TeamLava Launches City-Building App, City Story, on the iPhone

City StoryThe folks at TeamLava are expanding their repertoire of social iDevice titles with the recent launch of their new city-builder, City Story, for both the iPhone and iPad.

Adapting many of the mechanics found it the developer’s popular Farm Story application, City Story also resembles its Facebook counterparts. But despite being quite similar to games like Playdom’s Social City, City Story feels like it has even greater social potential than some Facebook games. It has succeeded so far on those merits, being the current #2 app on Apple’s top free iPad app list, and #5 for the iPhone. All the same, it’s far from a perfect game, with some unfortunate issues stemming from a very low progression curve.

Like all city-builders, the object of the game is to create a thriving, bustling city. The core game play is no different than any other social version, save being on a mobile device. The success of one’s city is broken up into two major elements: Population and Happiness.

These two statistics translate into three major types of structures that can be created: residences, businesses, and decorations. As one would expect, residences build up one’s populace. The higher the population, the more happiness is required, which comes from businesses like schools, cafes, and shops, as well as decorative elements such as parks and roads. Larger, more effective buildings will also become available as players level up.

BusinessesThe big issue with this population vs happiness mechanic, however, is there does not appear to be any real reason to concern oneself with either stat. It is possible that one would be unable to increase population should happiness be too low, but due to a very low difficulty/progression curve, the issue never presented itself. Also, once a building is placed, its value appears to be set, with no forward effect. In Social City, every house continually produced more population while businesses produced small amounts of income. However, the former could not be done without enough happiness. That does not appear to be the case here.

In City Story all revenue stems from contracts, fulfilled at factory structures, that take a period of time (a few minutes to a few days) to complete and will expire if not “harvested,” so to speak, after they finish. Moreover, as one levels up, more factories will be available for construction and better, more lucrative, contracts as well.

Despite the importance of revenue in the game, it’s almost pointless early on. When starting out, players are given a moderate amount of land in which to build upon, as well as an almost absurd amount of starting money. This suggests a progression problem. In less than 15 minutes or so, it was possible to fill the entire virtual space with structures and décor and still make it look quite good. At that point, there was nothing more to really strive for.

City StoryThis potential flaw is mitigated slightly by unlocking expansions, but by then, starting money is more or less gone, and factory income will take some time, leaving users with the very little to do.

Eventually, the players will only be able to expand with virtual currency or the use of in-game money and a set number of neighbors. Luckily, neighbors aren’t hard to come by in City Story, as players can interact with the whole of the community, and after creating a Storm8 ID, can add any other players as neighbors.

Of course, if players don’t wish to add random people as neighbors, the social features of City Story still shine, for they can visit any other person’s city and help them out by cleaning up to five buildings a day (10 if they are a neighbor). For the player being helped out, they will receive a claimable bonus to income and experience, Additionally, helping others out will also earn the user Star Ratings.

SocialLike in Farm Story, when players visit the social tab of the game, a list of random individuals appear that can be visited. The higher one’s Star Rating, the higher the chance that they will appear first in that list, effectively improving one’s growth in the game. In addition to this, players can also send messages and comment on each others’ walls within the app.

As if there were not enough social elements to City Story already, the game also has Facebook Connect integrated into it. With it, users can take photographs of their and other users’ cities and not only save them to their iDevice, but post them to the social network as well.

Overall, City Story is not a bad game, with a design that’s quite visually satisfying when one builds up their city. Unfortunately, it is so easy to progress early on that it’s easy to feel that the game’s possibilities have been prematurely exhausted. Honestly, it just gets boring once the space is full, and while the social features of the app are phenomenal, we wonder whether or not that will be enough.

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Leave a Reply

93 Responses to “TeamLava Launches City-Building App, City Story, on the iPhone”

  1. Miguel Estrada says:

    Hi, at first i was thinking twice about gettin the app and now i cant seem to put it down, real good game and a little addicting, would recomend to alot of ppl

  2. a11jag says:

    Add me, my id is: a11jag

  3. Cara H says:

    Plz could you tell me what to do. I kept having problems with a bug or something in the app. It wouldn’t refresh when I went home. Sometimes it would get stuck on processing when I invited a player. I reinstalled about 12 or 14 times. I reported the problem on the app @ bottom of page. The last time I reinstalled the game quit working altogether . It shows that it has installed, but nothing comes up except the screen shot at the beginning. I really like the game & would like to continue to play it. If you could help me I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  4. EBeck says:

    ADD ME: my ID is ebeck

  5. Reed McNeely says:

    This game is a rip off. It is free to download but many of the buildings you “buy” cost real $ and are billed to your itunes account. My 10 year old downloaded the game and before I realized what was happening I had over 100.00 in charges on my credit card. This is my first and last experience with itunes.

  6. Ali says:

    Pls add me Id: stipps

  7. Lezzyminell says:

    Add me! lezzyminell

  8. plazma says:

    add me lxk1231

  9. rororororo says:


  10. Raven says:

    Pls add me xixraven ,thx!

  11. joe says:

    add me abadlancer

  12. Austin says:

    To McNeely, with all due respect. You are required a password to use with iTunes so that problems like yours don’t occur. I love this game and would assume it’s only your fault for letting your 10year old child loose essentially with your credit card. You cannot possibly complain aboutthis game because of your slight stupidity. -Austin. P.S. City Story kicks butt I’m lvl 23 and can’t stop playing it saving up for an Eiffel tower!

  13. Nancy says:

    Add me: ninjaloser33

  14. hayden says:

    add me my id is chiba20

  15. Rob says:

    add me rob_0421

  16. Corey says:

    I didn’t notice the inapp purchase option, and rushed to shut that off on my sons iPad – it keeps you logged in for a while after updates and purchases- perfect time for a four year old to go shopping.

    I think the prices for upgrades are designed specifically to catch people off guard. The real money costs are waaaaay out to lunch for ancideo game.

    Annoyed that you can’t reset the game to start over.

  17. youri says:

    add me: Youritje1

  18. a11jag says:

    i like this game please me my friend my id is: A11jag

  19. Grouc says:

    Add me:ledine

  20. Grouc says:

    Add me plz:ledine

  21. vincentwong128 says:

    Add me plz:vincentwong128

  22. Mad says:

    How do you transfer from 3Gs to 4? Or even to my Ipad????

  23. Jen says:

    Really good game, it’s very addicting.
    One thing though, I wish it lets us put up our own pic or image in our profile.
    it has no charateristic other than male or female.
    Please consider this fact.

  24. minicoops1110 says:

    Add Me on City Story and receive one gift a day

    Add; Minicoops1110


  25. xxinsanityxx says:

    great gamee add mee XxinsanityxX

  26. Ain says:

    Add me: AlinFabian

  27. wen says:


  28. Skinny says:

    I love this game ID is : skinny_macintosh

  29. Chris says:

    Reed Neeley is correct. City Story is a scam. My nine year old managed to generate $220 in charges last night. He was never prompted for a password and made no implicit actions that indicated money would be spent. My wife and I walked through the app with him this evening. We did no actions that indicated they would cost money. Another $4.99 charged. There is a screen where you can explicitly spend money to buy in game cash. We never touched that.

  30. Larsomat says:


  31. Kimi says:

    Add me please.

    My ID = KimiRotifera

  32. Jeremy says:

    A scam? People u need to take responsibility for a lack of knowledge that caused u to be bit in the butt. I suggest before u hand a phone to a child u learn the abilities of it.
    I’d never allow a 9 or 10 yr old to ‘have at it’ on a $500+ Device.
    I also would like to demand that u browse to the settings app on ur device and DISABLE IN-APP PURCHASES!!!!

  33. Jeremy says:

    Ps. Please add me. I am hooked n play all night at work lol

  34. Toni says:

    Add me I play often Id= stupiidwett

  35. James Moynihan says:

    This scam web site offers nothing for the deceptive and probably illegal charges. I will pursue all avenues available to combat the fraud that occured to my family on this site, as no password was required to be entered before charges were made to my account by my 11-year old daughter. The trust lost in the itunes applications will not be returned. I guess it’s good to know that swindling young children can really pay off; enjoy your slight stupidity in thinking that this is a service that benefits anyone for the money charged.

  36. shin says:

    plz add me 7anafq

  37. Pascal Barth says:

    I have experienced the same issues with the charges. My 9 year old was able to download the game for free without a password and next thing we know we have a $100 charge on our credit card. There are no phone numbers to contact anyone to correct this unauthorized charge. If anyone has any info on how to go about this and how to contact please post up. Otherwise legal action such as a class action law suite will have to be put in place to put a stop on this. There are thousands of kids that have I-Touches and they should be setup in such a fashion to where these in app purchases are disabled from the factory so you don’t have to find out about it the hard way.

  38. Kejongski says:

    Its a great game.. Dont need to spend a single cent to build a proper city..

    Add me: KejongSki

  39. Oldenzaal says:

    Add me: bennie1980

  40. TeamLava Adds Restaurants to its Story Collection says:

    [...] game series, this free-to-play game attempts to live up to the reputation of its predecessors, City Story and Farm [...]

  41. david says:

    Farm Story™, 900 Gems, Seller: TeamLava, LLC

    I am another victim for this unauthorized charge. $191.

    I will fight and remove Farm Story from my iphone.

  42. Is says:

    Add me: Isss

  43. OiBoy says:

    That’s funny, I got prompted “are you sure you want to buy blah for $4.98?” and had to confirm. Stupid fucking parents blaming everyone except their own oversight. All idevices with app store have always had the ability to disable In app purchases. Perhaps you fools either A) Shouldn’t have bred more vacuous people into this world, or B) Learn to use the device before allowing aCHILD to use it. There’s a reason my 10 year old daughter has no iPhone, kids don’t know any better. It’s not Apple nor the developers faults, it’s you own faults. Take responsibility morons.

  44. OiBoy says:

    Oh and add me, my name is my 

  45. Drenica_e_Kuqe says:

    nice game =)

    add me

    id: Drenica_e_Kuqe

    gifts and cleaning every dayyyyyyy

  46. Karen says:

    If you go to the settings in your game it tells you how to disable in app purchases. I have always been prompted as well and don’t understand how you are being charged so much without knowing in order to spend money in city story you have to buy the gems and you are prompted to enter iTunes password so to get a building that requires gems to purchase you would have to them and you would know. My 10 year old has the touch and if he try to buy something he is always asked for the password which I only know and have to enter maybe you should try that. Works for me.

  47. kat says:

    some of the beef i have with this game is when ur factory is finished making a product and u click to collect and bam…it takes ur hard earned dollars. the screen comes up where u can pay 4 dollars for completing early but my job is already completed!!!! so why does this screen come up and take my money? it has happened like 3-4 times. and the refresh sometimes takes forever. i see where ppl have cleaned my city…and i cant refresh anything for a long time. and finally, i always have problems with the server logging me out. i dont have this problem with farm story…just city story. and yes i am addicted but im ready to delete city story…because its becoming very frustrating.

  48. No Vacation says:

    Beware!!!!!!!!! It can be a rip off if in the wrong hands.

    with 2 buttons and no pass-word it can cost you hundreds of dollors.

  49. Ravenkid says:

    How do I reset my game progress, I wanna startover pls anyone let me know thx

  50. mahir says:

    add me: mahirt

  51. magda says:

    Hi, did you take any chance to contact iTunes and verify invoices for City Story? I had let my son to download FREE game and entered a password to do so (obligatory even for free games what is quite strange). A sam him playing and we were never asked to confirm any purchase and price was never shown. I received an invoice for 300$ and my creit card is already blocked by iTunes. I am so shocked and need any help from you. Did you have any responses for iTunes or tried to challenge invoices? Thx

  52. unicornlolz says:

    add me: unicornlolz

  53. Edwin says:

    Please add me: SMTurtle

  54. Kim says:

    Someone please explain to me how to transfer my farm story and city story to my new iphone? I need help on this I know my Id but I don’t know my uid thing..

  55. aoweL says:

    Please add me : aowel

  56. Scott says:

    I’m having the same problem. Does anyone know how to transfer this from iPod touch to iPhone 4 without losing your current game save?? Any help would be appreciated

  57. Michael Crabtree says:

    For all you people that are haveing trouble getting your game switched from a 3Gs to I4. All you have to do is start a new game on the new device (but don’t use the one you had before) then contact TeamLava by email and tell them your old City Story name and Storm I.D. that you want switched to your new device. Give them the new City Story name and Storm I.D. that you started and they will switch it over for you. My wife and I both had to do this when we got the New Iphone 4. On a second note: all you guys that are having problems with in app purchase’s There is a setting on all the devices to turn OFF all in app purchase’s (on the Iphone,Itouch,Ipad)

  58. Michael Crabtree says:

    in reference to the In App purchase’s. There is ALWAYS a prompt for a password. if you or your children are not being asked for one. Maybe you should check and make sure your settings on your Itunes account doesn’t have your password saved. Because if it does then it will not ask for one. Also any saved passwords for any type of account. It may be easier to have it saved, but it can also be costly. Technology can make our lives easier but we must also be responsable. we can’t always blame others. Enjoy the game of CITY STORY!!! My wife and I play it every day. (even though she is ahead of me in levels)

  59. More City-Building for iDevices with Trade Nations says:

    [...] Facebook, their mobile, social counterparts have been comparatively less so. However, games such as City Story or We City have typically been of the modern era, so Juju Play (Amplified Games appears to be the [...]

  60. bmasun says:

    Please ADD me and i will clean and give you very nice presents.

    ID= bmasun

  61. TeamLava Expands its iDevice Story Franchise Once Again says:

    [...] their latest iPhone and iPad release, Bakery Story. Joining the likes of predecessors Restaurant, City, and Farm Story, this new free-to-play application couples familiar game play with the Baking Life [...]

  62. sethiscool says:

    add me : sethiscool

  63. logan says:

    I have a droid incredible and I already have farm story, bakery story, and restaurant story downloaded and i love them!! But I can’t find city story on the market… I would love to be able to play city story!

  64. remedy says:

    I have had great issues with this game also.. Not a child either playing it. Mine did prompt me for an password to buy but once i got to looking at my itunes bill everytime i bought 9.99 worth of citybucks it charged me the amount twice..I like the game but caution all who play it to keep very close track of your account.

  65. Pepeg says:

    Add me: pepeg

  66. Anna says:

    I can’t buy gems! The button lights up but doesn’t do anything else.

  67. Chris says:


  68. Stephine says:

    Anyone know how to start a new city, I’ve tried deleting the current city story from my phone but when I download it again it has the same account name and Storm ID? I would like a whole new account along with a new city name and Storm ID? Thanks.

  69. SEACREST says:

    I made the best city ever.
    Come on by and check it out!

  70. Kitty says:

    Add me kittyzkrazy thanks

  71. Deena says:

    I also had my sone “accidently put $100 charge on my phone. I didn’t know about the in app restriction. I do now. i called apple and they were VERY nice. they walked me through on how to email them with the complaint and within a day I had received a response they looked into it and even though the charge went through my bank my money was back in the bank the next day. Apple said they were glad to help this ONE time as a courtesy and told me how to block in app purchases.

  72. Jasmin says:

    Anyone know to to start over in this game.? Cause I reinstalled it plenty of times and it doesnt work., i also deleted the app and tried to download it again and i keep going to my old town..Any Suggestions?

  73. Altair2010 says:

    Add me: Altair 2010

  74. Altair2010 says:

    Add me: altair2010

  75. Sören says:


    habe ein Problem hab mir ein neues Iphone gekauft aber weiß nicht wie ich meine alten Spielstände in mein neues Farm Story bekomme war schon auf einem hohen level und nun alles weg oder wie hab bei der app die help page angeguckt aber konnte nicht diese “40 stellige” Nummer herausfinden

    Bitte schnelle Hilfe

  76. Alex says:

    You parents are crazy!!! Why don’t you pay attention to what’s going on.I hope you do fight all the charges and pay triple for not being smart enough to know what your kids are doing!! Stop your whining! We DON’T CARE!!!!

  77. NOtasdumbasyou says:

    Dear Parents,

    YOu are idiots!
    A. Pay attention to your kids
    B. Your kids should not be on any kind of social game…you dont know what creeps are out there
    C. You can block the feature that lets you buy things from games in iphone/ipad/ipod settings

  78. jhaycee says:

    add me up jhaycee28

  79. Chuck says:

    They attempted to rip me off as well. For all you morons who don’t think is is guess what? Apple reversed my charges. Apparantly the scam is over. Anyone who gets this deceptive rip off dial 1800-myiphone and complain. It looks like they had enough of these scam artists. Now all you people jerking off over this game and insulting honest people who were deceived can go back to masturbating over this. get a real life you idiots.

  80. Anthony says:

    You can’t ever get to level 97 legitimately. It just isn’t possible. Let’s do the math… At over 9 million xp to get from 96 to 97 you would have to build 1800 Office Towers or 450 Statue of Liberty towers. That would be 3,600,000,000 coins either way. Earning 500,000 coins per day (not sure how, but just for the sake of argument…) that would take 7200 days to achieve. Just under 20 years!!! So don’t anyone tell me it is possible.

    If they didn’t want to wait the 20 years, then I suppose they could always buy the coins if they wanted to. It would take 9000 blocks of 400,000 coins costing 100 bucks each to get to the required amount of coins to purchase enough towers to get to that level. If you paid cash for those bucks and converted them into coins, then it would cost $100 real dollars for every 2,320,000 coins. So 1552 purchases of $100 per pop equals $155,200 in real money to get from level 96 to 97. NOBODY is going to spend that kind of money!! They absolutely cheated or exploited some sort of flaw in the software or work for Team Lava to get to that level. They might as well have put a sign up that says “That’s it! You are done!” instead.

    I think there should have been some sort of bonus for getting to level 96 if that is going to be the end. Instead I got nothing but the usual coins for the advance. Talk about a rip off…

    The game just isn’t fun anymore after you hit the ceiling of the levels. It’s not like there is any advantage to leveling up anyway. Your factories don’t produce more coins or anything. There should be some sort of item bonus for getting to the next level and a BIG bonus for reaching the top. At level 96 all I have are a bunch of factories and just as much money making power as someone on level 65. There isn’t really any difference going forward once you get all your factories.

  81. Natasha says:

    Can you reset these games? My daughter started a few, now that she knows how to play she would like to reset them. TY

  82. Pleasantville says:

    You can’t reset the game. However, you can click on “edit,” select the move or sell option, & click on the building, roads, parks, & other terrain. To inventory the items: select move & click on the “lock” icon. I would recommend this over “selling” your existing items. The resale value is very, very low.

  83. sara says:

    i need it now

  84. David.V.H says:

    Up to level 86. Have not spent any money on this game. Two things: Can’t place items from my inventory into certain empty spaces, no idea why, just won’t let me. Anyone else had this problem? Secondly, what’s the deal with the building materials? No idea what we are supposed to be doing with them. ID is DVH2 if anyone wants to check out my pad, Ferntree Gully.

  85. Stewart says:

    I am trying to expand my city but it says 1 more neighbour
    Required but I don’t know what to do ? Can anyone help

  86. David.V.H says:

    Stuart- You get neighbors by going to the main menu, then go to social, then go to community and visit someone else’s town. There you can write on their wall and ask to be your neighbor. Make sure you tell them your storm id. It’s then up to them to accept.

  87. Jason says:

    I trying to play city story my city name is bankers city ID STORM jason5hotmailcom I was reported but it’s deadline is past it’s is July 14 but I should be back on today July 14 01:19 it’s past help plz I want to fix my city and talk to friends thank you if you do it plz

  88. Jason says:

    Hello help plz I love playing

  89. Jason says:

    Still not working plz help my game remember my name bankers city jason5hotmailcom that’s my storm

  90. Bella says:

    Add me@ restaurant story everyone! bellaszoo

  91. J says:

    Add me, it’s TempTashunz

  92. Outlaw844 says:

    Add me please need is Outlaw844

  93. nathy78 says:

    add me nathy

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