Take a dash of Populous, a pinch of Overlord, a bit of Tyrants, and blend well with SimCity. What have you got? That's right, Utopia. But wait, if you're thinking this is just another strategy game, you're wrong. Utopia combines many of the best features found in similar "Sim" games and comes out a winner.
Utopia: any ideal place or state. In Jaleco's one-player adventure (a port over from an Amiga title), you attempt to create an ideal civilization that's free from crime, hunger, disease, and even boredom. Sounds tougher than it is.
Utopia takes place in the far-distant future. As a Colony Leader, you settle on one of ten planets. Each planet has different climates, natural resources, and geographical features, but there's a catch. Each also harbors a hostile alien civilization. Until you've got some experience under your belt, it's best to begin your colony building on a planet with a less aggressive civilization.
Once you've settled on a planet, your task is to... well... do everything! You've got to monitor all of your colony's needs and react accordingly. In addition to budgetary and basic living concerns, ' you must also ensure a high Quality of Life for your population.
Via a Populous-style window with a well-rendered raised topographical 3-D view of your colony, the quickly multi-scrolling window enables you to view all ranges of buildable territory on the planet in addition to overseeing your colony's progress.
Utopia's controls are an easy-to-learn point and click icon system. Although the game is designed to work with the SNES Mouse, the regular controller works just fine. The controls are not as simple as those of SimCity, but the interface is straightforward and easy to learn. You're just a click away from accessing any of the data you need to efficiently monitor your colony.
All of this cool visual data is highlighted by weird and wonderful music. The Utopian version of Pachelbel's Canon in D is especially nice.
Advancing Your Civilization
As each colonization begins, you've got a 50% Quality of Life rating, and most of the basics covered (simple housing, food, life support). Your first task is to scan the terrain, the existing colony, and the potential resources in order to formulate a plan for the future.
- At the first hint of crime, build security Stations to keep up your Quality of Life.
- At the first hint of a viral infection, immediately build another hospital or two.
- A Sports Stadium is always a good morale booster for your populace.
Fortunately, you're not alone. You've got a crack team of six extraterrestrial Advisors, each with an area of expertise. These include a Military Advisor, a Civil Engineer, a Head of Research, a Colony Administrator, a Financial Consultant, and a Senior Psychiatrist! You can consult any one of them whenever you chooose. They'll provide you with vital stats via a window interface, as well as advise you on the course of action you should take.
Develop strong trade relations. Extra food, fuel, and other resources are relatively easy to accumulate and generally in demand. The extra funds always come in handy.
Since you make all the decisions, it's up to you to define budgets, set the tax rate, decide what type of buildings to build and where, use a map screen to scan for mineable natural resources, plan for the future needs of your growing population, trade with other colonies, and, above all, prepare to defend your colony against enemy attacks.
How do you win? You don't! You can continue to play any colony until your population is so happy that you're ready to move on to a bigger challenge * in the form of a new colony, or until your people are so miserable that they assassinate you! Note: you can save one game for continued play.
- Keep a generous amount of cash in Research Funds. The devices invented, and the knowledge of your enemy gained, really help you to plan.
- Build an extra Life Support Station and Command Station. They're key enemy targets and you don't want to be left without either one.
- Continually check with your Colony Administrator. You need to anticipate your community's need for air, food, and fuel. This is easy to do if you monitor your populace's usage compared to your production. When you see the margin narrowing, build a new Hydroponic Farm or Power Plant. If you wait until your demand exceeds your supply, your colony may have to go without a necessity for several months -- and your Quality of Life will go down.
A Near-Perfect Came
In what's getting to be a crowded category, Utopia succeeds in standing out from the crowd by combining some of the best qualities of other society-building strategy games. The result is an entertaining and absorbing game. However, the complexity of the game play and the lack of up tempo thumb action make it not for everyone. If you've never built a colony piece by piece, try it! You just might like this brave new world.
Utopia: The Creation of a Nation DownloadsUtopia: The Creation of a Nation download
- Jaleco / Super NES
Utopia is a game about the construction of a near perfect place for people to live. Set in a futuristic timespan, Utopia places you in command of developing this colony to full growth. This is not as easy as it sounds due to an alien race that keeps attacking your colony.
You start on a barren landscape that you build up by using command icons located on the right side of the screen. There are 25 buildings to choose from including laser turrets to defend the colony, living quarters for your people and life support buildings that recycle unbreathable air to breathable substances.
If you can hold off the alien attacks and keep your people happy, you just might have what it takes to create a true Utopia.
A Utopia is defined as a perfect place for everyone to live in harmony with themselves and their environment. This is the idea behind Jaleco's Utopia.
Create your Utopia from a barren landscape on an alien world. You must keep constant watch over your peoples' demands for living quarters, entertainment and protection from alien onslaughts.
All these items can be purchased with money collected from your peoples taxes and funding from other planets. Each item purchased can have certain advantages and drawbacks to them, too. If you manage to get a barren wasteland populated, you'll be ready to take other challenges that await you in Utopia.