City Rain PC
Published by: Ovolo Corporation
Developed by: Mother Gaia Studios
Take the city building genre and mix it with a little Tetris and the result would be something that's not too far away from City Rain. This isn't a city builder where you spend hours poring over your city however. For a city building game it's actually played at quite a pace as you only have a limited amount of time to place the falling buildings. It's certainly an interesting mix of game-play styles and in some respects it's a successful mix. For the asking price it's certainly worth it but some aspects of the game could have been done better.
You'll have an isometric view of your city which is made up of various tiles with each building taking up one tile. Buildings fall from the sky and have to be placed on a tile. To begin with you'll place them one tile (or block) at a time, with the option to cycle through a few building types, but later on you'll be placing multiple buildings simultaneously. A number of special buildings can be purchased which will help your city develop and combat pollution. If you place a building on a tile which contains a building of the same type, it will level-up that building (for instance placing a school on to a school will give you a level two school). Should you place a building on to a different building, you'll destroy the original building and replace it with the new one. It's all very simple but there are some things you have to take into account. Your city has ratings for sustainability, jobs, health, leisure, security and education and these ratings are affected by the buildings you place in your city. You'll have to keep an eye on your income, deal with waste disposal and sort out the pollution by being careful about what buildings/facilities you place in your city.
City Rain offers three modes of play. The game's campaign sees you starting your career as a RAIN employee. Pollution is getting out of hand and the World Environment Protection Agency (WEPA) have established the Rescue And Intervention Non-profit organisation (RAIN) to deal with the problem. It's up to RAIN to see that environmental laws are adhered to and that unrepentant polluting companies are dealt with. City Rain puts you in the shoes of a new RAIN employee. Rather than have a separate tutorial section, the campaign keeps things simple to begin with and your assistant, Catherine, delivers the various game concepts to you one at a time. You'll have to clean up various cities that don't come up to WEPA standards. The campaign mode on the whole is quite good but there are a couple of problems. There's little replay value and the bulk of it is far too easy with only the last quarter or so really posing a challenge.
The other two modes in the game are Quickplay and Blockmania. In Quickplay you'll essentially get to setup a custom game choosing the amount of rounds, a time limit, the amount of buildings you'll have to place, the speed at which the buildings will fall, the size of the map and so forth. For a mode called Quickplay, depending on the options you choose, it can certainly last a while. Blockmania is a mode that throws away the city building elements and focuses solely on the game's Tetris elements. You'll simply have to place the buildings as they fall. You'll get points for levelling up buildings and your game will come to an end if you destroy too many buildings. Both of these modes are certainly welcome but it's unlikely you'll visit them more than a few times.
The visual quality of the game is simplistic but in truth it doesn't need to be anything more. The visuals are clean and easy on the eyes and importantly it's easy to see what the various buildings are at a glance, so you shouldn't end up confusing one building for another. The general interface is absolutely fine too, putting all the information you require right there to be seen at a glance. The game can be played with an Xbox 360 gamepad if you wish, although I suspect most will prefer to stick with the classic mouse and keyboard control scheme.
Deaf gamers will have no problems with City Rain. All of the dialogue in the game is text only so you'll always be aware of what's being said to you and what needs to be done in each of the campaign's missions. All tutorial messages are text only too, so you'll have no problems in getting to grips with the game. In short the game is absolutely fine for deaf gamers.
City building games are often complex in nature so in that respect, City Rain is rather refreshing. The game represents a solid mix of Tetris and games such as SimCity but there are question marks against the game's longevity. The game's campaign mode is far too easy for the most part, although there's no denying that the game is enjoyable, and only becomes challenging during the later stages. The asking price is just £6.95 at the time of writing and at that price it's unquestionably solid value for money for those who fancy the idea of mixing a little Tetris with their city building experience.