Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Smart, Practical, Personal.

Ten for X Utilities: Volume 2


EasyShare DX6340

Radeon 9800 Pro

PowerLite S1

Freeway Express

SuperScrubber 1.1

C-740 Ultra Zoom

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003

SimCity 4



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A Must Have Utility

Yoot Tower

PowerPC required

I have one major problem with Yoot Tower. I can’t stop playing it.

Developed for the Mac first by Yoot Saito, creator of Sim Tower, Yoot Tower is the next step in sim games. All of the usual sim suspects are there: resource management, planning -- which admittedly sounds dull. Very dull. But it’s not.

In Yoot Tower, you’re given a choice of settings: Tokyo, Waikiki, and Kegon Falls, a tourist destination. To keep things interesting, Saito has introduced some random elements: terrorist attacks, fires, and visits from VIP guests. These guests have the power to increase the ratings of your building. They may take a long time to show up: The king that finally visited my hotel did so at year 15, 12 hours into a game. But for me, these elements just felt like interruptions. All I really wanted to do was make money and do construction. Suddenly, Donald Trump was my hero.

You can leave Yoot Tower running in the background while you do other things, but it takes up 23MB of RAM, so it’ll be a challenge for memory-strapped systems. The advantage to this, however, is that you’re making money while you’re not looking — a year can pass in an hour, and if you’ve planned well, the money piles up fast.

It’s not all perfect: Although the program does an excellent job of showing you how the various areas of your tower are functioning, there isn’t enough room to tweak the controls. Restaurants serve what they want to serve, and the most control you get in your shops is a choice of how much of four preselected items you stock in each. In BCD, the Hawaiian convenience store, all I got to choose from were minerals, nuts, T-shirts, and beach goods. When was the last time you saw a hunk of rose quartz in a convenience store? It didn’t do well next to my movie theater. Nice touch with the theater — you get to select the movies, and while they’re running, you can look at a short excerpt from the film.

Other nice touches include a microphone effect: Click on the shadowy black figures scurrying around the tower, and a cartoonlike bubble appears over their heads with their thoughts. Usually it’s something like, “I have a lower back pain,” or “I’m hungry,” but occasionally it wanders into the really bizarre: One patron said, “My teeth are floating.” Hmmm.

Fans of and newcomers to sim games will enjoy this game. Perhaps, like me, a little too much.

Yoot Tower:
Sega PC  |  |  650-508-2800


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