Anyone who played the original SimTower knows that the focus of gameplay was the building of the tower itself with little interactive bonding of the tenants, stores and structure. In Yoot Tower, the sequel, the emphasis is on the synergy between all the factors and factions contained within the game. You won't be constructing your dream building in a cold and impersonal vacuum but rather with an eye to developing a game story through the residents themselves.
The scope of Yoot Tower transcends that of the original in several important areas. The "living" tower you create will feed off the tenants by upgrading the number and quality of stores, facilities and services. In this way, your structure gains recognition and builds to a star rating system much like the world's greatest hotels, resorts and shopping districts do in the late 1990s.
As the owner and Chief Executive Officer, your objectives and goals are clearly defined. First, you must provide for the needs of both commercial and residential tenants. To this end you are invited into the actual lives of your tenants and must work to ensure profitability on an individual basis. The population is rife for explosion and can number in the tens of thousands if your tower is a success. Secondly, you'll need to entice and invite residents and businesses to reside in your building through any number of means such as promotions, advertising, quality commitments and more.
Your final objective is to keep the population you gain through any means possible, such as expansion, upgrades, quality of life increases and the like. Fail to renovate and your customers will stampede the elevators and leave in droves. Neglect your priorities and increase your tenants' stress levels and they'll forget you like yesterday's bad lunch. Manage the noise levels, traffic flow and create balance throughout the structure and you'll be rewarded.
Yoot Tower expands gameplay over the original by allowing construction in three very diverse locations: Tokyo, Waikiki and the natural splendor of Kegon Falls with its changing seasons and exotic locale. Control issues, internal and external events, crises, critical management and juggling exigencies co-mingle with equal impact as you try to build your tower to the culminating "final item" that triggers a small event, hopefully leading to designation as The Great Tower.
Think you're the next Donald Trump with a vision to build the most glorious high rise wonder in the world? If so, don your hardhat and get your best business clothes pressed -- you'll need both to mold Yoot Tower into a stratospheric success story.
Yoot Tower is a much-improved sequel to Maxis' tower-building classic SimTower. Similar to the first game, Yoot Tower was much more popular on the Mac than it was on the PC, probably due to the fact that both games were coded on a Mac and released for that platform first. Your goal is still the same as SimTower: build a high-rise that offers your residents a "stress-free" environment. A happy Sim resident gets enough business to make a profit, has an easy route to get to work and not too many people clogging the hallways and elevators. Lots of parking and great shops and restaurants couldn't hurt either.
Yoot Tower (so named after its creator, Yoot Saito) sports numerous improvements over SimTower, making the game much more of a game than a toy that SimTower was. Just about the only thing that remains the same is the fact that you don't control who moves in. But Yoot Tower lets you name and add them to a "favorites" list to locate them in an instant, to see what they're up to, how much money they've got, and how happy they are with their environment. The AI of residents is noticeably much better than SimTower: the effects of your actions are reflected much more realistically in the game. Similar to Bullfrog games (e.g. Theme Park), the residents now really seem to have minds of their own. You can stick a microphone in the face of people down in the lobby, for example, to find out what they think about the place. You can also alter menus in the many and various restaurant types, and even choose what kinds of movies are shown.
Not only is Yoot Tower addictive, it's also very difficult due to more complex AI, additional challenges, and hundreds of different kinds of rooms you can build and innumerable options for each. There are hundreds of variables you need to take into consideration. Should a Mexican Restaurant go here here, or maybe instead a Fashion Boutique? Perhaps a Book Store or a Barber Shop? At what floors should my large elevators stop? How many housekeeping units can I get away with? Where's the best place for a cigarette vending machine? If I have ten offices per floor, how many elevators do I need? How much should I be charging for rent on a deluxe apartment in the sky? Next thing you know, you've suddenly got a 120-floor madhouse, hundreds of picky residents - and only a few hours before dawn when the real-life you have to get ready for work.
There are numerous other improvements to the basic gameplay. You now have various seasons - which affect number and types of residents throughout the year. To add more flavor than tower building in a nondescript location, Yoot Tower includes 3 different real-world locations (Hawaii, Tokyo & Kegon Falls), each with different conditions for success, different costs and sources of revenue, and unique attractions. Kegon Falls, for example, attracts floods of tourists during the summer but is eerily quiet during the winter (that is when you will start worrying about whether your fixed costs are too high). As in SimTower, your tower will be rated every time you get a visit (always unannounced) from VIP's who will evaluate your facilities. If you make them happy, your tower gets bumped up a Star rating. The more stars you have, the more items you can build.
Overall, Yoot Tower is an excellent game of business management that is not for the easily frustrated. It can get monotonous at times, and is a game that only devoted micro-managers will be successful at. However, if you're looking for a challenging business sim, you will likely become a Yoot addict like me.
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