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Cities XL: Design Your Perfect Town!

Company: Monte Cristo

Cities XL is a new Sim-City style game that you play online with other players. It's definitely the first city building without war game that I've played. There are games like King's Age, Tribal Wars, and Ikariam where you do city building, but you've always got war to deal with. In Cities XL, the focus is on building your city, taking care of the citizen's needs, and growing in accordance with those needs. In that way, it's the first MMO I've played like it. You get to work on your own city independently of what others are doing, but you can still talk to the other players and trade with them. It makes it so that you can play at your leisure without worrying that someone is going to kill you while you sleep, but you still get the benefit of having other people to talk to.

After getting it downloaded, installed, and patched, which might take some time as it is a large file and it is patched quite often, you're going to wonder what to do next. I highly recommend you go through the tutorial. Even though it's not quite complete, there is more than enough there to get you started upgrading your city the best way possible. It is a lot of info to take in at once, though. Personally I recommend re-reading the tutorials when you get confused. They're quite concise, so going back through them several times isn't a problem at all. The only major thing I didn't find in the tutorial was how to originally place your city. When you first start, you choose a world. That world has a whole bunch of dots on it. When you click on the big ones, you'll find out that they're already someone's place. Some of the really little dots will show up as available. You'll need to find one of those and click on it to place your settlement. Once you have your city placed, you can start the real game.

So I'm not going to lie to you, Cities XL is not the easiest game to get the hang of, even after the tutorial. The roads are the hardest part for me. Some of the building zones come with their own roads, like the large residential zones. Others you have to build on the roads. I had a really hard time getting all my roads in the right place doing it this way. I ended up with roads side by side each other and no way to get from one to the next since you can only connect if it's more than a certain angle. But the good news is you can start your city over if you mess it up like I did! Really, you only lose what you've worked on. When you exit the game, your city is saved in the state that you left it. It does not continue growing without you there, which is a really good thing! Otherwise there's just no way you could keep up with all that you need to do. These citizens can be quite demanding!

Luckily, you have several tools to help you figure out what you need to do. They give you so many different ways to see the overviews of what is happening in your city that it's almost difficult to remember what is where. There are toolbars on 3 sides of the screen. The left side is your construction bar. You'll find all the tools to build your city there. They're not all open to begin with, though. You have to grow and achieve certain objectives to unlock more options. The top and right bars show different ways of viewing the zones, population, economy, environment, and much more. It does take some time to remember what's where, but you'll get the hang of it quickly. Cities XL is the first MMO that I've played like it. I really like the way that it plays; now I just need to work on getting my roads to work better. Keep an eye out for this game to become available to everyone. You're going to want to try it out!

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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