Utopia takes the Sim City gameplay concept and adds a military element to it. The game is set in the distant future, where your job is nothing less than Colony Administrator for a new settlement on some far-flung planet. Your aim is to provide the highest Quality of Life rating for the colonists.
You do so by ensuring that there is enough life support, power, housing, employment, police and entertainment to keep the citizens of your colony happy. Hindering your goal are random events such as solar eclipses (which can render your solar panels inactive) and also a different, hostile alien race that inhabits the planets in the many scenarios at offer.
Not only do you have to be a good mayor but you also have to be a good general. Resources must not only be attributed to civilian research but into weapons research, intelligence and the building of tanks and spaceships, if you wish to survive long enough to see your colony flourish into a metropolis. As a rule, you will have built a strong colony before the aliens come, but the final push towards a QOL of 80% or higher can only be achieved once there is no outside threat.
Ever read Thomas Moore? He described Utopia as a place where (among other things a man and a woman would see each other naked before the wedding and decide if they like what they see - at the time that the parents were still arranging the whole thing)! Well this Utopia is nothing like that, but you get a chance to build your own world.
First time I heard about this game was when I asked to be assigned for a game no one else would like to review and Tom gave me this... Didn't even know what the game was about, but after reading some other reviews and especially the manual, I knew this was the game for me!
So let's start playing. At first you'll see an interface you'll really hate (at least I did). It's an early copy of some other interfaces with a really unoriginal arrow as a pointer. 0 points for creativity, but 8 points for doing the job (better then having no pointer at all). The scrolling could do with a renewal also, but... I guess I'm just demanding too much. Must always remember this game was made back in the early 90s!
Compared to some other games from that time it's awesome. This is the one, that I believe got games like Caesar 2 & 3, Pharaoh, and many other games going.
It's about building basically - so a comparison with Sim City is a natural one, but in Utopia you're advancing from stage to stage, collecting medals as well - and only after you've achieved a certain standard of living you'll be ready to proceed to the next stage!
You have different types of buildings, which are needed to make the place work: -It's on another planet, so you'll need to produce your own oxygen. -For every production as you well know, you'll need energy. -For things to work you'll need workers, who will work only for money, so you need money... -And don't forget the army. You are not alone in the universe you know!!!
Aliens will try to attack you when you're little piece of Utopia looks nice enough for them to take it! When that happens, you'll need a Command Centre, build as many as you like, but remember only one can be active at the time.
Basically the active one is the place where all the action during an attack takes place - you command through it - that's why it's the Command Centre (duh). That's also why it's a primary target for your enemies (better build a few, otherwise you're in big trouble).
You can counterstrike as well, but then you don't have any command of your troops, you'll just get a report telling you if they succeeded or failed miserably (as I have playing this game).
But the thing I loved most about it (and it's I believe the most original part) is the ability to spy on the aliens!!!
You need enough money to do that of course, but you'll have the upper hand, and it's always fun to peep on an slimy purple 10 eyed alien female while undressing - right?
Anyway - I'd give this game a 3. I really hated the interface - you must click on the red square every time you wanna leave a certain screen - blah! Otherwise it's a game, that will offer you some entertainment the second time around also - so it's not a one time wonder...
Utopia is one of those solid, entertaining games that could have done a whole lot better if it had sparked the imagination of the public in some way. In Utopia, you play a colony administrator in charge of building a new settlement on a distant planet. While satisfying the citizens of your settlement is paramount, you must also spend time planning the defences of the settlement and investing in military research. Rather than a SimCity clone, Utopia is a mixture of SimCity, Dune 2000 and Civilization, taking strong points from each of these games and adjusting it to the Utopian style.
The city building part of the game is enjoyable but not ground-breaking. Developers Celestial Software paid close attention to the combat aspect of the game. You can simply defend your settlement or attack your enemies off screen, all the while building bigger and more destructive weapons. Devious administrators may also wish to choose espionage as a means of survival.
Graphically, the game is typically isometric - although this was probably ahead of its time for 1992 - although most everything else, including the sound, is average. Utopia is not the largest game you'll ever play or the most addictive, but it's enjoyable and unlike many games nowadays, maintains a degree of originality.
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