DS

North America

Miami Nights: Singles in the City

by James Jones - February 10, 2008, 2:22 pm PST
Total comments: 10

4

Why yes, I would like to make out with that lamppost.

It's hard to reach dreams of fame and fortune. It takes commitment. This may mean that you will go six days without food, sleep, or even a trip to the bathroom. If you want to be a famous actress it may require spending your days modeling in a Jacuzzi while your creepy boss (aptly named "Boss") watches you soak for four hours. Such is the life of a rising starlet in Miami Nights: Singles in the City, an utterly boring "lifestyle simulation" game.

Miami Nights models itself after The Sims. The game begins with you picking your character’s gender, face, hair, and clothes. The added dimension is that you pick which way you want to achieve fame – by modeling, singing, or acting. I created a red-headed actress named Emma. Much like The Sims, you spend the rest of the game buying new outfits and furniture, and working hard to pay for all those indulgences.

Oh and the indulgences you'll buy. The game prompts you to spend five-hundred dollars for an old car, only to tell you to spend another two-thousand on a new one a short time later. Spending three thousand dollars in new furniture is something this game bills as a challenge. Two-thousand on a yacht, twenty-thousand on a big yacht, and three-thousand decorating the insides are all mandatory purchases. Unlike The Sims, Miami Nights is a very linear game.

The game's "goal" is to become a famous celebrity. To that end your nosy neighbor, Joey (if you're female) constantly calls your cell giving you one disjointed objective after another. These objectives vary widely in that they either involve you charming (and invariably making out with) someone in order to get them to do what you want, or paying someone an exorbitant amount of money for some object for which it’s not clear why you need it. Sometimes the game shakes it up by making you charm them before you give them your hard-earned dollars.

There are a handful of ways to interact with people in the game: "Speak," "Flirt," "Share," and "Assault." The "Speak" function offers the options to discuss topics, in the hopes that you'll find the other person's interests, offer compliments or make jokes. "Flirt" offers the opportunity to make out with anything that moves. "Share" offers the options for asking someone to dance, inviting them to your house, exchanging phone numbers, or buying gifts. "Assault" lets you beat or rob the person you're talking to. Beatings are by far the most fun.

Non-player characters react to you based on a series of stats, almost all of which can be ignored. If you're "hot" anyone will make out with you. Men, women, androgynous used car salesmen – they will all blurt out "You got me baby, kiss me on the lips" at seemingly odd moments, simply because you complimented them and made a joke.

Paying for all your prized possessions is done by working a handful of jobs. Most jobs are done via a simple mini-game. None of the jobs pay very well. The strange thing about it is that you don't move up the "fame" ladder. Emma only got one acting job prior to completing the game, and it was a scripted event. It would have made a lot more sense if you were able to move from menial labor to increasingly impressive gigs. Instead you're left serving tables, cleaning dishes, being a DJ, and doing the aforementioned seedy Jacuzzi demos right up to the point that you become a "jet-setter."

Miami Nights is a series of contradictions and disjointed events. You can engage in drinking games, make out with anything that moves, and invite people home. Once you get them to your pad there's nothing to do there but make out some more. Despite the sleazy veneer, the most suggestive moment is a guy passed out in your bed after a party, of which nothing is ever said. In another nod to the Sims, any kind of nudity, namely when you go and shower and use the bathroom, is pixilated.

Visually, the city of Miami is diverse and rendered in full 3D. It is an impressive game world, but the map you use to get around is terrible. On top of that, character faces all look like a GI Joe after a date with a magnifying glass. There also isn't much in the way of character diversity. Almost all bodies are identical, and outfits don't change your appearance appreciably.

The sound is not nearly as polished. There is a lot of music, but none of it is recorded and most of it is bad. The game's soundtrack is mostly comprised of dance music. The less said about the terrible rendition of "I Like to Move It, Move It," played in the start menu, the better. The game is also almost completely devoid of any sound effects. The occasional ringing of a cell phone or scrubbing of dishes is basically it.

The controls are a mixed bag. The game offers full stylus control or D-Pad and button control. The option is nice, and the ability to change on the fly is helpful, but you probably won't want to. The stylus control is imprecise and occasionally suffers major glitches. The D-Pad based control is better but you're constantly forced to switch to the stylus for all the mini-games you encounter and map navigation is unwieldy with the D-pad.

Miami Nights simply isn't fun. It's highly repetitive, as the entire game is "get money, spend money." Character interactions don't feel realistic in any regard. Despite the clear effort spent on the graphical end the game can't be recommended to anyone.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 4.5 6.5 2.5 3 4
Graphics
7

The diverse city of Miami looks very impressive. However, poor character models bring the graphical presentation down.

Sound
4.5

Lots of music you won't want to hear. The game features almost nothing in the way of sound effects.

Control
6.5

The D-Pad control is the preferred method, but using it means constantly having to switch to the stylus for mini-games and map navigation. The stylus navigation is very imprecise, and makes interaction with objects a chore.

Gameplay
2.5

Miami Nights is boring. The entire game is one extended fetch quest. But if you enjoy making polygonal women make out or watching someone take twenty dips in a Jacuzzi to buy a boat you may enjoy it.

Lastability
3

The game is over in about eight hours. Three hours in you'll realize that the entire game is simply "earn a lot of money as tediously as possible and then do whatever you're told with that money." There is a multiplayer mode, but good luck finding anyone who wants to play this.

Final
4

Miami Nights is a repetitive experience. The relationship mechanics offer no reward. You can't establish meaningful relationships with anyone, nor can you sleaze it up as you never progress beyond first base. The pursuit of fame is basically a non-issue throughout the game. The only time it is really mentioned are the opening and closing cut scenes. Miami Nights is essentially just eight hours of "take money for riding the Jacuzzi." Anyone interested in playing a game about becoming famous would be better served tracking down a copy of The Sims and the Superstar expansion.

Summary

Pros
  • Impressive graphics
  • It's so much easier to get people to make out with you than real life!
  • Unintentionally funny dialog
Cons
  • Disjointed story
  • Generally feel dirty after playing it
  • Repetitive gameplay
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

This game is ALMOST worth it just for the experience of turning it on and having "I like to move it move it" blaring over the title screen for the first time. LOL.

No it's not.

Well...okay. How about for the ice-cream minigame that's your first job? That's gotta be worth something!!!

My first job was dishes.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusFebruary 16, 2008

The game's existence has been redeemed for me by how much the title screen music made me laugh. Seriously, I haven't laughed that much since..well, since the Pats lost the Super Bowl, but if that hadn't happened it would have been a long time, anyway.

Of course, I didn't have to sacrifice any money or time to hear the music, so I can only thank James for turning his suffering into my amusement. If only others were so willing....

I eagerly await the next terrible game to come up.

Quote from: Crimm

I eagerly await the next terrible game to come up.

Stop nosing in on my turf SPOON-BOY!!!

My turf is giving bad games BAD reviews.  Totally different.

...We're still competing for the same games.

vuduFebruary 28, 2008

Quote from: Crimm

My turf is giving bad games BAD reviews.  Totally different.

Isn't that Deg's turf?

Share + Bookmark





Genre Simulation
Developer Gameloft

Worldwide Releases

na: Miami Nights: Singles in the City
Release Jan 15, 2008
PublisherUbisoft
RatingTeen
eu: Miami Nights: Singles in the City
Release Feb 15, 2008
PublisherUbisoft
Rating12+
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement