SimCity still SimSh*tty ? Here are five fabulous, free-to-play options

SimCity issues
SimCity issues

For most folks, it seems, to attempt to play the brand new SimCity is still an exercise in futility. As of this writing, the long-awaited city-builder's persistent servers (required even for solo play) are still stuck in the mud. Worse (or better, depending on which end you're on) yet, Ars Technica reports that Amazon has altered its standard return policy on downloadable games from "nope, never" to "OK, but just this once." (Meanwhile, EA seems keen on doing no such thing.)

Worse even is that, according to Polygon, the publisher has ceased marketing for SimCity through its various partners. This is bad, people. And while you could continue to stare at the SimCity login screen all weekend, you could spend your precious game time actually building cities elsewhere ... and for free. With that, here are five free free-to-play avenues through which to build your very own mini metropolis. [Ed. Note: Click those big ol' game titles to play!]

SimCity Social

Unless you're willing to fire up SimCity 4--and, unless you have a compatible operating system/computer, good luck with that--this is probably the closest you'll get to the SimCity experience right this instant. If you can look past the egregious money-making machinations within, there's a brilliant social game to enjoy.


Say what you will of Zynga, but there's something to be said of a city-builder on Facebook that once welcomed over 100 million monthly players. Nowadays perhaps is a better time than any to get into the game, with all of the tuning done updates introduced since its launch in late 2010. Even if you're the cynical type, this could be an exercise in what not to do in a city-builder.

Leap Day

That the modern city is an organism is a common metaphor. This intriguing social game by Triple Town creator Spry Fox and Sparkypants Studios is the embodiment of that allegory, with its natural, flowing play loop and demand for collaboration. If you seek a thoughtful re-imagining of the city-builder, seek no more.


While it may not differ terribly from the leading competition on Facebook, Social Quantum's city-builder is undoubtedly the fairest social god game of them all. Plus, this gem syncs gameplay between Facebook and your iOS or Android devices. Name a SimCity game that can do that--oh, wait, you can't.

Pixel People

Last but most certainly not least is one of the iOS darlings of the month, LambdaMu Games's retro-style city management simulator. Aside from its adorable graphics, Pixel People sets itself apart with an interesting occupation system that plays a vital role in your journey toward crafting Utopia. What's better is that you can foster Utopia on the go--not so for SimCity.

Are you bummed about SimCity's major issues? Which of these games are most appealing? Add Comment.