Megapolis a very disappointing port to Windows Phone

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Now, don't get me wrong - I was a fan of SimCity and of the concept here - Megapolis the game is no doubt better on other, original platforms and I'm not criticising the core mechanics or simulation algorithms. What's unforgiveable here is the lack of attention by the development team who 'ported' this over to Windows Phone. Plus my usual gripes over outrageous freemium tiers to catch out those who tap without thinking, but even this gets overshadowed by the awfulness of the implementation.

From the Store description:

The #1 city-builder game in more than 20 countries with over 10M downloads! One million people play every day! Tablets are supported. Enjoy the incredible game experience on a larger screen! Manage finances and design and develop the primary infrastructure of your own city:

  • airports
  • railway stations
  • seaports
  • oil and gas mining
  • wind, solar and atomic power plants
Regular content updates and city events will add excitement to the life of your Megapolis. Trade materials and build alliances with your neighbors. Challenge your friends to see who can create the most alluring and successful city.
  • Awesomely realistic 3D graphics
  • World-famous architecture from ancient to modern times
  • More than 700 buildings and sites with hundreds of construction materials
  • Cooperate with your neighbors
  • Expand your city over land and sea
  • Challenging tasks, rewards and achievements

Sounds good, right? But there are major issues here. Firstly, let the screen time out at any point and the game effectively starts again. What? If you were in the middle of some building work, it's not there and you have to start again. Game testing? What game testing?! The whole point of Megapolis is to 'hook' the user, to create an addiction to this little virtual world, and having to watch the splash screen and loading bar every few minutes because you took your eyes off the game for a few seconds is just plain irritating.

Secondly, the Megapolis interface, nice and colourful (though over-burdened by multiple freemium currencies, but let's not rant about that all over again...), is presumably tried and tested on other platforms - on tablets, principally (e.g. iPad) - but it has been ported to Windows Phone by simply keeping everything at the same pixel size or even downsampling where needed - this results in over-fiddly controls and icons, over-tiny text at some points - it really does feel as though you're working with a 10" tablet game on a 5" phone screen.

No doubt I'll vent further below, but time for some screenshots:

Screenshot, Megapolis

The main UI - notifications, controls and pretty game elements in isometric 3D - perfect for a 10" iPad. Ahem. Not so great on a 4"-screened Lumia 520.....

Screenshot, Megapolis

The stats and currencies come thick and fast all too soon - count how many numbers are involved on this one dialog! - and yes, there are 'wait times' built into the freemium mechanics here too....

Screenshot, Megapolis

The tutorial mode extends into the game proper, making it seem a little like it's on rails at first - but hey, at least the flow is made clear.

Screenshot, Megapolis

Get to like this splash/loading screen, you'll be seeing it a lot!

Screenshot, Megapolis

Crazy freemium tiers. Who on earth, even the most addicted player EVER, is going to spend £78 in one go on an in-app purchase in a phone game? I'll tell you who. No one. So why is this here, other than to trap the unwary who misread the price or misplace their tap....

A potentially interesting game, utterly ruined by a lazy implementation and over-greedy freemium structure.

You can grab this - if you really, really must - here in the Store. I wouldn't recommend it though.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store