We're going to go out on a limb and assume that you probably haven't played the original MetropolisMania. One, the game is a five-year-old PlayStation 2 game, and two, it was a bit obscure even back then. Still, evidently it did well enough to warrant a sequel, and Natsume is publishing MetropolisMania 2 in North America this year. The game is on display at Natsume's E3 2007 showroom, so we took the opportunity to get our build on.
The premise for MetropolisMania 2 is that you play as a metropolis maker, a job that requires you to build a whole new town, attract new citizens, and interact with all those who dwell within it. No small task. This is a very similar premise as the first game, but there are some differences. In MM2, you can actually customize your own metropolis maker as either a male or female, and dress them up as you please. That comes in handy, because unlike most other building games, you'll actually have to traipse your way through the city you create, walking around to various buildings and people and interacting with them.
Communicating with your citizens is a huge part of MM2, just as it was with the original game. The people who move to your town have to be kept happy. Becoming more familiar with those people by engaging them in conversation yields a wide variety of benefits. Simple, inane chatter tends to make them like you more, and as time goes on, they'll tell you about people you should talk with about moving to your town, and give you feedback about what they like and dislike about the environs. Typically they'll tell you what's missing, like parks and roads and such. MM2 also includes railroads, as well as several licensed companies from Japan. One particularly notable example we saw was a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl restaurant.
The game looks to retain much of the strange style of the original MM. Dialogue continues to be extremely literally translated from Japanese, so you get some great moments of Engrish in bits of the dialogue. The graphical style has been revamped from the original game, replacing the blocky art style with something a bit more anime-inspired. To be honest, the game still looks a bit ancient from the short demo we played, but this style is definitely more pleasant than what the first game featured.
MetropolisMania 2 is currently slated to ship in August for the PlayStation 2. We'll be sure to bring you more on the game soon.