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Taxlandia, A review
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Download it here, if you really want to.

Can you create a better future for your happy digital European Millennial people?

Taxlandia is a rather shameless SimCity knockoff made by the European Union (yes, really). The graphics and music are a decent effort, considering it's a game made by a loose partnership of European nations, but unfortunately, the game experience falls flat. Unlike the SimCity games, where you can design pretty much anything you can dream of, there's very little room for creativity in Taxlandia. All you can do is set tax rates, adjust funding levels, and build things in predetermined locations. You can upgrade an existing apartment or factory, but you can't build a new apartment or factory on vacant land! Once you've built all the major projects in the game without bankrupting your cute little European nation, there's not much else to do.

The game stops being exciting when your nation is no longer teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Compared to SimCity, the game is intended more as an educational tool. While the built-in glossary is nice, the game doesn't teach you much. The game demonstrates the economic theory that if tax rates were set to 0% or 100%, the government would earn no tax revenue, either because there would be no taxation (0% of anything is 0!) or because if taxes were too high, nobody would have any incentive to work (since the government would take everything you earn, and most commerce would move to the black market). At the beginning of the game, you'll learn that the previous administration has left your country without any funds, and you'll need to find a way to get out of the hole - and fast! To maximize tax revenue, you'll need to set tax rates toward the lower end of the spectrum (30% worked well to revitalize my bankrupt government, but in later years I reduced tax rates to stimulate the economy). Basic tax policy is about the only thing the game teaches. Beyond that, the game has issues. Serious issues.

This game's definition of a "crisis" is "making sure the percentages add up to 100% when allocating funds."

Even though it's designed as an educational tool, the game doesn't acknowledge the absurdities of SimCity's all-powerful ruler playing the role of both mayor and business oligarch (though you don't get to pinch-hit for the Almighty this time - there's a scenario where you react to a small natural disaster, but you don't get to unleash them on your own land). While government certainly plays a role in economic development, especially when big projects are concerned, most governments aren't going to be responsible for renovating a supermarket - with the possible exception of some Communist countries, that's something the private sector would do. That's not the only way the game takes great liberties with realism. Expanding an apartment complex will automatically increase your city's population by the thousands - you just spend the money and people automatically move in! These people also won't move away when things go bad - although you could lose your job as Prime Minister if you run out of money.

The cops will appreciate the new coffee machine and the spiffy desks you bought from IKEA, but upgrading the police station won't actually have a measurable effect on crime rates.

It's also strange that lowering taxes seems to be the only way to reduce crime rates. While lowering taxes will spur economic growth, and increasing economic opportunity is one of the best ways to fight crime, there are lots of other factors that affect crime - education, policing, and health, not to mention countless other things that can't easily be reflected in a city simulation game. And speaking of education, upgrading schools doesn't really help you much in this game. I guess education is a waste of money and you should just play this game instead.

In this brave new world, planting trees requires a crane, some scaffolding, some burly foreign laborers, and a whole lot of waiting.

The game's interface is annoying as well - a long, unskippable animation plays every time you build something, and I can guarantee you that you'll soon grow tired of seeing a massive crane come in to build... a few trees.

Also, all the buildings look the same. This will never cause any problems.

Surely a game this good wouldn't have any typos in it.

Taxlandia has potential, but in its current state, any SimCity game is more fun to play - and more interesting as an educational tool.
Edited by: Bibby , Nov 28th, 2017 @ 10:44 pm
Course clear! You got a card.
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