So a Japanese developer is trying to make SimCity, and one of the staff says to another, “Hey, know what would be cool?” “No, what?” “How about if we let the player control the city-builder, that way he can walk around the city he’s built?” “Hmm…that does sound pretty interesting.” “Yeah, yeah, and then he can help the citizens by talking to every single one of them to see if they have any complaints—every five minutes.” “Um, that doesn’t really—” “And, and, and then they have to talk to even more people and ask if their friends want to move in to the town!” “This sounds like a bad idea.” “Be quiet; I’m a genius, like Shigeru Miyamoto, only more handsome.”
Or, at least that’s what I think happened during the development Metropolismania 2; because I can’t think of any other explanation for its poor quality and myriad of other issues. As you might have been able to tell from the (possibly exaggerated) conversation, Metropolismania 2 is a city-sim that allows the player to directly interact with the town’s inhabitants, albeit in a very limited fashion.
In fact, it’s not so much interaction, as it is placating. While roaming about the town, certain buildings may begin to glow, which indicates that its residents are unhappy. They will most likely request some type of amenity (more doctors, police, restaurants, etc…), and should you not bend to their will, they threaten to leave, which they will. The problem is that these services aren’t always available: they have to “want” to come into your town, in which case they’ll send you a notification, but it’s rarely that easy.
More often than not, I had to run all over town, asking residents if they know anyone in that specific field who might want to move. What’s worse is that the clock is constantly ticking down, and the residents are just waiting to leave town like a child having a temper tantrum. It’s like I’ve been babysitting while I should have been managing; which the game makes nearly impossible through a few awful design choices.
There’s the aforementioned building problem, which makes city-planning extremely difficult. The camera is also more than delighted to contribute by frequently moving to a bad angle on the ground, or trying as hard as possible to disorient the player when zooming out. Of course, the controls are in on this conspiracy as well, and nearly everything feels stiff and forced. I would say the sound is a conspirator as well, but there was so little of it that I doubt it could have even been an accomplice: absolutely no voice acting, generic music, and mediocre sound effects. The graphics fare slightly better, with character models almost reminiscent of Harvest Moon and decent (if a bit plain) looking buildings.
It seems like the only good things I can mention about this game are unintentional, like the dialogue. Whether it was poorly translated or someone just really wants to know whether I prefer “frog or aggressive person”, there were quite a few times when I burst out laughing simply from the bizarre questions NPC’s would ask. Or when I learned how to jump…over buildings…by eating pizza. I’ll never quite understand the Japanese culture.
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish Metropolismania 2, so I’m going to be a bit unprofessional here and assume that the ESRB took notice of all of this title’s moral problems. I noticed a few references to alcohol such as pubs and characters mentioning wine. The only other problem (which I was unable to find) is mild suggestive references hidden somewhere in the game.
Normally, I’d be in the middle of the review by now, but I have nothing left to say this time. It’s a rare occurrence when I have so little good to say about a game, but this is one of those times. Metropolismania 2 isn’t some horrible game that deserves to be on a list of the worst games ever, but there is just absolutely nothing nice to say about it. If you’re that desperate to answer the age old question of “strawberry waffles or jellybeans”—go to a psychiatrist.