Pocket City 2020 Review and Guides
Everything you need to know
Is it worth playing?
Note: Use buttons in the lower right corner of the screen to jump to the Review or Guides.
Pocket City – A mobile city building game as it is presented officially, is just that. You build a city on your Smartphone. Okay, it is a little more than that, as the game puts the player in charge of not just construction, but everything else needed for any size city to function, including city planning, power, parks, streets, zone upkeep, layouts, and every other city zone imaginable. How many times have you fantasized about changing the look or reorganizing your city to make it work better? Well, this is your chance and we will also be taking a look at guides for the game in the second part of this page.
This just might be one of the most successful indie one-man-built games ever…
Dished out for Android and iOS, PC release date was on July 31, 2018. It is developed and published by Codebrew Games, which is, in fact, a one-person indie game development studio from Toronto, Canada. That man is Boddy Li, who built it with some help from his friends.
Pocket City is a simulation game, although it is counted as a strategy on the iTunes App Store, where its iOS version is #27 in Strategy and enjoys a high 4.6-star rating, currently. On Google Play, PC Android currently has a high 4.5-star score. With scores and figures like these, this just might be one of the most successful indie one-man-built games ever.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The player is placed as a governor of an unnamed city, which has only one goal – growth…
The setting in this game is simple but very effective. The player is placed as a governor of an unnamed city, which has only one goal – growth. But, its growth carries with it all the rest of the game’s features and mechanics, and thus as your city grows larger, the game becomes more demanding. Given its visuals and controls, combined with the interface and the relaxed mechanics, PC satisfies certain urges a gamer might have, which may relate to symmetry, establishing order, building something the way you think its best, and overall having good organizing skills. In a way, it can provide a sort of therapeutic sensation in itself.
How many times have you heard somebody criticize the way streets or districts are organized in your city? How many times have you said to somebody with absolute certainty that you know how we could all have better infrastructure, a better city plan, and an all-around better environment to live in? Well, this is a chance for fulfilling some of that. However, once you face the problems of running a fully sized metropolis, you might start reconsidering all those bold statements you usually make about how you could certainly improve things if you were in a position of power.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The controls are intuitive and touch-based, with a clean and comprehensive user interface…
As the city’s governor, the player creates zones, such as residential, industrial, and commercial. The player specifically determines the precise lot and place used for these, as well for many other buildings with various other special purposes. The game features a questing mechanic, which then awards XP and levels. Leveling up unlocks more special buildings, while some buildings can also be upgraded, as well as the zones with a high enough city level.
While placing buildings in the game, the player must meet the demand with strategic planning and execution. There is a chart that constantly shifts and provides the ratio between the population’s demands for different zones. The key is to establish and maintain a good balance, which will increase income the player gets through taxes. Water and power are crucial to all the zones, while the power plants also come in various types, some green, some not so much.
The gameplay revolves around three main metrics, and those are population, income, and happiness. If your citizen’s happiness level is high, they won’t move out. There are other metrics like traffic congestion, fire safety, crime rates, housing, job market, recreation, and health, and they all affect the main ones. To make matters more interesting, an occasional disaster will hit your city, which destroys buildings and entire zones, causing a hit to your economy and order. You must respond by rebuilding the lost areas.
PC also features in-game events that are triggered by the player upon reaching a certain point. They have a cooldown, like parties for instance, which increase happiness. All events provide rewards and experience.
The controls in this game are intuitive and touch-based, with a clean and comprehensive user interface. You control street and district directions and size with a swipe, placing roads and buildings as you see fit. Naturally, everything you build costs money, but the bigger your city is the more money you will make. You start only with a Town Hall and you go from there, as you dip into your starting capital.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This game is visually pleasing, in its simplicity and comprehensive design…
Since it is a one-man job, the development of this game was highly conservative in the visual aspects. However, even though it features mostly basic modeling and unoriginal assets, PC is in no way visually unpleasant. Quite the contrary, it is, in fact, very alluring. This perhaps lies in the designing part of the gameplay, where the player designs the appearance of his city, or in the very intuitive and clear UI. Whatever the case, this game is visually pleasing, in its simplicity and comprehensive design.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The game does not feature any microtransactions what so ever…
Pocket City does not feature any microtransactions what so ever. The only in-game currency is the in-game money and it is earned aplenty, with no option of purchasing it for real money. There are ads you can watch to get bonus currency. However, this is a premium game that asks for $2.99, but there is a limited free version. The limitations are on the sandbox mode and other unlocks, which, once paid, come fully available for good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It is a perfect blend of the old school strategy, kingdom development, and simulation genres, with improved metrics…
Pocket City is a perfect blend of the old school strategy, kingdom development, and simulation genres, with improved metrics and without all features that were proven to reduce the gaming pleasure in these games. It remotely resembles classic PC games like Ceasar or Civilization, but it is fully adapted to mobile. It does not feature combat of any kind, but the focus is on maintaining balance and on designing your little corner of the Earth. This sim is guaranteed to keep anyone with a flair for these things interested and engaged while having fun.
How to improve your gaming experience and gameplay…
Note: Use the button “GUIDES” in the lower right corner to jump back to this section.
While it does look deceptively simple, PC becomes challenging and engaging the more your dwelling grows. Thus, all who play a bit more than just the beginning stages soon learn that maintaining a good balance in a populated area is not that simple. One might also eat its own words if one was saying that building and running a city is simple and that they can do it better anytime. The challenges and complications that await come in abundance in mid to late game, and thus we’ve found the most frequently asked questions from the PC community, mainly Reddit. We’ve comprised our guide with useful tips for any questions we found and thought relevant.
Use links below to jump to the guide sections. Use links in the lower right corner to jump back.
- How to report a crime?
- How to make money?
- How to rotate buildings?
- How to build a sky rail station?
- How to get rid of rocks?
- How to lower zone upkeep?
- How to find a cat colony?
- How to use obelisk?
- How to reduce traffic?
Reporting a crime in this game is done through finding Criminal Hideouts, which are are a bit tricky to find if you have a tight Police Department Coverage. Tap “View”, then tap “Crime”, and then zoom out and try to find a small, dark area with high crime. After that, zoom in and check if there is a high number of criminals walking the streets. Then revert to normal “View” and tap the building at the center of the dark area. If it is a Criminal Hideout, you will get a Dispatch Police option to tap.
- Tap “View”
- Tap “Crime”
- Find a small, dark area with high crime
- Zoom in and check for criminals
- Revert to normal “View” and tap the building in the center of the dark area
- If it is a criminal hideout, the “Dispatch Police” option will appear
Regarding money, things will go smoothly in the early game, but once that mid-game threshold is crossed, things might begin to complicate a bit. Everything was going fine up to a certain level, and then they just seem to run out of money. To manage this, you need to manage your taxes, imports, and other vital goods:
- Tap “Stats” and get familiar with the layout
- Sales Tax + Income Tax + Property Tax need to be higher than Zone Upkeep and Import/Exports
Also, try to balance Supply and Demand as much as you can. Commercial Zones will increase Supply, while Higher Population and Happiness will increase Demand. Having insufficient Materials, Food, and Natural Resources might mean you are spending too much on imports, so try and aim for a City infrastructure that allows you to produce at least close to what you spend.
Another popular question among the Reddit community is how to rotate buildings? Unfortunately, buildings cannot be rotated as of yet. However, they do not lose their functionality even if they only have access to a road with their rear side. It does look a bit weird and unsatisfactory, but you can always get around this problem by always placing roads in front of buildings, while the back sides can either also be roads or trees or something. Also, you can place residential areas to form a square, with a park in the middle of a grassy area, or trees, which might look cool.
Sky Rail stations require you to be level 26 and you need to have rails placed. Then, you just place the Sky Rail alongside your rails. Provided your rails are continuous, your stations will be connected. According to a Reddit source, you can also have separate multiple rails with their separate stations. Also, your Sky Rails need to be near roads so they can have access to power and resources, like all other buildings. IF your Sky Rail building is dark, with an icon of a road and an exclamation point on it, it means it is not accessible.
Getting rid of rocks is available once you get the Dynamite service. It is unlocked at level 22 and it costs $1000 per tile. To access it:
- Reach level 22
- Tap “Build”
- Tap “Services”
- Tap “Special”
- Tap “Dynamite”
This is also the answer to the question about how to use dynamite? You just find it in the section described above, and then place it on the rocks you wish to demolish. It will cost $1000 per tile of rocks demolished.
Zone Upkeep is the maintenance cost of your buildings. Roads, for instance, do not increase your zone upkeep, but all other buildings do. They will increase it as soon as they finish being constructed, despite not having a power source, for instance. Population count also increases it, as it will go up as the people move in, even though you’ve already built residential zones. So, lowering zone upkeep is primarily done by removing buildings and it is the first thing recommended by most of the feedback on Reddit forums. This may not sound much, but some buildings play a large role in increasing your upkeep, like Fire Stations and similar.
If you are currently not earning enough, you can also increase export, provided you are not maxed out already. You should always check your costs. Tap “Stats” then “Goods” and you can then remove some import expenses, which can reduce upkeep as well.
Additionally, upgrading citizen income also yields more taxes, which directly counters high upkeep. According to most guides, lowering zone upkeep is best done by increasing your income even more, so that the upkeep stays the same but is surpassed by your earnings.
Pocket City cat colony is comprised of three or more cats, and they are found randomly throughout the city, although some say more likely near Commercial Zones. This is a search entirely up to the player, as there isn’t any particular rule to it. Another popular question on Reddit is how to find Busker? It is the guy with a guitar. You can hear Busker playing the guitar when you zoom in all the way and he is usually near a Commercial Zone. Fishermen are usually by the water, which is logical, and Yoga practitioners usually practice near Residential Zones. Try and spot the purple Yoga mats.
Pocket City Obelisks reduce damage from disasters, like tornadoes. Obelisks are found in Treasure Chests, found on the properties you purchase to expand your city’s territory. Once you find it in a treasure chest though, it will only unlock the building of Obelisks. It still costs $20k to build each. The Obelisk is listed in the Landmark tab, just:
- Tap “Build”
- Tap “Leisure”
- Tap “Landmarks”
- Swipe down to “Obelisk”
Traffic is generated as Citizens drive from their Residential Zones to places of interest, like Industrial Zones or Commercial Zones. Successfully connecting these three basic City zones is crucial for healthy city infrastructure. With that said, citizens will not travel much between two Residential Zones, so plan this accordingly. In Pocket City, it is best to spread as much as you can in terms of space and land, not to cram everything uptight from the start. Also, make sure each tile of Commercial Zones and Industrial Zones has access to a road from at least one side. Railways can help reduce traffic congestion, but it will take up precious space.