City Island 3

City Island 3 for Windows

Happiness can grow on trees (or by building parks and decorations)

City Island 3, the latest in this city-building game series, aims to improve on and refresh the concept with some upgrades and additional features.

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City Island 3, the latest in this city-building game series, aims to improve on and refresh the concept with some upgrades and additional features.

City buildings for beginners

The beauty of the City Island series has always been that it's easy to keep citizens pleased, and nor does it rely on in-app purchases. In short, the game is all about constructing commercial buildings to ensure there are jobs and placing residential buildings to ensure there are homes for the citizens to live in. And to keep these citizens happy, there are various landmarks and decorations you can place around the city.

A rocky road at times

The aim of City Island 3 - to keep your citizens happy by providing the right amount of residential, commercial and decorative buildings - remains, while you then level up and gain financial rewards as you go. Once you’ve constructed your buildings it’s then time to upgrade them, although you can never be building or upgrading more than five buildings at once. Then the cash will start rolling in (after a waiting period, of course).

The cash reward for leveling up is significant and – in the early stages – placing a few buildings is enough to do it, so you can play for a fair amount of time without needing any in-app purchases. Similarly, upgrading buildings doesn’t break the bank. The inclusion of adverts (which you can get rid of for a one time fee) is annoying, but does mean you get a much better freemium experience.

City Island 3 introduces a number of different areas and terrains to build on, making this a much bigger and longer game. While this is a great idea, it over-complicates the game because you have to work out which buildings can be built on the rocks, the sand, the volcano, the swamp, the lagoon and so on. There is no categorization in the menu so you either have to remember what can be built where or resort to trial and error. Even in the greenlands (which is where you start) there are certain bits that need to be bulldozed before they can be built on, which doesn’t add anything to the game experience.

Nice, but nothing special

The graphics are still not quite as flashy, colorful or detailed as other games in the same genre (such as SimCity BuildIt and Megapolis), but they have a pleasant, homely feeling.

You can’t change the camera angle, which makes it difficult to place road behind buildings you have already constructed, for example. Moving buildings is a little fiddly as well. The music is nothing to write home about, either.

The end of the road?

While City Island 3 is a fun game for city-building fans, this particular series is getting tired now. There haven’t been enough changes to make it feel like it’s offering something new. That said, if you’ve never played a city-building game and you’re looking for one that’s easy to get in to, you can’t go far wrong with City Island 3.

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