“ Manufacturer: Nintendo / Genre: Strategy / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / PEGI Age Rating: Age 12+ / Max. Number Of Players: 1 / Memory Support: With Memory Support / Control Elements: Gamepad / ESRB Descriptor: Mild Violence / ESRB Descriptor: Suggestive Themes / ESRB Descriptor: Crude Humor / Release Date: Q4, 2004 „
Whilst this game is based on the traditional sims game, whereby you are responsible for every aspect of the day to day life of your alter ego, there is another aspect in that you have an overall objective to complete via a series of numerous mini missions.
You've just lost your dead end job as a cleaner and in an effort to get it back you end up in even more trouble. You are sent to jail in fact. It is up to you to convince the detective to let you out on probation. You'll start earning money by shooting hoops on a basketball court on the roof of the jail and use this to put down a deposit on your first apartment.
It's now time for you to work your way through the city's social hierarchy by interacting with the city's residents and becoming their friends. You'll also have to improve yourself (by earning skill points and creativity points), earn cash to live (by playing mini games, such as shooting hoops) and to buy more stuff (such as furnishings for your apartment).
In the meantime a money grabbing developer is planning to turn the city in to a tourist attraction and as you can imagine the city's residents are not happy about it and seek your help in preventing this. This is your mission.
Creating your alter ego
The game commences with having to "design" your sim. Once you have chosen the sex, skin colour, hair style and name it is time to dress your sim in suitable attire.
You are then asked a series of questions, the answers of which are used to determine the 'rep' group your sim belongs to.
From here it is to the start........
The game commences in a hotel. You are desperately trying to get your dead end job back by assisting the janitor. After carrying out a series of tasks your bid to get your job back takes it a step to far and you end up in jail.
After convincing the detective to let you out on probation the city becomes your playground and the missions commence.
Your character has motives that must be satisfied throughout the game. The motives include the basic functions of life including eating and drinking, sleeping, bathing, sitting, keeping entertained, feeling 'at home' and using the toilet.
There are bars by each of the motives throughout the game and as the green bar slowly turns to red it shows the increasing need to satisfy the motive.
Satisfying the motives can turn out really annoying, especially when in the middle of a mission. Some missions require you to be at a certain location at a certain time and if you are tired (and have to go to bed) around that time then the slot will be missed and you will have to wait until the next day!
Satisfying motives wastes a lot of time and it is almost impossible to regulate the motive. For example trying to make it so that your sim is awake all day and asleep at night is impossible. There are times when it is necessary to go to bed in the early afternoon and then you'll be wandering around early morning!
It is also worth noting that it is not possible to interact with the city's residents if a motive need to be satisfied. Some tasks require you to interact with specific residents, who can be difficult to find at the best of times, and there is nothing more annoying when you find the resident and then can't talk to them because you need to go to the toilet or something. Once the motive is satisfied you go back and that resident has gone and you have to go and find them all over again.
In order to complete the mini missions you have to interact with the city's residents. Some of them will give you tasks to complete, as well as clues of how to complete other tasks. Not all the residents are helpful but you still have to interact with them to earn points with the different rep groups which includes nerdies, richies, artsies etc.
Friends are made by talking about specific subjects. What some rep groups find amusing others will find offensive. Amusing a resident increases friendship points and offending decreases friendship points.
As the friendship increases some of the residents will give you gifts to help you out or they can be persuaded to work or help you out.
Cash is king right? It is cash that makes the world go around and, unfortunately, without it existence is not possible.
The first thing you have to do is get money and this is achieved by selling items you pick up around the city (such as trash, pieces of wood etc) and playing mini games.
Not all mini games are available at the start of the game. These are unlocked as you progress through the game and start completing the mini missions. The mini games include things such as shooting baskets, telling jokes at a local club, motocross racing etc.
As you play the mini games you get promoted which not only increases the difficulty of the game but also increases the cash earned allowing you to buy more stuff.
There are loads of missions to complete in this game and loads of smaller tasks in each mission.
The missions include things such as finding an apartment, guarding a grave yard, earning rep points with peers etc
The graphics are very good, although a bit "blocky", which is as expected.
Like every DS game I have played the sound is really poor and lets the game down. There are limited sound effects and these add very little to the game. Personally, I just turn the volume off.
This game is really, really addictive. Whilst it can get boring satisfying all the motives and doing the same jobs over and over again to earn the money required to survive (a bit like normal life!) it serves as a motivator to progress to the next mini mission.
This is quite a difficult game and I would not recommend it to younger game players. Most DS games I use my 6 year old nephew as a fellow reviewer for his input. I did not do that for this game since it is just too much for him.
Some of the puzzles can be difficult to work out, finding the specific resident can be quite a challenge and trying to ensure that all your motives are satisfied prior to commencing some of the mini missions can be a challenge as well.
It is worth noting that if you do get stuck then there are loads of user forums and websites offering tips and advice on how to progress. My other half has also found a website with a full cheat guide detailing how to complete each mission on a task by task basis, what subjects to talk to each rep group about etc. I have not used this and refuse to since what's the point in playing the game?
Life of the game
This game is massive with loads of missions to complete. I have played it for around 15 hours and I still have loads left to do.
Whilst there is a specific amount of missions to complete, and hence a minimum life, this game can last for as long as you want it to. If you want to earn loads of money and buy loads of cool stuff for your pimp palace then you could leave the missions alone and just play mini games to survive.
On the other hand if you want to complete the game as quickly as possible then you could just do earn enough to complete the mini missions, live like a scrubber and buy nothing.
The choice is yours........
Where to buy
This game has been out for a while so it should be available from almost every game retailer. I bought mine from Amazon for £24.98 although I have since seen it for £14.99 from Play.com.
Have a shop around as I'm sure that there are several online retailers selling it for less.
This is an excellent game with loads to do. Whilst it can be annoying, especially when motives have to be satisfied and the fact that you can't get a 'routine', it is very addictive and a great way of killing many, many hours.
The graphics are great and the game play is very simple but the sound effects are awful. This applies to many DS games - the audio appears to be the weakest link of the DS.