Being a lover of simulation style games, my ipad is full of them. I regularly have a search through the app store too to find new and interesting games that are to my tastes. I didn't stumble upon CityVille Hometown as I heard about it through facebook first.
For those of you who haven't heard of CityVille it's an online game that can be played on facebook and also on google+ too. I will shortly be writing a review on each of these too but suffice to say that CityVille Hometown the mobile version of the game is the worse of the three, and very disappointing it was to discover this.
CityVille has been created by Zynga, a company well known in the online games world for games like Mafia Wars, Farm Ville and Zynga Poker. Of all of their games CityVille is the most appealing to me because I like this style of game.
In CityVille Hometown much like the normal Cityville of facebook and google, the overall aim of the game is to build a thriving city. When you first begin you are walked through a short tutorial by 'Kate' a virtual charcter designed as a face to the city. Although after the tutorial you don't really see or need much from her. The tutorial has few steps as the game is very easy to walk and navigate through yourself. In fact if your an adult player then you may not need the tutorial at all, especially if you have played the online version previously. Sadly however there is no option to toggle through faster and you do need to complete the tutorial steps to stop the annoying pop ups.
When you begin you are asked to name your city and after this you get your first glimpse of whats on offer. You will start with a relatively small patch of land, a few farming plots to grow crops, one shop and a few houses with your starter population. One of the first things you are shown is how to farm and grow crops as these are the lifeline of your city as they supply all of your business. Eg shops, restaurants, bars and hotels etc. You will also need to begin to increase your population too.
It's very easy to drive yourself through in these early stages, grow the population, farm and supply businesses and all the time expand your land for a small fee to grow the size of your city. You also continue to get 'mission' style pop ups through citizens of the city but these are all simple type actions like collecting the rent frm ten different houses or increasing your population to a certaina mount etc. I have found the rewards for these to be relatively generous varying from a decent amount of free farm goods to game currency money. So these are well worth doing! You will struggle to advance if you don't at least partly pay attention to these, so try not to avoid them.
Within your city as you begin to gain more population and build more businesses you are always given the option to give them your own names. When you complete the building/growing process you will be given a default name but you can remove this and place your own, which is a lovely feature especially for younger players. I'm a bit boring like that and stick to the defaulted ones as they are quite sweet and creative but I know my younger cousin loves to create her own so she can put her friends in her city!
Another key point of the game is the market. Here is where you find all the seperate sections that will provide details for your city. There are sections for homes and businesses where you will be able to unlock more options the higher level you are or the more money you have. There is also a section for community buildings. This is quite important in structuring your city to allow growth. You need to have the relevant amount of community buildings in your library to allow you to increase the amount of residents you have. Here you will find buildings like the library etc which will provide you access to building more houses to accomodate more people. In the market you will also find the section for decorations which again is quite important to providing a happy city. Decorations can be bought and placed in your city and in the market you will see what affect each item will have. It does vary but if you place them next to any building you will increase the amount of money this building makes anywhere from 2% upwards! Roads are the only 'decoration' that don't do this. You will also find the option for expansion here in the market. Expansion is easier in the lower levels but as you go up the ranks you will find it costs more and you need to meet other criteria too.
I've been playing CityVille Hometown for a while now and I'm still a little on the fence over it. One thing I can say is that I am very disappointed with it. Although the graphics are ok, although nothing to write home about they don't match up anywhere near closely to the facebook version or even the slightly less graphically exceptional google+. Although vivid and clear so easy to use my main issue on this side of things is the lack of new content. On the facebook version you regularly get access to new content-buildings, homes etc so it always keeps things fresh. You don't get that with this mobile version which is a real shame as you can get a little bored once you have unlocked everything. However it is good in the sense that it's vibrancy and overall look is great for adults and kids alike.
My two main bugbears with this app are two that seem to follow every player. If you look online or view the feedback details on the app-store you wills ee most people are frustrtated with Zynga over the amount of technical issues that surrounding this game. It constantly crashes, which is so annoying. On an ipad a crash is only a momentary thing where you are kicked out of the game and you have to re-enter. But it is still annoying when it's frequent. There are also glitches riddled within this game. For example, you can't view friend requests, see neighbours or follow things through with ease. You will also get notifications (if you choose to have them set up when you first install it!) constantly even if the note they are making you aware of isn't relevant anymore. For example you will get notifications saying that your crops are ready to harvest (or about to wither if you have left them too long) even if you have already harvested them. This is very annoying!
The onther bugbear with this game and my personal biggest annoyance if the friend side of things. I was so excited for this game because in the actual description it says that "this sin't your cityville facebook game, but completely original game". However this isn't true. You REALLY need friends/neighbours in this game to interact with to progress at a decent rate and without them progression is slow and expensive (in game currency that is). You are given access to a small handful of players in a 'match-making' service each day but due to technical hitches you never get to see them on your friends list and therefore you can't interact with them. You only option is to link it up to your facebook account and request your friends through there. This is not something I wanted to do at all. I love games like this but I don't want my friends to know I'ma ddicted to playing them, I quite frankly would have the mickey taken out of me! If like me you would be more than happy to have lots of neighbours on the game that you can exchange items with etc then unfortunatly unless you do connect your facebook to the game you will be stuck in quite a slow moving game. I currently have to save up the money my businesses earn to fulfill missions that requires 'friend actions'. The cost is ridiculously high and takes days to save for, only to be given a new one after a few more days so the cycle continues. It's very tedious and ruins the gameplay a bit and I can see myself getting bored with it quickly.
Zynga have been contacted about this issue by myself but couldn't or wouldn't provide answers to the whole friends situation as the match making service should provide me access to these elements of the games. For now I am happier knowing I'm one of many people experiencing problems with this side of things!
Overall I can't really rate this game more than two stars. I do wish I could but a fair rating is two stars. It's got all the makings of being great, one of my favourites but it needs work. Work which doesn't seem to be getting done at any speed. I do check in on my city a couple of times a day and I continue to grow it and build in it but I'm not sure at what point I will get stuck withought outside help from neighbours. For a completely free app though it's good value for money as it can keep you well enteratined as it does offer a lot, especially if you like these styled games! If you are a hardcore player you can even spend actual money to buy more currency for your city! But for now I'm happy to plod along and hope for some friends soon! Sob!
CityVille Hometown is available on Iphone 4 &3GS, Pod touch 2nd, 3rd & 4th gen, and iPad but you will need an internet connection to play. Visit the app store to download for free.
I downloaded this a while ago on a whim thinking it would be similar to Facebook's most popular 'cityville' game; it was not until roughly a week ago I decided to start playing it.
This app is free to download although you have to purchase some things in the game for 'real' cash. It is also rated as a no minimum age game.
The game will only play on either iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, iPod touch 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation or the iPad, and also requires iOS4 or later software, yet another requirement is that you must be connected to a wireless connection.
As with the Facebook version the game is owned and managed by Zynga.
You cannot however link this app to the online game version; you will however have to log in to your face book account.
The game is played with the phone being held horizontally.
This is via the app description itunes app store!!!
Create the town of your dreams in CityVille Hometown! Help a cast of delightful characters, follow their stories, and be rewarded with special items. Watch your town come to life with a wide assortment of houses, businesses, and fantastic decorations! Name your businesses and residents to make your town unique.
-Attract new residents by building a variety of homes.
-Make it your own - Choose who moves in and customize names for your residents and buildings.
-Find your Facebook friends, visit their towns, and get their help in building your town.
-Grow your economy by building businesses to earn coins.
-Plant and harvest crops for your businesses.
-Help your residents achieve special goals.
-Beautify your town with decorations to earn bonus payouts on businesses.
Now if only it was that easy..................................
***STARTING THE GAME***
The set-up is easy and quick and quite painless, you are taken to the home screen where you choose your town's name, for example mine is called 'Camelot', and also register your name etc. You are then taken to the game to begin.
The game is very similar to the online version, the graphics are similar with the usual XP star's and buildings although the 'tool' section has slightly different images then the ones online., the buildings and decorations available are the same although the cost for them is slightly less although the amount of 'cash' you have is also a lot less than you are rewarded in the online version. On you game screen the 'toolbar' is based along the bottom this includes you missions box (incomplete missions need to be done) a 'pop out' screen for the buildings, decorations and also expansions and energy there is also the 'tool' button (move, rotate, delete etc) and finally a list of your neighbours. Then to the left along the bottom there are the bars showing you energy level, bank balance, game progress and amount of store goods you have, it also shows the photo that is you Facebook profile picture. Hints and tips pop up from time to time along the top of the screen.
The sounds are also very similar to the online version, with typical town sounds such as cars and birds etc. The sounds that play when missions are completed etc are also the same, they play clearly enough and can be turn off via the settings menu or via the side button on the phone.
***PLAYING THE GAME***
First of all I must say the game is very easy to navigate and although it is on a touch-screen phone I experienced no problems with placing items etc.
Like the online game you then begin to follow the missions for example the 1st is to rotate a home and plant crops for goods, each time getting XP (or experience points) helping you to 'level up' again like the online version the first 10 or so levels are quick and easy to complete as are the missions.
The problems begin to start when you are asked to place 'community' buildings (post office, police), and also special events, upon completing the building faze you are then asked to ask 'neighbours' or friends from face book to send to things such as stamps and liberty bonds and also become said neighbours, now while this is not a problem online, it seems to be on the app as only people with said software can actually play and help you, no software means no help even though the online version has a section for the 'Hometown' it will not allow non-players to help, so like me you may end up suck at a level with no virtual neighbours to help you. As you can imagine this is highly annoying and once to this point to can no longer actively play unless all or friends suddenly decide to buy Apple products.
There is no way around this downfall sadly and as a result I decided to finally delete it as it was silly having a useless app taking up memory on my phone. While the game was fun and playable to a point, the fact that Zynga seem to think that everyone has an iPhone is very disappointing to say the least, don't get my wrong if you have a lot of friends with apple products then this game could live up to it's bigger brothers reputation. I am just glad that this was a free app as I certainly would be complaining if it wasn't!
Based on this i am awarding the app 2 stars as while it does have a major downfall, i did find the graphics and ease of play(when possible) very good and easily could have been a big contender in App gaming.