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Urbanix - WiiWare Review

Game Info

WiiWare | Nordcurrent | 1 Player / 2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (sideways)
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11th May 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

This isn't the first time where a WiiWare game takes inspirations from an existing title yet fails to measure up to a certain standard. Urbanix follows the trend of other WiiWare titles that have taken off from games belonging to previous eras, but are practically devoid of fun. Really, there aren't many positive things to say about this game, leaving it to be cast in a somewhat negative light.

    With the extras put aside, Urbanix is actually a very simple game in concept. Basically you have a large space where you need to claim as much of that space is needed without losing all of your lives or running short on time. As you section off different small territories, structures will pop up inside to give the impression that you're actually working towards building a place for people to live.

    You play the game by holding the Wii Remote on its side, simply using the D-Pad to control a yellow-coloured machine. On the bottom left of the screen is a gauge that tells you how many points you've racked up on a given level. The green area on this meter represents where the needle needs to be so you can move on to the next round. With an arcade focus, Urbanix's levels go on until a person is forced to retire, which the more levels you advance to, the trickier it will be to clear a stage. Losing all your lives will present you with the option of continuing, but at the cost of 5000 Points from your overall total.

In each level, you'll typically find two basic kinds of enemies. A rival bulldozer that bounces off walls and paths, and a red-coloured "housecrasher" enemy that travels along the pathways you've created, attempting to destroy the structures you've put up. Simply approaching them is enough to scare them off, so they don't pose much of a threat. Compare this to the other enemy type that can cause you to lose a life if it runs into you or your dotted trail while you're in the process of claiming territory. And finally, there's also an air-bound shark enemy that will swoop in and attack you from time to time.

    There are three different worlds in total, with areas situated in the city, north pole and on the moon. They aren't all unlocked at the start, but clearing about 10 levels in the preceding world, you'll unlock the next one after it. The only major thing that differentiates the three locations from one another is the terrain itself. Unlike the standard stages set in the city, levels set in the Arctic actually require you to go over pathways you've created a second time. This means, then, that you need to clear the snow first, then go over the sheet of ice again for your path to be finalized. And in all fairness, given the circumstances of the environment, it does make sense. When you're on the moon base, you need to run over the plane three times before your little "fence" becomes locked in, making it easier for you to get hit by enemies that are bouncing back and forth. Other than that simple difference, the basic structure remains the same when it comes to challenge and difficulty.

Urbanix can be played either on your own or with a friend. When playing on your own, your main focus is to rack up the highest score you can, while multiplayer has the two of you competing on the same level in a split-screen setting in hopes of claiming the most territory. Sadly, both experiences have flaws that limit how much you can get out of the release. Truth be told, there's little to sustain interest beyond the initial amusement that may be experienced in playing for the first time. And that's one of the main issues I have with this game. 

    The way this game is presented instantly comes across as though this were a computer game for kids. The on-screen text that's displayed in dialog boxes is just way too big, as if they were ruling out the possibility of someone having to squint. Plus, the menus, backgrounds and character models all look childish, even primitive. The music is a bit dull as well, but that wasn't a big surprise to me. Overall, the presentation is really bland, which actually is an accurate reflection of the gameplay itself.

I honestly didn't find myself enjoying this game at all. Even after repeated plays, my feelings towards the game did not change. I found the game to be very boring with little variety to mix things up, and the repetitive gameplay wore off fast. The only element of strategy you can pick up on is the constant question you'll be entertaining in your mind, "Should I risk it?" More precisely, "Should I go for a long line and risk getting hit by an enemy or work towards the goal in small strides?" Most of this really boils down to luck though since you can't see the level in its entirety to factor in timing. As an example, one time I was able to isolate the two enemy threats in one area at the very beginning, leading to an automatic win. Some would argue this allows you to be a bit more spontaneous in the way that you play, but I still didn't find the action to be engaging in the slightest. At the end of the day, what you see is what you get with this game -- either you're going to like the game or you won't.

    Even with the modest inspirations off of an arcade title, I personally thought Urbanix was a waste of time that was better spent elsewhere. I suppose for 500 Wii Points you get what you pay for. But when so many other games have exceeded expectations even at this price, it's hard to be forgiving when the game isn't really enjoyable. Even if you still think it would be right for you or your kids, there are honestly much better games you can spend your money on.

14/30 - Very Poor

Gameplay 6/10 - Simple execution and easy controls, inspired concept, some degree of quick strategy but most of it boils down to luck
Presentation 5/10 - Very bland visuals, dull music, childish look, large on-screen text is unappealing, can't view the entire level at once
Enjoyment 1/5 - Not fun at all, very repetitive gameplay that wears off fast, action is not engaging in the slightest, little variety to be had
Extra Content 2/5 - Three different worlds, multiplayer component, little else to extend the experience, not worth spending 500 Points on

Equivalent to a score of 47% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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