Citizens: Backwater Affairs
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Love, ahhhh. innit grand? waking up next to that special someone who means more to you than life itself. Knowing that you'll never be starved for company for as long as you live. Buying bouquets of flowers in the middle of the day for no apparent reason. Having tattoos in private places just to show how much you care. Ain't being in love wonderful?
Well, no it ain't. Love is just a huge marketing ploy, invented by chocolate manufacturers to boost sales. Sorry folks, love's no more than a biological imbalance of chemicals that at best leaves you feeling nauseous and at worst leaves you feeling totally gutted, an empty hollow shell of a man with less self esteem than a spider with only five legs and a penchant for spinning polyester. (Have you been dumped recently Paul, by any chance? - Ed.) This love stuffs not easy; 1 don't wish to talk about it. But then emotions have never been easy to deal with, in any of their forms. So here to help out is the latest god sim from MicroProse, Citizens - Backwater Affairs (the project formerly known as Little People), a game that sees you trying to interfere with the day to day running of the inhabitants of the town of Backwater by messing with people's feelings.
A love-ly concept
The story has it that a godly society known as the Celestial Development Inc. ("Bespoke realities for the material age") developed Backwater purely as an experiment into how 'goodness' and 'free will' affect a modern society - but proving just how hard it is to 'play god', something went wrong somewhere along the line and 'nastiness' and other such negative emotions were introduced, with the result that things have gone more than a little bit pear-shaped. With the day of judgement fast approaching, the governing board decided to bring in a freelance operative to take charge of the whole project and go down with the sinking ship. And where do you fit in to all this? Say hello. Captain.
Time's not on your side though - you have just one year to take the problems, crisis and emotional entanglements of Backwater and turn it into the very model of a harmonious paradise. Think you're up to the challenge? Does Cilia shit in the woods?
Love in the afternoon
Originally designed by Jim Bambra, a man more accustomed to the freedom of tabletop role-playing games than the confining spaces of computer titles, and developed by Mark James (responsible for the ground-breaking but emotion-free Gunship 2000), Citizens - Backwater Affairs is presented mainly in the form of a cartoon Syndicate-style isometric perspective, following the little people around their artificially-created world. It's like one of those ant farm projects science teachers give you in American schools - observe, influence in slight ways, sit back and watch everything slowly go wrong and die. Maybe I ought to cheer up. (It'd be an idea - Ed.)
The governing angels of cdi will issue commands via the Celestial Fridge Door: orders such as influencing a certain individual's emotional state, arranging a fight between two people or shooting your little Eros arrows into a couples' posteriors in order to introduce that mischievous spirit known as love into their lives. All of which gives the game a kind of Sim Soap Opera feel to it, as you watch the everyday troubles of others with a sort of voyeuristic pleasure.
Naturally this interference isn't as easy as simply manifesting yourself in the physical world, pointing your finger at a couple of citizens and saying, "You two! Love! Fall in Naaaawwwww!". You can only influence people by clicking on various individuals and adjusting their emotional state, sending them little presents and changing their environmental habitats.
Love and war
But wouldn't you know it, things can't go smoothly... instead things go horribly wrong. Strolling around Backwater are creatures known as imps - there are seven different types representing the seven deadly sins, and where they roam, naughtiness tends to follow. Imps cause the citizens to behave in certain ways, so it's essential that you make sure they don't interfere with your own plans or gain too much influence making the folks unalterable. To help you combat them you have angels, who are sort of reverse imps that can directly ambush the malevolent creatures.
Don't go in thinking that you can predict when and where the imps will strike, what commands you'll be told to perform and how your little people will behave based on previous games, though. Everything is totally random each time you start, all the plot lines are randomly assigned and all the citizens are randomly generated. The key word, folks, is random.
Citizens - Backwater Projects looks like being the next in the current breed of 'fun' god sims (following on from the likes of Theme Park and Sim Town) and with the inclusion of such soap opera-style antics, it looks like being just as addictive as the semi-real things.
Download Citizens: Backwater Affairs
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP