New York Nights a great climb up the social ladder

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Sim

Being a native of the Bay Area, the Big Apple never appealed to me because the lifestyle there is a polar opposite to the lifestyle here. So when New York Nights: Success in the City was announced for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, my interest in the game was lukewarm at best. Having played other sim-type games, New York Nights would seem to be just another sim wannabe. The only difference is that New York Nights can be a pretty addicting experience where interactions are the name of the game.

At the heart of New York Nights is self-improvement and 40 days to prove yourself. As soon as you create your avatar—male or female, choose clothes and hair styles and even create a personality based on responses to some ethics questions—you face situations that affect you in four main areas: Culture, Beauty, Humor and Health. This is not a game where you will zip through various tasks. Part of the charm of New York Nights is that you’re supposed to socialize and communicate with characters who each have their own unique personalities. These interactions gain you attribute points which can increase things such as charisma, style and humor. As in real life, depending on how you charm, offend, or turn others off, your avatar’s characteristics change and thus affect how successful or not you will be in the Big Apple.

The underlying driver is that you need to find a job to pay rent, and those jobs take you through 6 New York neighborhoods—5th Avenue, Greenwich, Wall Street, Times Square, Chinatown and Central Park. Visually, the characters look great in a cartoony way and set in colorful environments. The sound effects increase as activity picks up, and really add to the overall feel of the game.

Back to the interactions for a moment…as the avatar moves around, you can choose interactions with other characters. A star system shows progress in these interactions. When meeting someone, a ticker appears at the bottom of the screen to show that person’s interests (e.g. art, action movies, Broadway). From there, you can access an interactive system with a variety of choices. For example, choose to tell a joke, and a submenu appears showing what types of jokes to use. Or when it comes to flirting, options include a peck on the cheek, a kiss on the lips or my favorite making out. If life were only that easy…

The game is broken up into chapters and as you complete one chapter, another one is unlocked, and everything is based on time which is the reason for the clock in the upper right corner of the screen. For example, if you’re supposed to be at a specific location or meet someone at a certain time, plan to be there on time. Otherwise, tardiness to an appointment could mean a missed opportunity. Also, remember that to keep in mind the eating, bathroom and sleeping needs of your avatar. You can even talk to the guy in the next stall. Fortunately, a PDA located in the left corner keeps track of everyone you meet, tasks to be accomplished, and locations of meetings. Navigation is done via touch with arrows and gold stars pointing out key locations. The navigation is intuitive and makes movement throughout easy and enjoyable.

New York Nights has a lot of content, and the replayability will come from developing and shaping your avatar’s personality traits and attributes. The gameplay is addicting and entertaining, and about the only minus for some people may appear to be too easy. As for me, I don’t like things that are overly complicated, and in the case of New York Nights, I find myself easily playing longer sessions than I anticipated. With well-developed characters, fun tasks, and some depth, New York Nights is a solid choice.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (recommended for sim fans who want something different other than constructing buildings; easy enough for novices and more experienced players)

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