SimTower is almost SimCity under a microscope. Instead of laying out a metropolis on a flat plane, you build it and manage it vertically, working above and below ground to create your very own mini-city of shops, offices, and so on. Your ultimate goal is to earn those prized star ratings (they’re based primarily on the population count), and hopefully find yourself the owner of a five-star tower.

4_1You’ll run into the same kinds of problems as in SimCity, but on an appropriately smaller scale; so where you once had to worry about traffic flow and mass-transit, SimTower puts the problem in terms of providing adequate elevator access to your tenants. And you’ll have to be sure there’s adequate parking so that, as your tower grows, those thousands of workers will have someplace to keep their cars. And if you want to make sure all those condo dwellers have something to do on the weekends, you’ll put in theaters and shopping centers.

Probably the most difficult problem you’ll face in achieving a high satisfaction rating is making sure the elevators are well-placed. And since each standard elevator shaft can extend no more than 30 floors, this means placing them at reasonable intervals across the width of your building, allowing enough space to begin new shafts to take over at the 30-floor limit. You have to make sure the new shafts overlap the old ones by a couple floors, too, or you risk congestion and even cutting off those higher floors to the people below.

I’d have to say that the general lack of any real challenges to achieving a big, four- or five-star tower is the game’s biggest drawback. But a close second is the fact that, other than initially constructing the thing, there’s just not enough to do. You’ll spend most of your time just waiting, letting the revenues pile up so you can go on with your next construction phase. True, there are the occasional terrorist threats or visiting V.I.P.s, but even these diversions won’t require any special attention in SimTower.

System Requirements: Pentium 66 MHz, 8 MB RAM, Win95

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