- Developer: Maxis
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Platform: PC and Mac
- Format: CD-ROM, Digital Download
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- Release Date: 2003
- Choose from multiple building architectural styles
- Build parks, landmarks, bridges, hospitals, freeways, and more
- Earn extra cash for your city by accepting business deals
- Create neighboring cities and then link them together for trade
- Import characters from The Sims
- Transform terrain and create disasters in God Mode
- Seek advice from a panel of seven advisors
- Set taxes for different income brackets
- Manage fires, tornadoes, riots, toxic waste, and more
- Watch your city change from day into night
SimCity 4 continues the award-winning city-building simulation series created by Maxis. The concept is the same as in previous games, as you attempt to build a thriving city while managing an increasingly demanding population.
There are a number of new features that have been added since SimCity 3000, however. The most obvious change is the presentation, with more detailed graphics and a working day and night cycle. Players can also import music (in MP3 format) to customize their game.
There are three city sizes available in the game (small, medium, and large), each influencing the number of tiles on which to build. Small cities consist of 64 x 64 tiles, while large cities are comprised of 256 x 256 tiles. New to SimCity 4 is the requirement that players create their neighboring cities.
Before, your city’s neighbors were automatically generated whenever a new city was created. Now, you’ll have to establish all four adjacent cities yourself, allowing you to complement your city so you can trade and share resources.
The budget system has also changed from previous games, as now budgets are done on a monthly basis instead of annually. A class system is also in place, with residents and businesses now defined by their income levels: poor, middle-class, and wealthy. Mayors will be able to set individual tax rates for each bracket, deciding whether to tax everyone at the same rate or reduce taxes for those in need.
The three main play options in SimCity 4 include Mayor Mode, God Mode, and My Sim Mode. Mayor Mode is the traditional way to play SimCity, with you creating a city and expanding it over time by managing resources, receiving money from taxes, and so forth.
God Mode is a bit different in that you can freely interact with the terrain as you see fit. You’ll also be able to obliterate cities, create disasters in different parts of the city, and control day and night.
My Sim Mode allows you to import a character from The Sims, who will give you some advice on potential problems or unmet needs that should be addressed. Unlike in The Sims, however, you lose control of an imported Sim the moment you assign him or her to a house in your city. They can be clicked on to hear their feedback on your job performance, but that’s it.
For those who enjoy learning every facet of how their city is performing, the graphs button will offer players data on crime, commute time, power, water, air pollution, garbage, education by age, jobs, life expectancy, traffic volume, and more. There’s also an individual panel for budgeting, allowing you to track your city’s income and expenditures so that you can fight off stagnation and stimulate growth.