Cities XL 2012 Review

Urban Metropolis

In the heart of every fan of economic/city-building games, there lives a largely irrational hope for every other “B-class tycoon”. You look at these German and other creations, and you want to think that, well, the graphics are fine, the code is stable, but playing this time might be interesting!

Such secret feelings, of course, do not come from an abundance of beloved simulators. Currently, only the Anno series and the Tropico island, even though it is sinking, are holding up well. From such happiness, one has to search for their favorite gameplay where, as experience suggests, it cannot be found.

Cities XL 2012 more expensive than a regular lottery ticket, but still relatively cheap in terms of gaming. The only difference is that the ticket is always a losing one.

Roughly speaking, you and I, dear owners of the latest Cities XL, have won another copy of “SimCity for the poor” without any bonuses, but with all the consequences. The game allows us to lay out virtual hectares with roads and traditional residential/industrial/and so on zones to our liking, creating some kind of dream city. That’s about it.

Well, the city builder’s gentleman’s set is also in place. Various graphics are ready to inform you about who is living well in our village and who is dissatisfied, and the red-blue-green graphic filter, out of old friendship, will even highlight where exactly our dissatisfied ones live and what they need for happiness.

Cityscape in Cities XL 2012

To be fair: when the game doesn’t lag for unknown reasons to my computer, drawing roads and laying foundations for various factories can be done without any interface wars. That is, the buttons on the screen – according to tradition – are scattered in a logic-defying order, but once the player reaches the desired tool, they can calmly line up (boring) landscape textures. The clarity of the construction process is particularly pleasing. Want to outline everything with triangles? Go ahead, and now see how much land will be lost from such an avant-garde project, and which areas grateful citizens will still be able to adapt to their needs. Satisfied with the layout? Great, let’s continue in the same spirit.

All the aforementioned delights of Cities XL 2012 can be experienced by a) blindly poking into the virtual sky, b) engaging in tutorial missions. A friendly piece of advice: don’t start any “educational” tasks until you’re completely stuck. And even when you’re stuck, it’s better not to start. The cumbersome and tedious training campaign completely kills any desire to play. Personally, I didn’t last long – the desire to fall asleep right on the keyboard shortened my work day already on the fifth mission. After waking up, I instantly wanted to uninstall the game.

But I still had to take screenshots.

City Planning in Cities XL

In this, I understand, a bridge.

Room to maneuver

The strategic decision to ignore the tutorial has paid off.

First of all, the annoying mentors have disappeared. Are you annoyed that in new games you get a scout badge-achievement for every little thing? Then you have forgotten how much worse it used to be. A couple of virtual characters given to you in Cities XL 2012 to make learning less boring (oh, the irony) keep playing the same joke all the time and hinder the process more than they help. Give me achievements for every little thing, just so I never have to go through this circus again.

Ignoring the latest life lessons from the game has also opened up a whole globe with platforms for new cities scattered all over it. Choose – I don’t want to. Build wherever you want, however you want, as much as you want. Great, isn’t it?

However, there is a downside to this freedom. I remember that even in economic simulators, there were single campaigns with green grass and blue sky. For example, you had to “travel” to different cities and solve local specific problems. Here, there are traffic problems, constant worker strikes there, and here you need to develop tourism… Freedom is freedom, but without specific challenges, Cities XL 2012 can be dull.

Modern Metropolis

Okay, I built a small town, what’s next?

I was set up!

Despite the fact that everything should be generally understandable and familiar to an experienced lover of “tycoons” in the game, I immediately encountered problems with the projects of profitable cities. The statistics showed that everything was great in my new settlement (except for the extra factories I built), but the money somehow didn’t go into the treasury. I started to try everything: building special highways, carefully monitoring the employment of office and other sectors, rearranging the layouts of buildings in residential areas – nothing helped.

It became increasingly obvious – the game was lying to me somewhere. Where exactly, I had to find out by poking around with the previously tested method, but it wasn’t hard to guess. Defying the sign that said “Reduce production!” and continued to mock me, I added a few more industrial districts to the map to drown the city in toasters. And then a miracle happened: my incurable urban planning flaw turned into a stunning mistake, either by the developers or the localizers.

From that moment on, reading charts and receiving signals from the game turned into a bad interactive spy thriller. What if there is disinformation here too, and they are showing you something else altogether? No pleasure, just constant nerves.

And that means – it’s time to quit. In other words, it’s time to uninstall Cities XL 2012 from the computer, love didn’t happen. The engine is faulty, the graphics are dull, and it also likes to lie, well, what good is that?

Aerial View

The appearance of tycoons of class B and below nowadays seems like some kind of anomaly. If you’re going to do a similar project now, you have to do it well, otherwise the meaning is completely lost. There is an opinion that the current trend in the world of “creative games” obliges developers to clone not SimCity, but Minecraft, preferably for consoles or mobile platforms.

Cities XL 2012 and similar games no longer look like mere attempts to grasp at the straw of someone else’s glory, but like some kind of miracle-born dinosaurs in our days, and herbivorous dinosaurs at that. CXL 2012 would be a decent entertainment for a week or two, if it were the year 2002 now. It’s clear why paying for such a game now is not a good idea.

Cities XL 2012
Focus Home Interactive
Focus Home Interactive
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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