Like someone enviously peering over into their neighbour's yard at builders fitting a new conservatory or laying crazy paving outside the French windows, the residents of SimCity must be ever-so-slightly jealous of their PC counterparts.

Anyone moving into iPhone-town will instantly feel that the grass is most definitely greener on SimCity PC. A decade ago I might have been convinced that controlling my sprawling urban utopia would have been easier on a touchscreen than my coffee-stained crumb-infected mouse, but now I find myself longing for that dirty mouse. Controls, as it were, keep SimCity down.

It also wouldn't be fair to lump the game's main bugbear solely on the shoulders of those who have coded this translation, either. The iPhone itself plays its part.

Nevertheless, SimCity is a heavyweight in a market currently dominated by light-bites. As in the original editions, you take the role of mayor, elected to manage a city from its founding days to urban boom.

The game remains a haven for control freaks across the globe because any Sims that move in are at your mercy: you control all their utilities, where they go to school, where they shop, where they drive and how they travel. Even long term goals, such as the general social direction your city will head in, are under your sphere of influence.

Should you let the military move into area, for instance, a degree of wealth and jobs will almost certainly follow, but so will a higher crime rate and a dependency on the base for future employment. Every decision comes with a trade-off. For example, just how should you power your people: cheap power stations or more expensive and less immediate greener methods?

Even in the decade that has passed since 3000's original release, its ability to balance the stresses associated with power with the sheer wonder of watching something you've created flourish or founder as the years pass remains untouched.

But the ease and immediacy of a plain old mouse and keyboard is much missed here. It's something that becomes painfully evident even during the game's extensive tutorial, where even placing a simple grid of roads becomes a fiddly affair.

As you might expect, laying down tarmac, electricity cables or water pipes is handled with the movement of your finger across the screen. Alternately, some handy icons also enable you to move the object or alter the space it takes up.

Unless your fingers are transparent or as thin as a hairline, it's easy to place things on the wrong part of the grid entirely, with much time being wasted endlessly re-positioning everything afterwards until your goal is reached.

It's like trying to pick up a pinhead while wearing a pair of mittens. It's not ideal, but until some kind of hardware revision that offers a new take on the touchscreen comes out, it's hard to imagine things getting any better.

It'd be incredibly unfair to write off this almost perfect copy of a gaming classic simply because controlling the thing is frustrating. It's important to point out that managing to bring what is basically SimCity 3000 on the PC to the iPhone largely uncompromised is a laudable technical achievement.

It is, perhaps, one of the finest examples of developers reaching for the sky on a handheld. But SimCity's frustrating nature means that anyone expecting the iPhone's touchscreen to offer any kind of advantage over a plain old mouse is going to be disappointed.