Metropolis - This is for the Thinkers!
Ever since the release of the now legendary Sim City back in 2002, city building games have captured the imagination of gamers all over the world. City building games became increasingly popular with each addition to the genre offering a different take on managing a city. Metropolis aims to go one step further by making the management of your city more of a personal and strategic experience than many of the other city building games that came before it.
In Metropolis you play the role of city mayor. You are faced with the task of regenerating the city to become one of the finest in the world. You will need to mange city finances, provide jobs and housing for your residents, deal with rising crime, set policies that will improve the everyday lives of residents and construct buildings that will benefit the growth of your city. All this happens under a backdrop of news and political sniping by your opponents while gearing up to contest the next election.
The city you control has a life of it's own and will change over time as residents go about their daily business. Day turns to night, people come and go, shares rise and fall, crimes are committed and demands on housing, jobs, health and education rise as the population increases. It can be very satisfying just to sit back and watch the city change with no player input whatsoever. At times Metropolis can be almost a zen-like experience and features such as the drone mode only add to that feeling of immersion.
Managing your finances lies at the heart of Metropolis. Without hard cash you won't be able to set policies, finance public transport or construct any buildings. Thankfully there are many ways in which to raise funds. You can alter tax rates, produce, buy and sell units of power and water, invest in stocks and sell the real estate you have developed which gains value as your city grows. All of these options are well implemented and easy to use. Although the user interface makes things quite straightforward, it seems there is much more going on under the hood.
There are over 60 different building types in the game and deciding what to construct can be a real dilemma especially when funds are tight. Also knowing when to hold and when to sell property can be key to financial survival. Elections come around once every year so it's a good idea to monitor your popularity and take action if your rating starts to drop. Your advisors are genuinely helpful and will keep you in the loop about the number of days before the next election as well as giving you updates on your popularity rating.
Aside from a couple of small gripes such as the lack of a tutorial and some of the city factors like pollution needing more detailed information, Metropolis is an immersive and challenging strategy game with a hint of dark humour. With it's relevance to the world we live in today It could just be one of the best strategy games of 2018. With the current political circus in full swing across the globe, now is your chance to show them how it's done.
Metropolis reviewed by Pete Collins
Platform: PC / Steam
Developer: Studio by the Bay
Release: Date 29.3.2018
Metropolis is an immersive and detailed strategy game that adds a personal touch to city building.
At the default setting Metropolis feels like a calm and peaceful place to inhabit, but once you turn the speed up, events, news, advice and offers start to come in thick and fast. Each game I played was different to the last one and with the unpredictable global economy no two games seemed alike.