Miami Nights: Singles in City Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Miami Nights: Singles in City Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Find yourself in Miami!

It is readily apparent from the moment that you begin Miami Nights: Singles in the City that it was designed to be like the Sims. When you first start up the game, you get to pick a gender and then proceed to customize your body, face, clothes; nearly everything you could customize in The Sims, you can customize here. And it doesn’t hurt that the visual style even resembles The Sims, but more on that later.

Miami Nights: Singles in City screenshot

Once you select your looks, then you can pick from three career goals: actor, model or singer. After you select this goal, then it is your character’s purpose to achieve these goals by performing certain tasks, working on certain skills, and meeting certain people. Sort of like the Sims, right?

But for all it’s similarities to the Sims franchise, there are a few key differences in Miami Nights: Singles in the City. First off, the game is geared toward a more “mature” audience. One of the main focuses of the game is getting involved in relationships and meeting people. However, most people in the game, be they opposite sex or same sex, seem to have an “interest” in you. In fact, one of the first characters I met asked me if I wanted to get “freaky” with him. Yeah, it sort of creeped me out too. And then I took my female character out for a stroll on the beach and received a similar proposition from a girl on the beach (although thankfully she didn’t want to do anything in public). So it’s pretty obvious from the get-go that this game should not be played by children. Its teen rating is well-deserved, and I am frankly surprised that this title doesn’t have a mature rating.

But once you get past all of the romantic inclinations of nearly every other character, you have to start doing things. This is another way that this game separates itself from the Sims franchise. Instead of having to shower every day, go to work every day, and then try to decide how to spend your precious evening hours, in Miami Nights: Singles in the City you are pretty much allowed to do whatever you want, with almost no consequences. You can go into work whenever you want and then just work for an hour or so to make your rent money plus a little extra. You don’t have to shower for a week, and you don’t have to use the bathroom for an even longer period then that. And somehow, your “sex appeal” bar will stay high, as long as you do your hair before you leave the house. But I suppose that these unrealistic aspects of the game allow you to focus on the game’s main component: the social life.

Miami Nights: Singles in City screenshot

Every once and a while you will get text updates and phone calls from friends who are having a party or meeting up at a club, and you’ll have to go. You’ll meet people, talk to them, flirt with them, and maybe even have a few drinks. And the good news is that most people will be your BFF in about 30 seconds (the trick is to get them a lot of alcohol and complement them three times). Then once you befriend certain people, you’ll be doing what is commonly known as “social networking” and then you’re off to finding your dream career. This, in addition to your various romantic inclinations, is the center of the game, and it makes for some pretty boring gameplay.

Miami Nights: Singles in City screenshot

Because the base of the game is focused on talking to people, you would think that there would be lots of topics is your repertoire to talk about, but it seems all you care about is fashion, vitamins, and politics (a strange combination, I’ll be honest). And on top of that, you can’t even decide what you say. Once you choose a topic, you character will make various hand and face gestures, and you know whether the person you’re talking to likes it or not. If they like it, you’ll get some star points. If not, then your relationship will stay the same.

Miami Nights: Singles in City screenshot

As I mentioned before, however, it is not hard to get people to be your best friend forever. All it really takes is a few commands to either drink or dance, and some compliments, and you’ve got the world at your feet. This really makes the social networking feature of the game very predictable, and as a result, very boring. Talking to people is a lifeless chore that has to be done if you want to advance. It’s sort of ironic that going to work in this game (which requires you to play a mini-game) is more interesting then going out with friends and meeting people. And unfortunately, the game doesn’t get much deeper then that. Once you talk to the right people, it seems that your success in your chosen career is assured, and you’ve completed the game.

Visually, this game looks pretty bad. The graphics remind me some of the earliest DS titles that honestly looked worse than Game Boy Advance titles. The people are all made of oddly-shaped polygons, and limbs frequently disappear or go through objects. The environments don’t look as bad as the people and feature some nice texturing, but they really aren’t enough to save this game from having an overall poor look to it.

The sound in this game isn’t so bad and features a number of highly generic tunes that accompany different situations and locations. The tunes are definitely not anything you would want to hear again, but I’m just happy that there’s no 10-second looping going on. There are absolutely no sound effects or voiceovers in this game, and I can’t really tell you whether that is good or bad. The sound may not be the best thing you’ve ever heard, but it doesn’t get on your nerves right away either, so that is at least something.

Overall, this game makes a poor attempt to put a different spin on a franchise that is already pretty much perfect. The various Sims games have developed a formula that really works. It is engaging, realistic, and never boring. And all of the things that The Sims is, Miami Nights: Singles in the City just isn’t. It is repetitive and boring, and just can’t deliver in the way that fans of sim-style gameplay could appreciate. Plus the characters are a little too creepy for my tastes. Miami Nights: Singles in the City seems like a title that is best left on the shelf or swapped out in favor of one of the many Sims itineration that are available now.

Poorly constructed people. Environments are passable. 2.0 Control
Touch screen mechanics work poorly, which is surprising because most DS games at least have the touch functionality right. But the button pressing and menu selection work well enough. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is generic, but at least not repetitive. No voiceovers at all. 2.5

Play Value
If it weren’t for the crushing sameness of every social encounter and some of the more unbelievable facets of the game, it might have stood a chance….but as it is it’s just boring.

2.1 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Choose your gender, name, and star sign, and add unique features including skin, hairstyle, outfit, and body type. Define your character by 20+ stats, including sex appeal, humor, culture, popularity, charisma, kindness, fitness, hygiene, and criminality
  • Customize your home with furniture, decorations, and items.
  • Select one of three ways to succeed – top model, singer or actor!
  • Choose how you want to play! You are free to do whatever you want, whether it’s watching TV, playing games, buying clothes or taking care of yourself
  • More then 160 different characters to meet, each with their own stats. You can talk to them, flirt, give them a present, as well as assault them and steal from them

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