Yoot Tower is a much-improved sequel to Maxis' tower-building classic SimTower. Similar to the first game, Yoot Tower was much more popular on the Mac than it was on the PC, probably due to the fact that both games were coded on a Mac and released for that platform first. Your goal is still the same as SimTower: build a high-rise that offers your residents a "stress-free" environment. A happy Sim resident gets enough business to make a profit, has an easy route to get to work and not too many people clogging the hallways and elevators. Lots of parking space and great shops and restaurants couldn't hurt either. |
Yoot Tower (so named after its creator, Yoot Saito) sports numerous improvements over SimTower, making the game much more of a game than a toy. Just about the only thing that remains the same is the fact that you don't control who moves in. But Yoot Tower lets you name them and add them to a favorites list to locate them in an instant to see what they're up to, how much money they've got, and how happy they are with their environment. The AI of residents is noticeably better than SimTower: the effects of your actions are reflected much more realistically. Similar to Bullfrog games (e.g. Theme Park), the residents now really seem to have minds of their own. You can stick a microphone in the face of people down in the lobby, for example, to find out what they think about the place. You can also alter menus in the many and varied restaurants, and even choose what kinds of movies are shown at movie theaters.
Not only is Yoot Tower addictive, it's also very difficult due to more complex AI, additional challenges, and hundreds of different kinds of rooms you can build and innumerable options for each. There are hundreds of variables you need to take into consideration. Is this the spot for a Mexican Restaurant, or maybe instead a Fashion Boutique? Perhaps a Book Store or a Barber Shop? On what floors should my large elevators stop? How few housekeeping units can I get away with? Where's the best place for a cigarette vending machine? If I have ten offices per floor, how many elevators do I need? How much should I be charging for rent on a deluxe apartment in the sky? Next thing you know, you've suddenly got a 120-floor madhouse, hundreds of picky residents—and only a few hours of sleep time left when in real life you have to get ready for work.
There are numerous other improvements to the basic gameplay. You now have various seasons which affect the number and types of residents throughout the year. To add more flavor, Yoot Tower features three different real-world locations (Hawaii, Tokyo & Kegon Falls), each with different conditions for success, different costs and sources of revenue, and unique attractions. Kegon Falls, for example, attracts floods of tourists during the summer but is eerily quiet during the winter (that's when you'll start worrying about whether your fixed costs are too high). As in SimTower, your tower will be rated every time you get a visit (always unannounced) from VIPs. If you make them happy, your tower gets bumped up a Star rating. The more stars you have, the more items you can build.
Overall, Yoot Tower is an excellent game of business management that is not for the easily frustrated. It can get monotonous at times, and is a game that only devoted micro-managers will be successful at. However, if you're looking for a challenging business sim, you will likely become a Yoot addict like me. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs