For the last week I have been playing Simcity Social and I can tell you it is a very cute game!
As the name suggest you build a city, this consists of houses, attractions, decorations, factories, farms, facilities and a trainstation. The underlying goal is to get as big a population as possible. When you build a house you just get x population for it. But if it is in the range of an attraction or decoration the house gets bigger population or even upgrades to the next level. Compare it to real life, bigger populations are near attractive areas, but in empty/non pretty area only a small population lives.
In the first picture you can see a single house with only 4 people in an area without any attractions and in the second picture you see a high rise in a very attractive area, it contains 660 population!
Most of the buildings you can place, except the houses and decorations, you can upgrade. To start an upgrade you have to spend some Collectables (more on this later) and then either Simoleons or Materials or both. To get simoleons you have to click on businesses or interact with buildings, this costs energy (1 energy is renewed every 3min), to gain materials you have to click on factories. Businesses and Factories give you simoleons/materials after a certain amount of time, depending on the building. Very typical of a free browser (facebook) game.
There is a balance between building up your population with houses and having businesses/factories to support this. The space you can build on is not unlimited and not without restrictions, for instance there is a river going through the land on which you cannot build.
There are also farms and a trainstation, these buildings you have to instruct (costs money) what to grow/get, after the time period has lapsed you get payout of money and/or materials. But with farms, if you are too late you goods can have withered!
I mentioned before you need collectables to pay for upgrades. You get them through interactions with buildings, every building has a menu like this:
The yellow button is an interaction, when you highlight you can see what sort of items that interaction can give you (it is not guaranteed, it is based on chance). Most of collectables you can also ask of friends, but it is good that you are not reliable on your friends but can keep yourself busy with the game.
So the game is Simcity Social, what makes it social? The main thing is that you can visit your friends cities and do friendly or evil interactions there and to gain collectables, simoleons and xp. Friendly interactions give you different items than Evil interactions. Another social aspect is when you build business or facilities, you need a staff to manage it, you have to ask your friends to staff your places.
Besides the goal to get as much population as possible, you also have quests (chapters), that give you simoleons/xp/materials as rewards. You don’t HAVE to do them but they are handy for quick inputs of resources.
All in all, very cute game that is not hard to play and can keep you entertained, it is less social than other games in that way that you are not waiting all the time for friends to send you resources/etc.