GBA REVIEW: THE URBZ: SIMS IN THE CITY

Sometimes bigger and better is the best that you can hope for. Compared to last year's, The Sim: Busting Out, this year's version, The Urbz: Sims in the City is not what you would call new or original - it's a continuation of the series - although it's been upgraded to make it bigger and better.

The Urbz is sequel that takes place in an urban environment. Taking control of one character at a time the object of the game is to live a virtual life where you micromanage everyday tasks such eating, sleeping and personal hygiene along with loftier ambitions such as a career, relationship and your standing in the community.

Everything that you do will have an effect on your virtual life. Not in the way of a RPG, this is a sim. For instance, if you fail to eat properly your health will suffer. If you don't show up for work you're liable to get fired.

This is one huge game. Granted, a lot of "make work" tasks manage to pad it out and they can get annoying after a while, but the actual size of the city is impressive. Exploring the city and performing various tasks will unlock new areas. There are 25 locations in all which can take you weeks to explore and exploit.

If there is an actual point to the game, it's to gain as much credibility as possible in addition to stopping Daddy Bigbucks from taking over the city of Miniopolis. This gives us some direction in our virtual life which can almost make the micromanagement seem worthwhile. Remember I said "almost."

The way to gain credibility is to befriend the different groups that dwell in the various regions. There are the Nerdies, Streeties, Richies and Atries. Approach them and have a conversation. Keep things on the positive side and you'll be asked to perform some tasks which will open up new areas of the game and give you more street cred.

Money earned in the game from work or through tasks can be used to purchase goodies such as furnishings for your pad. You can decorate your place with different styles of couches, chairs, pictures, carpets, colors and patterns. There are more than 120 objects to collect and they can be traded with friends via the Link cable. As an added incentive to keep you going there are eight work-related mini-games that have to be unlocked. These can be played with four players or alone in the solo mode.

One of the main things you will have to rely on is the interface. This is where all your choices, options, actions and decisions will be made. Thankfully it's large and easy to access. The in-game graphics are good but for the most part, stationary. If The Sims appeared on the PSX this is what I would expect it to look like.

There is no doubt that The Urbz will please Sims fans but keep in mind this is still the GBA and as such you will only get a fraction of the replay value as that of the console version. Still, it's one big game that rivals many RPGs in size

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