Like a lot of SimCity fans, we’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting to find out if SimCity BuildIt was a free-to-play game, a full-on simulation, or some third thing. The game is now live on Google Play in Canada, and after spending a little time with it, this is a decidedly free-to-play affair – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Folks who were worried this would be a simple rehash of SimCity Social (which we liked, btw) can put their fears to rest. The days of CityVille-style city-builders seem to have come and gone, and SimCity BuiltIt has crafted something a bit meatier in it’s place.

In fact, if it weren’t for the free-to-play trappings, I’d be pretty quick to call this SimCity Junior.

simcitybuildit3

Unlike a lot of other city builders, this one takes the city management elements of SimCity to heart, but in a simplified way. You’ll need to build enough water towers and power stations to supply your citizens with what they need. Parks will boost the population and happiness of the homes around it. Residents hate the idea of living next to factories and pollution. If you don’t have properly located fire departments, that town’s gonna BURN.

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