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Yoot Tower

Yoot Tower, the sequel to the classic SimTower, is here for all you aspiring real estate moguls. Thought you could never afford your own three-star luxury hotel on Waikiki? How about one at Kegon Falls in Japan? Or what about a world-class tower right in the middle of Tokyo, where real estate prices are astronomical? If you like simulations and to-die-for properties, you'll like the highly enjoyable Yoot Tower, which comes complete with please-us-or-we-leave-you tenants.

At first glance, Yoot Tower's graphics don't dazzle—they're pretty similar to those of SimTower, albeit more refined. Don't expect an isometric point of view: You see everything straight on in a cutaway view. Yoot Tower won't attract gamers with its sound, either—there's no sweeping soundtrack replete with orchestral stirrings and bravado. On the other hand, you shouldn't let this title's simple graphics and sound stop you from getting into the simulation.

In Yoot Tower you have one basic goal: Keep all tenants, tourists, and visiting VIPs happy and stress free. If your guests run into bad service or inadequate facilities, they'll leave and never come back. Then you get stuck with vacancies and not enough revenue to keep your tower in tip-top shape. Also, if you hope to raise your rating from one to two or three stars, you'd better please those inspectors.

Yoot Tower is thoroughly enjoyable for the widest audience of gamers. Its ease of use and low system requirements will appeal to casual players, while sim veterans will relish controlling all the variables and parameters to produce an efficient, self-sustaining microcosm. For example, you can set Yoot Tower to a slow speed and a minimal population. In fact, it's a good idea to start off small and raise revenue for building-expansion projects. On the other end of the spectrum, you can put the game in high gear and expand your domain quickly, tower by tower, just as Napoleon took on country after country following the French Revolution. Don't get too ambitious with suites and condos, though, or you'll be facing belligerent tenants in a real estate Waterloo.

Yoot Tower may sound easy to play, but once you construct a tower whose population climbs into the thousands (that can mean 8,000 or more), managing your property becomes quite challenging. It demands not only multitasking, but also attention to individual rooms, event halls, restaurants, and transportation systems. You must accept accidents and natural disasters as part of the deal, too. Recovery from fires or terrorist bombings requires the strategic placement of security offices in your tower—not to mention the all-important housekeeping units, which keep your castle free of creepy-crawlies.

In sum, Yoot Tower is a terrific simulation that lets you control just how much you want to control in your universe. We highly recommend it to those who prefer games that reward you for actual play, not for scoring points, and to those who like creation and management rather than violence and destruction. —Jennifer Ho

GOOD NEWS: Easy, intuitive gameplay. Plug-in structure allows expansion. Rewards aren't based on winning. Hours of fun.
BAD NEWS: No support for thousands of colors.
PRICE: $29.99 (SRP)
REQUIREMENTS: Power Mac, System 7.5 or later, 32MB of RAM, 100MB of free hard disk space, 2X CD-ROM drive