NINTENDO DS REVIEW: THE URBZ: SIMS IN THE CITY
EA struck gold with the release of the Sims. The game has spawned several expansion packs and console ports. The game has been used in TV shows and even TV ads. There is no doubt that there is a huge following for the series. The Urbz takes the game in a whole new direction following the trend where it's cool to want street cred. It really is no surprise that the game would follow the wave of shows like Pimp My Ride and other shows that illustrate how cool it is to be hip. While the game is a spin off of the Sims, it really is a different game. For those who are fans of the series they may find it hard to get used to the new way the game unfolds. In the Urbz street cred means everything and everyday goals are secondary. Of course depending on your choices and answers to the questions when you create your character, the main important things will vary.

EA along with Griptonite really added a lot of extras to the DS version. It is a long game and for some that may be great news. It really plays the same as the other versions of the game. However, they did make use of the touch screen for controlling your inventory, goals and missions. As well it acts as a virtual PDA, which makes perfect sense. The touch screen is also used for some of the mini-games that will add some different experiences for fans of the game. The game allows you to roam about even when having to do certain tasks. You can explore while playing and that helps the game seem a bit more fun. You will spend a lot of time asking questions and trying to win friends and Xizzles. You will also spend a lot of time sleeping, eating and running to the bathroom. Hygiene is important. If you allow any of the bars go completely empty, you pass out. At times this can get old, yet the story unfolding while playing helps make the game more enjoyable.

I was expecting to see a scaled-down version of the game for the DS. Instead I was glad to find new missions and new mini-games and new features. The graphics are good and very clean but won't show off the DS power very much. The sound is okay. The music is fine but starts to fade in as the game goes on. The other voices are squeals from the girls and the occasional grunts from the guys in the game. It would have been nice to hear some real voices and words rather than the little samples. You will meet a ton of people who you will learn things from and have to impress them. You will soon learn each character's likes and dislikes so picking the right choice from the touch screen is really no challenge. A few plot twists help to keep it interesting as well. The game will take about 20-30 hours to beat and will change slightly if you create a new character and play the game again.

Being able to control some of the action on the touch screen is a nice feature and really comes in handy. I would have liked to see more things to do with the screen though. While the touch screen has the missions and goals on it, it will not save the info characters tell you. The text does not scroll and there is no way to go back and see it once it is displayed. You will need to pay attention and to be honest at times during the less exciting parts of the game; it's easy to forget important locations or objectives that were told to you. EA and Griptonite did a nice job on the DS version overall. It will not be everyone's cup of tea. However, those who enjoy this type of game will find it worth the price of the game. If you have not played the game before or any of the other Sims games, you may want to rent first.

Those who are fans should find it entertaining but a little less exciting than other games in the series. It has some interesting things to play around with. I especially liked the DNA splicing and the pets. Overall, I enjoyed the game. For me it's one of those games that you play for a while then save and go back to later.

Preview By Chris

Nintendo's new handheld system is not even released yet. However, that is not stopping Nintendo from trying to get big name companies to develop games for the new system. EA has signed on already adding some great titles to the system. It really was no surprise when they announced one of the games that will be available at the launch of the system would be The Urbz: Sims In The City. While the game is also slated for release on every other system, the DS version will be a little different. The last GBA version of the Sims did very well for Nintendo. Can the Urbz do the same for the DS system?

Slated for November, release info on the launch games is hard to come by. Of course this is no real surprise. It seems Nintendo loves to slowly leak the news, which makes our jobs harder to bring you early information. We have the basics and some screen shots so let's take a look. The new Sims for the DS will follow the last GBA version to a point. Players will take control of their favorite Sim and try and build up your reputation while trying to put an end to Daddy Bigbucks plans of overtaking the city of Miniopolis. One big difference will be the emphasis of the overall game. Players will take less time to worry about personal hygiene and more time on your personal life and building your reputation. Darius will be in the game to offer advice and to offer you some cool new "xizzles"; these are power-ups. Knowing when to use them will play a key role in the game. Also 140+ new objects will be available in the DS version. A personal skydiving machine and a sensory-deprivation tank are just a few of the cool new things you will have a chance to use.

The Urbz will also feature mini-games to earn beads needed to purchase the power-ups and add a little diversion from the main game. Players will meet up with several new species of pets and some will look rather strange. Players will also meet up with at least 7 new characters during the game. It sounds like the game is shaping up and Nintendo has mentioned that there will be a wireless function in the game. However, there is still no information about this feature. So for now just take a look at the DS version of the game and stay tuned for an update with a full list of game features and modes.

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System: DS
Dev: Griptonite Games
Pub: EA
Released: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
3.0