Model City Review LadiesGamers

Model City Review

Game: Model City
Genre: Casual, Indie, Puzzle
System: Steam ( Windows & macOS)
Developers | Publishers: GTGD
Controller Support: None
Price: US $4.99 | UK £3.99 | EU € 3,99
Release Date: November 8th, 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to GTGD.

Model City is a puzzle game dressed up as a city builder. Players have to build up their city while keeping their resources in harmony with one another to get the maximum amount of value from the area they have available.

How to Play Model City

Model City is a simple point-and-click game. This game feels a lot like a mobile title in its simplicity; it only allows players to click on each of the 500-ish squares in the city and decide what will fill in that square. Players have five total choices:

Model City Review LadiesGamers
Here are each of the types that players can build on each square.
  • Housing – between 45 and 55% of squares
  • Food production – between 10 and 20% of the city
  • Parks and green spaces – between 5 and 15% of squares
  • Utilities – between 5 and 15% of squares
  • Businesses – between 10 and 20% of squares

Players start by clicking on one of the spots available for development. Select which one of these five to build; the monetary value above the type shows how much more your city will be worth after that is built. In neutral spots, each type of buildable has the same value. However, as the city begins to take shape, different squares will be marked with different types. If the type shown is built on the square, it will have more value.

Model City Review LadiesGamers
Changing this square will influence all the squares around it, which is both a yay and an oh no at the same time.

Also, the value of the built square will be 50% higher if all squares fall inside the needed percentage. In order to win, players need to gain $90,000 worth of value in the entire build.

What a Pretty Game

Model City is very beautiful. As the player clicks on each square, the chosen type of tile grows out of the grass, its buildings spreading through the square in a very pleasing and well-polished animation. I love the look of this game a lot.

Model City Review LadiesGamers
Some of my skyscrapers got very, very tall.

Unfortunately for Model City, the graphics don’t make up for the gameplay.

What’s Wrong with Model City

The problems with this game start at the very beginning. There are no instructions, and players just have to fumble their way through the game’s first round. And probably the second, if you get that far. I scoured the menu in hopes of some help, but there was none to be found (Speaking of the menu, the music settings you choose to revert to ON every time you open a new game which was infuriating).

Model City Review LadiesGamers
The potential values constantly change for squares depending on many factors.

Yes, it is a simple game, but it’s too simple. The developer just cushioned the playtime by not giving the player any idea of what they are doing. Instead of making this more interesting, it’s just infuriating. Model City is not a simulation or a city builder, but more like a jigsaw puzzle.

The way the game is described on Steam was “City Builder,” which felt a little misleading. With the price of $4.99 and the tags, I was expecting something very different from what I got. I certainly wasn’t expecting Math Quiz the Game.

Model City Review LadiesGamers
Something makes my property values fall, and I’m not sure what it is.

Each time you click on a square to build something, you are giving what value each of the choices will give you. The amount of money is decided by several factors:

  • The way the square is zoned.
  • Luck or something, I guess?
  • The types of buildings around it.
  • If players have the proper ratio of types.
  • Probably magic.
  • RNG.
  • What is built later on nearby.
  • Some weird hidden algorithm that is never ever explained.

Building in popular parts of town seems to make the square worth more. Squares add between $100 and $450 to the city. In order to hit the $90,000 mark, players need to get at least $172 per square. In spite of keeping the build price in that range, I never got to the $90,000 mark somehow. I don’t really understand why not; probably because the developers never bothered to even attempt to give me an idea.

Conclusion

I get where the developers of Model City were going with this game. It has a lot of potentials to be fun, but a lot of changes will have to happen first, in my opinion. These would be:

Model City Review LadiesGamers
Why is everything a utility? What did I do?
  • Either more levels or less cost.
  • Some basic instructions. Even if everything isn’t explained, some hints would be beneficial.
  • Don’t make me turn the music off every time, please.
  • Autosaving would be nice.
  • Something to speed up the process of building. You have to slide around the map yourself, dragging the map around instead of being able to zoom out really far and then back in where you want to be.
  • An explanation of why Farm squares are so rare and how to get more.

Needless to say that I was super disappointed with this game. I really hope the developers rethink Model City and rerelease it; I know that with its pretty graphics and interesting puzzle setup they could do a lot more. I know I could have figured out the math behind this puzzle game had I spent a lot more time with it, but I really, really didn’t want to.

There was nothing to pull me in and keep me spending time with Model City.

Final Verdict: I Don’t Like it
I don't like it

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