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exciting but technically flawed city-building simulation.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn a number of things about creating and running a city, and how to keep the residents happy. The game teaches about zoning, power distribution, traffic congestion, money management, environmental respect, waste removal, recovering from natural disasters, cooperating with nearby cities, and much more. By taking on the role as mayor of an expanding city, kids will soak up a lot of business, city planning, and ecology concepts.
This game is all about building and maintaining a metropolis. Because you want to keep your citizens happy and make life enjoyable and productive for your people, it has a positive message. It also teaches players about choice and consequences: for example, if you build too many factories, it causes pollution and residents will complain. As a result, you might consider greener alternatives like wind power.
Positive Role Models
You are the mayor of this city, so you become your own role model. Since there are consequences for doing bad things for the community, the game nudges you into becoming a positive role model.
Ease of Play
As with its predecessors, SimCity can be a very challenging game to play. But there is a mandatory tutorial to teach the basics of the game. Still, even seasoned gamers will experience a learning curve for the first while.
Violence & Scariness
While not graphic, violence can erupt in your city. You may hear gunshots and see cartoon characters engage in a shootout with the police while trying to rob a bank. Or you might see a monster or UFO attack your city. There is also some mention of violence in a news ticker.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SimCity is a simulation game about constructing cities. Players must build and then micromanage a growing city, trade resources with neighbors, and work towards a goal. Parents should know, however, there is some violence in the game -- a bank robbery and shootout with police, alien and monster attacks, and natural disasters than can partially wipe out your city -- but nothing is graphic. Finally, parents should be aware a persistent Internet connection is required for this game.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
Based on 1 parent review
This Review is from my 8 year old...
Report this review
What’s It About?
One of the oldest and most successful computer game series has just been rebooted. SIMCITY, the open-ended city-building simulation that first debuted almost a quarter of a century ago, has undergone a much-needed makeover. Once again you're a mayor tasked with building and maintaining a thriving city: you'll build roads and construct buildings to lure in residents; provide job opportunities by laying down commercial and industrial businesses; ensure power, water, and waste flows smoothly throughout the city; and fix problems to keep your residents happy, such as addressing high taxes, pollution, crime, and natural and unnatural disasters (such as earthquakes and UFO attacks, respectively). As you'd expect, every single decision you make shapes your city. Traffic congestion could prevent emergency services from reaching a location in a timely manner. To reduce pollution you might implement greener technology, like windmills, but it'll likely mean higher unemployment. If you want to build up your city into a tourist haven, you might build a casino and widen roads to other cities –- but this will cost the taxpayer. If you need to scale back on public schools to save cash, parents might protest at city hall.
Seasoned SimCity players should know this new game doesn't offer subways, agriculture, or land terraforming. Instead, for the first time in a SimCity game there's multi-city play, where you can invite friends to see your city, visit other cities for business opportunities (such as trading resources), or collaborate to build a city together or compete in various online challenges.
Is It Any Good?
SimCity is an exciting game, but the launch of this game has been heavily marred by technical issues. You see, an Internet connection is required -- even though it's primarily a single-player game -- and what's more, your game information is housed on EA's servers, therefore you can't play if they're down or busy. Another problem with mandatory Internet connectivity: forget about playing this game on your laptop while flying across the country, unless the airline offers Wi-Fi. Just as there was backlash against Activision Blizzard for a similar restriction in Diablo III, many players resent this requirement in SimCity.
This is all too bad as underneath all the technical restrictions and connectivity woes there's a very good game. Hopefully EA will fix the issues sooner than later, so players can enjoy the thrill of building and maintaining a city they can call their own.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about SimCity's required Internet connection -- even though it's a single-player game. Yes, you can visit cities created by others, but EA has chosen to make persistent online connectivity mandatory, which has upset players. Not only won't you be able to play with no connection (such as an airplane) but you're relying on EA's server to host the games, which can be buggy or too busy. What do you think about building a game that has to be played online?
Families can also discuss why simulation games are so compelling. What do you like about managing this game? What do you not like?
- Platforms: Windows, Mac
- Subjects: Social Studies: citizenship, events, government, Hobbies: building, Science: engineering, electricity, weather, Math: estimation, graphing, probability
- Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology, Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, thinking critically, Responsibility & Ethics: fiscal responsibility, honoring the community, learning from consequences, Collaboration: group projects, meeting challenges together, Creativity: developing novel solutions, imagination, producing new content, Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, set objectives, work to achieve goals
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: March 5, 2013
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Magic and Fantasy, High School, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens, Trains
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Violence
- Last updated: June 5, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Learning Tools for Out-of-the-Box Thinkers
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate