Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Urbz is billed as an edgy, street savvy version of the Sims. The characters wear hip clothes and have a different aim in life - to have fun!
As with the standard Sims game, you get to customize your character, although on the DS your choices are limited. A few hair styles, four shirts, and you're stuck with a miniskirt and boots although the colors can be cycled. You get questions such as:
What is the meaning of life?
* Having the toughest rep
* Mad l33t computer skillz
* Fat sacks of cash money
* Bustin sweet rhymes
I'm sorry, but none of these come close for me :) Other questions provide choices that are equally 'cute' but not necessarily even in the running. In one, you win $10k and your choices to spend it are on a pool, on perfume or on "fancy bling". Ick.
The game itself uses the top screen for the actual monitor, and the bottom for your choices - watching current tasks, tracking inventory and so on. Sometimes it works well, when you keep your to-do list easily visible. Other times it is more kludgy, as you have to look back and forth between the two screens to make choices and see the results.
The pacing of the game wasn't set up very well. I'm a long time Sims fan and understand all the basics of feeding, washing and entertaining your sim. But you begin in an apartment building with multiple floors and you spend your time racing from floor to floor to get to that toilet or bed before disaster strikes. Where other games let you explore and get comfortable with the game, for some reason the Urbz makes you feel like disaster is about to strike if you don't figure out where the nearest toilet is.
There are the usual friendship building, which in this case involves first guessing and then remembering what topics a person enjoys talking about. That is a fun twist on the usual random chatter. There are also mini-games such as the "avoid bird poop" that gets the game going.
Fun for those seeking a mission-based game that has a bit of urban hip appeal, but where the Sims is relaxing and rewarding, for some reason with the Urbz on DS it makes it feel like you're barely hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Which is maybe the edgy attitude they wanted, but I play games to escape from the stress of real life :)