The Urbz: Sims in the City - DS/DSi

Got packs, screens, info?
Also for: GBA
Viewed: 2D Isometric, Scrolling Genre:
Strategy: God game
Media: Cartridge Arcade origin:No
Developer: Griptonite Games Soft. Co.: Maxis
Publishers: Electronic Arts (US/GB)
Released: 11 Mar 2005 (GB)
2005 (US)
Ratings: PEGI 3+, ESRB Everyone


Though they didn’t perhaps realise it at first, when Electronic Arts released the first Sims game it was the birth of a world-beating IP. A slew of expansion packs consolidated the game’s position as the biggest-selling computer game of all time, and people who didn’t even consider themselves gamers were soon looking after their Sims, making friends with other Sims, and building and decorating their houses – it became the dolls’ house for the new millennium.

The Sims Online took the series one logical step further, with players building houses in online communities rather than existing merely on one PC. The game was more hardware hungry than previous versions but it still sold well. But it was still a PC game. Last year saw EA adapting their franchise with success on home and handheld games consoles, the result being The Urbz: Sims in the City. No doubt the title was chosen for the same reason that Jennifer Lopez feels the need to chirp on about how she’s ‘from the block’ and that Destiny’s Child won’t shut up about wanting ‘a soldier’ – currently ‘urban’ culture sells. But The Urbz is more than just the Sims in Von Dutch and ‘bling’: EA do appear to have put some thought into what made the series a success on the PC, and what should change, and what should stay the same, for a console excursion.

For starters, where the emphasis in the Sims was firmly on interaction with other characters, The Urbz is more action than interaction. The Sims have grown up and moved to the big city (Miniopolis). Instead of having a job like in the suburbs, Urbz do odd jobs here and there to make ends meet, and these take the form of well designed mini games. Taking classes at university where necessary to upgrade their skills, the Urbz earn money with the hope of foiling the evil and greedy Daddy Bigbucks, who wants to take over Miniopolis. Along with the big city, there are gangs too, and a series of questions at the beginning of the game determines your allegiance, whether it be Richies, Streeties, Nerdies or Artsies. You’ll have to befriend Urbz in other gangs though, and this can be difficult.

On top of the action-based gameplay, there are 25 locations to explore and more than 120 objects to collect. Also exclusive to DS is the ability to create you own pet! Already a success on the Game Boy Advance, The Urbz: Sims in the City is an interesting inclusion in the Nintendo DS launch Portfolio.