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    SimTower: The Vertical Empire

    Game » consists of 5 releases. Released Dec 31, 1994

    Build and manage a skyscraper while keeping the inhabitants happy.

    trace's Sim Tower (PC) review

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    • trace has written a total of 4 reviews. The last one was for Split/Second

    Unfortunate monotony

    SimTower puts out an intriguing proposition -- create a tower filled with a variety of properties, and watch residents, workers, and locals move around and interact with all the facilities. This is a fascinating idea on paper, but SimTower turns it into an unfortunate exercise in monotony and elevator traffic.

    Up to a 100-story tower can be created in SimTower; in fact, it's necessary to do so for the final TOWER ranking. Buildings gain these rankings, from the starting one star to five stars and TOWER, by having a certain minimum population and by installing special properties such as security offices or medical centers. The limitations SimTower sets for the early rankings make this an issue, however, as brand new buildings can only build offices, fast food restaurants, and condos (which are treated oddly like loans since tenants can move out for a full refund). Build enough to get 300 people in the building, and facilities for one-room hotels are unlocked. To get almost all the interesting properties like shops and movie theaters, 1,000 people have to find their way into your building at one time. That's a lot of offices, hotel rooms, and fast food, notwithstanding issues that either force each property type to use their own floors, or create ugly gaps of unused floor to prevent noise complaints.

    All the construction and elevator movement is enjoyable to watch at first, but as the building continues to grow, the repetition of all the graphics and animation is all too evident and sours the experience somewhat. Specific tenants, workers, or properties can be marked and named, but this only draws attention to a wonky elevator system that requires too much bothersome micromanagement, and tenants who will decide, on a whim, that they'll only be happy if you charge them the minimum amount of rent because of their placement. The micromanagement of rent and transportation would be a paltry inconvenience were it easy to work with, but with each elevator shaft and every single property requiring manual adjustment on its own, it becomes a monumental task of boredom.

    It all leads to SimTower's overarching tragedy, where many towers that manage to make it to the highest rankings look like the same mass of similar properties on their own floors, with transportation and sky lobbies placed exactly the same way all throughout. This is still a game of tower building, and it will interest anyone who likes the idea of watching little people move around in a see-through tower. In the process of building and managing facilities to attain new property types, though, it loses much of the customization and uniqueness that SimCity and the Sim series is known for.

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