Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Metropolis Gameplay Review

I'm playing Metropolis, a city  management simulation by Studio by the Bay.

The game features the same base map each time and lacks intermediate objectives to suggest what to do next. The map scrolls very slowly and there is no minimap to orient yourself. Actions include the ability to buy and sell buildings, upgrade existing structures, adjust tax rates, purchase cheaper off-map housing, adjust pension rates, hire doctors and teachers and police, adjust the budget for roads and mass transit, enact a wide range of policies, buy and sell stocks in private companies, buy and sell power and water, and make choices during events. The problem lies in the game speed: at its fastest setting, one game month takes over 20 minutes of real time (and a year lasts four-and-a-half hours!). Since the budget is only updated once a month, there is an extremely long delay between performing actions and seeing the impact on the finances of your city. This is a huge issue early in the game when money is tight: you have no idea if you can afford a new policy or building long-term and must wait 20 (or 40) minutes to find out if it’s worth it. Even worse, you can’t leave the game running and come back later as frequent events automatically slow time down. While Metropolis is a good concept as there are many options to shape your city, the plodding pace of the game severely hinders enjoyment.