It’s like Funzio read our minds. The makers of Crime City seem to have played Original Gangstaz and come to the same conclusions as we did in our review. Both Crime City and Original Gangstaz are crime-based freemium games in which the goal is to become the new Capone of the virtual realm. Original Gangstaz failed because it relied on a bland menu system in which attacking rival gang members or holding up a liquor store could be accomplished with a simple press of a button. Crime City replaces this menu system with a Farmville-esque map and a somewhat cute, yet lethal, avatar.
The game begins with your hood. This is a section of the city that you have declared yours. Here you can build various buildings, some of which are fronts for your illegal activites and will generate your income over time. Others are defensive and protect you from being robbed. Once you’ve ‘earned’ enough money, you can expand your hood so you have room for more buildings.
While you’re waiting for income to roll in, you can visit other sections of the city and complete jobs. A goal system accompanies you, inviting you to take on certain jobs in each part of the city. The goals start out rather easy and inexpensive. These early tasks act as a tutorial for small-time thugs, walking you through mugging non-player characters on the street or attacking rival players. Once you complete these early tasks, you are given more expensive jobs. These will require certain equipment, which you will need to purchase in order to complete.
Criminals in the city.
You can also choose to ignore the goal system and find your own path. Each section of the city has a limited number of jobs to complete, but once all the jobs have been finished, you are given a mastery over that area and the jobs begin again with higher payouts. This sectioning of the city map and mastery system help keep the game from becoming overwhelming. You can take on the world at your own pace.
While completing jobs can be fun, there are several flaws to the game that hold it back from becoming the new freemium king. First, the game requires you to use energy for each job you complete. After you’ve depleted all of your energy, you must wait several minutes before continuing on. Waiting has become a staple in freemium games as of late, but some games, like Tiny Tower, have included mini-games to keep time flowing and to keep you playing. Once we ran out of energy in Crime City, we were left with nothing to do but play something else.
The game also encourages you to build a mob of other players so you can grow stronger. Adding friends is as simple as entering in a friend code, but Crime City neglects to put in any social networking features to search for friends. A simple Twitter or Facebook integration would have been nice, so you could let everyone know you’re playing and invite others to join you.
Finally, it’s hard to overlook how similar Crime City is to Original Gangstaz. Sure, this game actually includes a tutorial, fun graphics, and a goal system to help players digest an otherwise overwhelming game, but many if not all of Crime City’s key features can be found in Original Gangstaz. Perhaps with a little more imagination, Crime City could be the king of freemium crime games.