Following the trail blazed by the tremendous popularity of On's Eyezmaze Grow series of casual Web games, two enterprising young Flash developers used that inspiration to create a sim-ilar game with a SimCity-like theme.
Created by Nick Pfeifer and Aaron Hibberd, Cityscape puts you in charge of breathing life into an otherwise undeveloped land mass by choosing the building order for the elements that make up a standard city.
Simply click on the small icons in the bottom right corner of the game window to build residential areas, industry, an airport, seaport, amusement park, etc. The order you choose determines how far each of the areas develops and matures via a process of leveling up, just as in the Grow games. Once you you are finished adding all 18 elements, you are scored out of a total 60 possible points. And just like Grow, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Analysis: The first time I saw this game about a year ago, I passed on it because I was expecting just a little bit more after having just played the original Grow. And while Cityscape may lack the intricately detailed and delightful animations that On puts into all of his games, it does present a hearty challenge with its many more elements.
Another difference I noticed between the two game designs is in the way leveling-up is handled. With On's Grow, although there exists some dependencies between elements (one requiring another to be present to level-up, for instance), each element generally levels-up on its own with each passing round. In Cityscape, the leveling-up appears to be more cause-and-effect than a passing of time. While this may be easier to implement, and even seem logical when building the rule set for a game like this, it also causes an unpleasant side effect that reduces the depth of gameplay. For example: if adding a commercial area influences the interstate to level up, then adding the commercial area before the interstate will never cause the interstate to level-up, even after it is added.
Games of this kind are difficult to design and become exponentially unwieldy with each new element added to the number available to choose from. Considering this fact and the sheer volume of possible combinations, the authors did a commendable job putting together a decent and very playable game that will appeal to fans of the Grow series, as well as to those that just like a good logic puzzle to solve.
Cheers to Dan, Matt and Kevin for suggesting the game. =)