Review City Island 3 - Building Sim
A fun city builder that gets out of your way so you can actually build!
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 11 Apr 2017, tested on HTC One M8
The free-to-play elements don't get in your way, the game gives you the freedom to build how you want, the artwork and detail is great
The game lacks any real objectives, outside of simply building, the game does little to incentivize you to keep playing
City builders are a dime a dozen on the mobile platform, and finding a decent one is like finding a needle in a haystack. City Island 3 for Android is like finding a thumbtack in a haystack. Inadvertent rhyming aside, this is a game with no real objective other than designing a city to satisfy whatever creative desire you have.
You start out on a simple island which is really just a tutorial. You can buy access to the next island right away if you want, but I decided to just hang out on the “tutorial” island, because the only reason to move is because certain buildings require specific foundation types in order to be built. Some require a beach, some require a desert, and some require rocks.
Buildings are separated into several categories like commercial, community, homes, etc. You need to have a population in order to run commercial buildings, and you need roads to get your population around the island. So, the first order of business is building some residential buildings, some roads to connect the buildings, and then some commercial buildings to draw income, in order to continuously expand. Expanding costs money, so there is definitely plenty of resource pits in the game. One thing I kind of want to give praise to is that the game actually punishes optimization.
The large majority of buildings can be purchased by simply earning money in the game. But if you continuously buy the same building in order to earn the most money, it will change the cost of the building to the premium currency. This helps encourage players to build realistic cities, rather than cities with a million resorts simply because they produce the most gold.
City builders aren’t really my forte, but I think City Island 3 is actually pretty decent. You can spend real money for in-game resources, but the game never thrusts that in your face. The gameplay is really simple, and is totally focused on letting you play the way you want.