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City Builder

by Andy Goergen - July 11, 2010, 12:13 pm EDT
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Featuring an interesting mix of puzzle styles, the end result is a fun, but not outstanding Wii puzzler.

City Builder plays as a hybrid of SimCity and Pipe Dream, and leans heavily towards the latter.  As you connect roads in a city grid, roads pop up on either side, helping you rack up high scores as you assemble a city block.  Each stage, or city, is broken down into three mini-stages: road development, water pipe distribution, and electrical wire set up.  As you lay out these three elements of the city, you will help build new buildings, level up existing buildings, and get bonuses by picking up packages at various points in the gameplay grid.

There are five continents, each with between twenty and forty cities, and you are required you to play through each of them before you can move on to the next continent.   Progressing further in the game will introduce you to new hazards, such as a bigfoot creature who will wander around, preventing you from building roads. As you encounter hazards, you will also find new items, such as a camera which scares away the bigfoot.  While these items are helpful, you can only get them by picking up packages, which may also hurt your score.  The game contains some bonus stages that are strangely not optional, and only exist to give you more chances to pick up packages, which might actually hurt you.

Rather than letting you place a piece of road anywhere you like, you are required to build the road from a starting point on one side of the grid to an ending point on another side of the grid, occasionally including a section in the middle that requires you intersect in a specific direction.  You have five different possible pieces to place, and if none of them are the one you want, a press of the A button refreshes them.  If you refresh them too often, the game "overheats" and makes you wait a few seconds before you can refresh again.  At first, this seems like a nice compromise to the fact that you can refresh to get the piece you want as often as you like, but after a while it feels like a pretty poor attempt to make the game, which is very easy, artificially more difficult.

Each city has a required number of houses you need to build, and most players won't have any problems reaching the goal.  Before you begin playing a city, you are presented with a choice of which type of building you want to build: residential, commercial, or industrial.   There doesn't seem to be any difference in what types of buildings you build, but each continent requires you have a certain number of cities with each type.

The graphics are fairly animated and colorful, but not particularly detailed.  The soundtrack features a few decent songs, but after a few hours, they will begin to get very repetitive.   Considering the few amounts of art assets and lack of visual variety, it's surprising that this game launched via retail channels; it feels very much like a game that would fit in nicely at a lower price on WiiWare.  The game doesn't support any sort of multiplayer, but does offer multiple profiles.

City Builder is a fun, but simple diversion.  Gamers looking for a new and different puzzle experience may find something here, but most will find that after a few hours, the lack of gameplay variety will become grating.  Those first few hours, however, are a fun experience, and worth checking out if you come across the game for a good price.


  • Interesting twist on Pipe Dream gameplay
  • No multiplayer
  • Not much depth

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Developer Collision Studios

Worldwide Releases

na: City Builder
Release Jun 08, 2010
PublisherVirtual Play Games

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