Hammer Sickle


SimCity Buildit – A Super Fun Game on Mobile

Simcity - Buildit

Unless you are the person who is living in a cave, I’m sure you’ve read about the the new EA game Simcity Buildit. I was pretty excited to hear the launch of the game. Even with some issues raised with the game, I was willing to give it a shot. First and foremost, the Simcity franchise has primarily been known to be about single-player games. I believe there were some other special versions added multiplayer aspects of the titles, but in the end these were all about the single-player. So, it initially came as a surprise to see the Simcity Buildit required a trustee internet connection to play.I’m very much against this type of scheme but do have a reliable internet connection in my home now, so from a connection standpoint I was at least able to play.

I began playing this past Saturday morning and at that time they were eight north American servers running all available to connect without queue timer. Upon connecting to server, I was taken to a tutorial that showed me the basics of the game and then I was off. I’m not going to lie this game is easy to get lost in. When it is working properly SimCity Buildit is seriously addicting as time flies by like nothing. Initially, I thought the graphics are pretty bland and I still may stand by that a bit, but the art direction is beautiful. The updated 3D is a much needed improvement in the series. And zooming in out of the street level to see everything in action is rather entertaining.  The look and feel is very much Sims.

Initially, I really enjoyed the background music, but over time it got kind of annoying hearing the same thing over and over. Luckily for much my play through, I was so in the game that I never bothered about listening a thing. The music adjusts automatically to what you’re doing. So, if you zoom in, it will be quieter hearing all of the unique sounds from each Sim and vehicle.

Starting a new game first requires you to select one of eight maps to build on. Each got has a very old number of regions. Each consisting of four plots to build cities upon. Here you may determine whether to make you game public or private and decide to play alone or invite friends. Each player will select their own plot to build their city wherein each city plot holds to a different resources available like the amount of coal to be mine. A single player may claim all plots as they wish, even build all of the cities on the map themselves. When a single player owns more than one city all the other cities owned by that player are paused while they work on the active city. Playing with additional players allows additional cities to be played in real time. I found it kind of neat that these cities can actually work together and things like pollution or crime from one may run up into the others.

Simcity Buildit is all about managing the essentials for modern-day living and you also have the option to download Simcity Buildit  no root required for Android for generating Simoleons. You’ve got to determine the proper amount of money to tax your residents so they remain happy while still being able to provide them with the amenities they desire such as water, power, and garbage disposal. On top of that, you’ve got to provide hospitals, fire stations, houses, police stations, and schools. All while maintaining a positive budget as a city rapidly expands itself.

While there are obvious flaws to begin with the server stability problems, in the end if you can get around those it’s really a super fun game. Reviewing this game made me want to go play it more.

4K Gaming on a Budget with Nvidia Shield

Nvidia Shield

The overall meaning of a game console is quickly expanding and today Nvidia jumped into the space with the new Nvidia Shield. You’ve got to give them credit, this is one interesting looking piece of hardware. It’s made of aluminum with a subtle green LED up front and an origami-like shape everywhere else. It really doesn’t look like anything else out there no matter which way you look at it. Tucked around back is a small vent to keep the Shield cool and even though there is a fan Nvidia claims it should be almost completely silent.

Out of the box it comes with 16 gigabytes of storage but you can expand this with a Micro SD card or an external drive using one of the USB 3 ports. There’s also HDMI 2.0 onboard which is important because the Shield fully supports 4K, something not even the PS4 and Xbox One can handle yet. As the first device to run Android TV in 4Kthis is mostly useful for watching video and playing Fifa 17 tricks but the entire interface runs at full resolution and it theoretically even supports 4K gaming. This is thanks to the Tegra X1 inside that sports an 8 core processor and 256 core Maxwell GPU which is a cut down version of Nvidia’sGTX 980 desktop card.

To put this in perspective the Tegra X1 is over twice as powerful as the Xbox 360 with six times the memory and needing only one-fifth the power. Putting this all together one of the first titles for the Shield is Crysis 3. Yeah, this thing is no joke. They showed an early multiplayer demo on stage so while this is a little way out the fact that it runs Crysis should say a lot. They also showed off several other games including Doom 3 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel which should be available at launch. Borderlands in particular is a good example of how the Shield matches up with consoles and other Android titles like Portal and Half-Life 2 are also going to be available.

On top of the native games Nvidia unveiled their Grid streaming service. There will be two monthly subscription tiers that give you access to a game library and an option to buy new titles like Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 the day they come out. As with all game streaming this is mostly based on your internet connection. To run games at 720p 30 FPS you’ll need between 5 and 15 megabits per second and if you want full 1080p at 60 FPS you’re going to need a beefy connection in the neighborhood of 15 to 50 megs down. If you’ve got decent internet the experience is pretty impressive, there’s a slight amount of lag but it’s much better than other options I’ve tried and should be good enough for all but the most twitchy of games.

Tying everything together is the Shield game controller. It’s a bit on the bulky side but it’s reasonably comfortable and supports audio if you want to listen to your game or media over headphones. This is going to be included with the Shield when it launches in May for $200 which is more expensive than other Android TV options but you are getting a lot here. So what do you guys think about the new Nvidia Shield?