This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about.
A megapolis is a large string of adjacent, but not necessarily connected, metropolitan areas. It's used to describe huge urban areas of the world that hold more than 10 million people.
The Golden Banana, by way of example, is a megapolis that holds over 20 major Mediterranean coastal cities in its (no doubt potassium-rich) concrete grip.
Megapolis is a freemium world-builder for your iPhone and Android device in which you're tasked with making your dream cityscape. Is it any good? Let's find out.First Impressions
First impressions are so important for a game like Megapolis, because it's competing in a massively oversubscribed genre.
Happily, its cheery, breezy, carefree attitude is a delight from the moment you boot it up. The soundtrack is that classic lounge music that accompanied the best sims of the '90s, at once totally infectious and utterly forgettable.
I love the little details in the design of every building and plot of land you add to the landscape. One of the earliest you'll see is two little chaps running about loading crates into a lorry. When one of them knocks into a big stack of them and they start wobbling, the other hastily catches them.
These little routines are commonplace in Megapolis, and though they don't affect the gameplay whatsoever they imbue your virtual world with life.
The layout of the UI is equally thoughtful: large enough to be easily clickable and with enough information visible on-screen to see everything relevant at once, but not so cluttered as to obscure the field of play.
If only the little icons indicating that resources can be gathered were quite so thoughtfully designed. They're just a little too small - especially when they're out of view behind a tall building. This is one of the very few gripes I have with the game thus far.
All in all, I'm reminded of Sim City 2000 when I'm playing Megapolis, and that's a very good thing indeed.Day 3: Megacharm
I really can't get over how charming the gameworld in Megapolis is. I'm showing it to everyone who'll humour me: my friends, my girlfriend, her friends, Smelly Ned who rummages through the bins outside my building - everyone.
The moment-to-moment gameplay isn't quite as excitement-inducing, but it's nevertheless a strong effort.
On the surface this is your typical city-builder. You start out with nothing, then add residential and commercial areas, wait for actions to complete, make money, expand, then repeat.
However, there are a few more elements in play that give Megapolis a management flavour. Your population, energy levels, and water supply are all monitored in addition to how many Coins and Megabucks you have, so if you don't have enough juice to power that bowling alley you want then you're plum out of luck.
Unless you construct more buildings to raise your energy cap, that is. In adding this very simple mechanic the game encourages you to think ahead in terms of how you plan your cities. Megapolis isn't about building a city that just looks pretty - it has to serve a function too.Day 7: Skyscraper
I'm still really enjoying my time with Megapolis, and the experience keeps getting better.
As someone who doesn't have too many friends who like to play this type of game, the ability to send out buddy requests to strangers is a superb addition. Being rewarded daily for sending out invites to become buds is a great incentive to keep doing this, as are the items you're sent to complete large structures on the map.
The structures range from water works to beaches, and although at their most basic level they're just extra objectives to aim towards they contribute to a larger sense of purpose - a desire to expand your city by meeting targets and making money.
I've really enjoyed my time with Megapolis so far. It's quick to load and technically strong, deeper than the usual freemium builder, and it boasts good presentation and a keen eye for finding humour in everyday situations.
Megapolis provides a charming and laidback world to be a part of, but underneath its calm exterior lies more depth than you might expect.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.