|a game by||Indi Software Co., Ltd.|
|Editor Rating:||6.8/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.9/10 - 7 votes|
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|See also:||Simulator Games|
Metropolismania is a PlayStation 2 city-building game developed by Indi and released in 2002. The game tasks players with developing thriving towns by attracting new citizens and businesses. However, Metropolismania stands out from other city builders through its focus on colorful and quirky characters that bring the towns to life. While the simplistic gameplay may turn off those looking for a hardcore simulation experience, Metropolismania will charm players looking for an amusing, lighthearted city-building adventure.
Populating a Town
The goal of each scenario in Metropolismania is to build up your town by attracting new residents and developing the types of buildings they want and need. However, unlike most city simulators, the gameplay loop revolves around directly interacting with and befriending various townsfolk. Players must chat with different characters, give gifts, and gossip in order to keep them happy and convince more people to move into town. The key to success lies not just in laying out an efficient infrastructure but also building a rapport with your townspeople.
This focus on characters gives Metropolismania its quirky and comedic appeal. The various residents come in bizarre and amusing varieties, from shady smugglers to New Age cult members to aliens. Their humorous backstories and reactions to gossiping about taboo topics provide plenty of laughs, even if the repetition can become tedious over time. The personalities and designs of townspeople give each area of the game a vibrant, cartoonish atmosphere that is hard not to smile at.
Comparison to SimCity and City: Skylines
In contrast to popular city simulators like SimCity and Cities: Skylines, Metropolismania opts for a simplified and less serious simulation experience. There is little attention paid to the strategic management of resources or realistic urban planning. Players have access to only the most basic infrastructure like roads, residential zones, and community lots. The gameplay loop focuses less on problem-solving or long-term progress and more on accomplishing whimsical short-term goals.
The strength of games like SimCity lies in their fine-tuned strategic gameplay that makes players feel like real urban planners. In comparison, Metropolismania lacks meaningful management challenges or customization, resulting in repetitive and unfulfilling gameplay for those seeking a hardcore simulation. However, the silly and lighthearted nature of Metropolismania, centered around its amusing cast of characters, gives it a style all its own. While a flawed simulator, Metropolismania succeeds as a quirky and comedic adventure.
Final Review: 7/10
Metropolismania will not satisfy players looking for a deep or realistic city-building experience. However, its charm lies in the colorful personalities of its townsfolk and comedic scenarios. The simple and whimsical gameplay creates an amusing adventure where gossiping with aliens and solving petty squabbles takes priority over strategic management.
Though ultimately shallow, Metropolismania delivers an experience both bizarre and delightful. If open to a cartoonish and silly take on the city-building genre, Metropolismania will capture your heart. But for a meaningful simulation, you're better off building elsewhere.
- Focus on quirky characters and comedy provides amusement
- Lighthearted and whimsical style gives it charm
- Simple and accessible gameplay for casual players
- Lacks depth or strategic challenge of hardcore city simulators
- Repetitive gameplay leads to lack of long term satisfaction
- Few customization options or management tools for players
- Silly style may turn off players seeking realism
- Fails to leverage its premise to full potential, leading to wasted potential
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
There are some game genres that will stand the test of time as they will always be relevant. First-person shooters, sports games, fighting games and racing games are just a few of the types of games on that list of timeless genres. Another genre that falls in this bracket is the building and simulation game. These became popular in the nineties and have continued to captivate audiences ever since. So in 2003, a game developer called Natsume would aim to cash in on this trend with a title called Metropolismania.
This title is inspired by other city builders such as Sim City, City Tycoon or Cities: Skylines. However, this title focuses less on the city building aspects with the impetus being placed on the relationships between the residents and the general happiness of the population. It’s more about people management within a city you’ve made rather than building a fully functional cityscape.
Far From Pretty
It’s best to start with the most jarring point that you’ll notice immediately about this game. It looks pretty bad. The art style, if you can call it that, is poorly designed, has a series of very simplistic or blurry textures, the models are incredibly simple and rough around the edges. In short, this title would be more akin to the original PlayStations library in terms of presentation. We are all in favour of a simplistic design but if you make that artistic choice, everything should be inch-perfect and this game can’t even achieve that.
The sound quality sadly falls into the same bracket of underwhelming and poorly produced. The sound that is present in the game is repetitive and overly simple but its the omission of sound in areas that damages the game more. Dialogue is accompanied with no sound, sound effects are minimal and there is absolutely no variation in the soundtrack aside from the looping background theme.
It’s about people
Speaking of the dialogue, aside from it being purely text box based, it is one of the strongest assets of the game. The characters that you will meet within your city are diverse and have a series of quirky personality traits that leads to some interesting interactions. You’ll have Nerds, moms, spoiled teens, hard-working dads and pretty much any other stereotype you can think of running around in your city and your job is to keep them all happy.
You’ll do this by granting requests and building new parts to the various communities such as parks, schools, hospitals and the like. Building the city is really just a necessary chore rather than a core mechanic of the game. You play the role of a mayor or city councillor rather than an omnipotent city-building god-like in other games. It’s an interesting angle, to say the least, but it’s clear that the lack of focus on the building aspects has led to a lack of smoothness when doing so.
Looks can be deceiving
While this game may not look good enough to be released on the platform that it was, it does have a number of redeeming qualities. The unique focus on the Populous over the city building mechanics is fun and differs from the normal simulation games out there and the conversations you’ll have with these people are humorous and genuinely interesting most of the time.
It’s nowhere near as deep as the other city sim games on the market but Metropolismania has a certain inescapable charm that makes you want to choose it anyway. It’s not for everyone but for many, this will be a welcome change from the relentless realism of other city sims.
- The unique approach within the genre
- Interesting characters and dialogue
- City building mechanics aren’t brilliant
- Visuals and sound quality are really poor