EA's upcoming hip lifestyle simulation will be getting some impressive enhancements on Nintendo's dual-screen portable.
SEATTLE--Today at Nintendo's Gamer's Summit, we got a chance to check out the latest Nintendo DS version of The Urbz, the urban-influenced offshoot of the wildly popular Sims franchise. In our previous coverage of the game, we've reported on the similarities of the DS game to the Game Boy Advance version that's also forthcoming. In essence, the core of the two games is the same--you'll interact with the same characters, pursue the same goals, and visit the same areas of town. So what will make The Urbz DS different from its GBA counterpart?
The answer is, plenty. EA has added a bevy of features to The Urbz that take advantage of the dual-screen and stylus features found in the DS, and from what we saw, gamers who have both systems will definitely get more out of the DS version. The first addition to this edition of The Urbz, which is a no-brainer, is the use of the bottom screen to constantly display information like your mission objectives and the like. This has the obvious benefit of not disrupting the gameplay whenever you need to check on any of the data that drives the gameplay.
The Urbz on GBA and DS are very much focused on minigames, and the DS version will have several all-new minigames that use the stylus. In one we got to try, the player is serving as an apprentice under a sushi chef named Futo Maki. On the top screen, four different sushi items (everything from tamago and wasabi to ebi and seaweed) are displayed, and each of the four will cycle to some other item every few seconds. On the bottom screen, all kinds of sushi is flying back and forth, and you'll have to use the stylus to cut the right pieces based on the ones being displayed up top. This is a lot harder than it sounds--we had to keep track of the currently requested items without ever really taking our eyes off the action at the bottom of the screen. Some of the existing minigames from the GBA version will also be revamped in the DS game to take advantage of the extra functionality.
The Urbz will even be getting an entirely new district, called Splicer Island. Think Jurassic Park and you're on the right track. Here, you'll be able to play two minigames--one that has you slicing a piece of amber to extract a mosquito, and one that has you playing a rhythm game of sorts while splicing RNA--that will result in the creation of a strange pet, three of which you can keep in the adjacent zoo. Your performance in these minigames will determine the rarity of the pet you receive, and you'll be able to take your pet for a walk (all over the world of the Urbz, in fact), have conversations with it, and more.
Early adopters of the Nintendo DS who have an interest in The Urbz should definitely keep an eye out for the DS version--this one clearly has a lot more content than the otherwise similar GBA game. A simple painting mode we saw will let you create paintings to hang in your virtual home, and the game will even feature an entirely new mission not found on the GBA. The Urbz is slated for release right alongside the Nintendo DS in late November; stay tuned for more updates.
- Release Date: Nov 17, 2004 (US)
- ESRB: ETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.
- Release Date: Nov 9, 2004 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.