Developer: Purple Yonder
Genre(s): Casual, Construction & Management, Simulation
Platform: Oculus Quest 2 (also available on Oculus Quest)
Age Rating: Everyone / PEGI 3
Release Date: 12/05/22
A code was provided for review purposes
Games, where you manage a city and grow it to a booming metropolis, are nothing new. However, town simulation games in VR are a fairly new occurrence. Little Cities from newcomer, Purple Yonder, a husband and wife team, brings cozy systems management to the Oculus Quest 2. Little Cities tasks you with taking over an empty series of islands and building out the streets, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
Like most simulation games in the city management genre, you need to balance the growth of your city as well as infrastructure before overwhelming your city resources. Playing with controllers or hand-tracking in Quest 2, you have access to a wristwatch where you can see your basic stats. These stats include happiness level, zone needs, money per week, water and electricity, and level goals. Your right hand (although you may be able to change the dominant hand), guides the building of roadways, placement of zones, and special buildings. Another cool feature of playing in VR is being able to control your view from a far-out god perspective to a near-street-level camera. Moving your point of view is also easy by using the controllers or hand tracking to pan around the map.
Little Cities‘ design takes a clean minimalist approach. Each element, building, user-interface item, icon, etc. is vibrant in color and identifiable from across the island. The various islands you have at your disposal for designing your city contain special items and hazards that may create a new dynamic as you build. In one area I was limited to where I could place water towers due to a limited water table underground. Another map required me to place lines of trees to prevent sandstorms from causing issues with traffic. In yet another area simple things like placing cell towers around mountains or volcanoes needed to be taken into consideration.
I have played a lot of city simulation games, many of which require multiple levels of systems that ultimately cause more stress than necessary. Little Cities strips away those elements and keeps things simple. This isn’t to say there’s not a challenge to building out a vast cityscape, but ultimately Little Cities is more basic in the ruleset for building. If you are looking for something you can get lost in, Little Cities is a great place to be creative.
Getting Lost in the Zoning
Little Cities has a grid-based system. Building Zones require at least a 2×1 block of space. Residential zones can not be placed next to industrial zones for fear of people being upset. Commercial zones are a buffer between those two zones requiring you to actively make decisions on the placement of zones. Residents will require cell service, schools, recreational areas, and more to give citizens happy points. As you level up through building out your islands you will gain access to new building types and facilities like stadiums, aquariums, city halls, and more.
Sounds of the City
When playing on your island, zooming in and out, you will soon discover the vast array of sounds you will hear. You’ll hear a seagull coo, motorboats in the oceans, trucks building new skyscrapers, children playing on playgrounds, and more. The level of immersion in Little Cities isn’t unique to simulation games but in VR the experience is something else entirely. I truly felt like I was soaring among the clouds controlling the city from above but also enjoyed being street level and seeing my creation come to life.
If you crave a simple cozy game where you can create the city of your dreams, Little Cities will scratch that itch. The game has enough management aspects to it that will challenge you to create a thriving city but is simple enough for anyone to pick it up and play. If you are a Quest 2 owner, I would recommend purchasing Little Cities and creating island cities in VR.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can purchase Little Cities from the Oculus Store at the following link, here.
You can read our VR game reviews over at vrgamecritic.