Virtual life games are beginning to make a foothold in the App Store, and a select few are doing a great job with the genre. New York Nights: Success In The City is one of the more recent additions. Though it’s not necessarily a bad iteration, its attempt to capitalize on the Big Apple vibe falls far short of what any self-respecting New Yorker would expect of a “city so nice, they named it twice.”
Don’t think she’s feeling it.
You begin the game as an ambitious young adult who has come to New York to start a new life. You move in with your brother, make friends, fall in love and get drawn into celebrity life. It’s about as clichÃ©d and interesting as you expect it to be. Most of your time is spent going to the bathroom, working a job, going on a date or talking to people. The interaction system is fairly deep, but it wears itself out pretty fast due to its repetitious nature and clunky styling.
While playing through the story, you are hand-fed all of the instructions and given no penalty for any bad decisions you make. With a linear plot, gameplay decisions have no bearing on the final outcome of the game and really present little challenge for the average player. We did find our time with the game somewhat enjoyable during its 3 hours of gameplay, though.
There is tons of character customization in the game, from outfits in plentiful colors to the variety of the characters. Changing your style is easy to use and adds a fun element to game. The graphics look great for a virtual life sim, and controls are not horrible either, although menu buttons occasionally get in the way.
But by the time things start getting good and tension starts to rise, the game is done and you are on your own. After ‘beating the game,’ there is little to do beyond talking to other generic NPC characters, working, dating and living life normally. With its three save slots, you could play the game again. But honestly, if we wanted to do that we would get out of our antisocial iPhone gaming bubbles and live in the real world!
Maybe he should wish for ice skates.
From an aesthetic standpoint, New York Nights just doesn’t capture the NYC that we all know and love. Beyond its inclusion of six Manhattan neighborhoods– 5th Avenue, Greenwich Village, Wall Street, Times Square and Chinatown, which are all condensed into tiny street corners and a few landmarks– this really could be any city. Still, the game does provide enough of the typical New York tourist fare to satisfy those unfamiliar with the city.
When it comes down to it, your character may have success in the city, but Gameloft did not while porting this mobile title to the iPhone. Unless you are a die hard fan of the genre or crave a game based on NYC, this is one game we have trouble recommending.