Back in 2013, the highly anticipated metropolitan building simulator, Sim City, was released to the masses as a broken heap of what it was meant to be, and the public hasn’t forgotten the disaster that moved Electronic Arts to close down the iconic Maxis studio.
While there is a dedicated bunch that’re still trudging through the demanding conditions that the new Sim City game still requires of them, there are many other gamers who’re still looking to get their simulation fix under more reasonable circumstances — and there was one person who decided to take matters into his own hands altogether.
During the 1-Bit Clicker Jam event that ran just this past March, a developer by the name of Eigen Lenk submitted a self-admitted Sim City clone to the jam, and unbeknownst to the humble developer, the tribute to the Maxis simulation game was a hit among everyone involved. Coming to an end on March 31, City Clickers ranked third place in a Game Jam where there was a submission of 157 games.
How is it that a game that was engineered to be a click-heavy tribute to the renowned simulation game was somehow able to hit home with so many gamers? Well, I could think of three reasons after playing it myself, and I had to drag myself away from all that clicking just so that I could tell you why you should care.
City Clickers is Highly Accessible
One of the biggest praises that Sim City received when it did work properly was the level of depth that it offered, and the attention to all of the detail it brought to the little nuances surrounding city management. As deep as it was, however, the systems and mechanics that directed its gameplay were still a little too complex for the average player to fully comprehend—City Clickers doesn’t suffer from this issue at all, and prides itself on how easy it is to start and play.
The core mechanics of City Clickers are explained with one thorough, yet concise explanation at the very start of your adventure as Mayor. City Clickers then labors to make the pacing of its gameplay, and the new mechanics that add to the prosperity of the gameplay, as convenient as it needs to be.
Even the most rudimentary understanding of its gameplay can still be rewarded, as every little thing you do can still have a purpose that’s teaching you the dynamics of its world building — even when you’re doing it wrong.
Another point to its easy-to-play nature is that anyone can play: City Clickers limits its control scheme to a one button interface while crafting an aesthetic that allows gamers who are color blind to still effortlessly play.
City Clickers‘ Presentation is On Point
Say what you will about the state of pixel art in 2017; the graphical style still has plenty of gas left in its think tank to use. And City Clickers is a testament to that. The articulate sprite work is sharply contrasted in detail against the wheat-colored backdrop, with a charming level of animation and style that makes it look like your city is alive and kicking. Even the unpleasant circumstances that can affect your city, like a natural disaster or derelict roads and dilapidated buildings, are all represented poignantly within the game’s visual conceit.
What will really hit home is City Clickers‘ soundtrack. And wow, what a compilation it is. The effervescent chiptune melodies will permeate the hours you dump into City Clickers with fresh, undeniably catchy music that wonderfully compliments the aesthetic it’s packaged with.
City Clickers Has the Support a City Builder Needs
This last reason is more of an exercise in trust than a definitive fact. But if Eigen’s commitment to updates and maintenance is anything like it has been the last seven days since he launched the indie title on itch.io, then it’s safe to say that City Clickers will be aptly supported.
Along with staying devoted to his product, the developer has been as transparent as he can possibly be with the state of the game’s operation and has communicated easy-to-understand log notes for anyone to review on the title’s game page.
Not to mention the guy has been consistent with responding to various inquiries and suggestions made by those who’re playing City Clickers, and need more than what’s already out there. On top of that, City Clickers is DRM-free and will continue to be DRM-free.
Additionally, other features that Eigen is planning to bring to City Clickers will be: additional public service updates to city utilities like the police department, hospitals, and fire stations, a more realistic dynamic to the game’s financial system that will feature increased interest rates on loans, and cost management to the aforementioned utilities.
Before Sim City suffered from becoming bigger than the sum of its parts, it was a series that embellished nothing more than being an ambitious builder. City Clickers returns to those roots, and hopefully, with enough support from the developer, and climbing interest in the game, we’ll see a more fleshed out version in the post-jam release. And maybe even a bid to Steam Greenlight. But until then, you can download the game for free right here.