Gameloft’s New York Nights succeeds in its attempt of emulating and creating a pleasant social experience like Electronic Arts’ iconic title The Sims. Much like that game, you start New York Nights by constructing a persona. Choosing between attributes such as humor or beauty, you have the opportunity to create someone as close looking as you or a fantasy character completely different.
The premise of New York Nights is to meet people in the big apple. That means using your social skills to wine and dine (figuratively speaking) your way to the top. Meeting acquaintances will not only let you earn more skills so you can befriend even more people, but it opens up avenues in life, such as the prospect of a new job. Yes, my friends, networking really is the best way to get a job.
Although earning cash is an important part of the game, it is not the only thing you can accumulate. Conversations are important to keeping and extending your sphere of influence. This rests on developing and talking about interests that suit your (potential) partners in the game. New York Nights also features a variety of activities you can do alone. Working out at the gym, for example, will increase your healthiness in the game.
Unlike The Sims, where you spend most of your time hanging around the house for something to happen, New York Nights takes place in the city that never sleeps. And literally, you can find people in the wee hours in the morning. Different types of people are populated at different times of the day to give the game a bigger scope than it is. Remember, there is no DVD full of material here or connectivity to a content server online. The game is detailed in its graphics and its locations, which include famous landmarks like the Empire State Building. Some games try to save space by repeating characters and places. But this isn’t so with New York Nights. It is still a wireless game but I never got the feeling the graphics were so repetitive it felt like playing The Matrix with a zillion Agent Smith variants.
In spite of the hundreds of things you can do, the interface is actually very simple and easy to pick up. An interesting twist for New York Nights is the concept of working. Unlike The Sims, where working is simply having a sim disappear for a day or have thought bubbles over something, there are small minigames that accompany the careers here. No doubt this is a positive influence of what works for mobile gamers.
Overall, New York Nights was a joy to play. It’s not so much that it is the most original title out there. It’s not even the most complex as it has no online capability or 3D graphics. But it is a very well thought out game with some appealing game mechanics that should cater to a broader gaming crowd than most titles to hit cell phones.