Urbanix Review (WiiWare)
It seems like anytime I review a WiiWare game I have no idea what I am agreeing to play. This pattern holds true for my review of Urbanix. It exists previously for iPhones and as a PlayStation Mini. Urbanix carries a $5 USD price tag and touts 150 levels over three different worlds. In actuality, these 150 levels are all a flat plane with different obstacles in the way. Urbanix as a game does only one thing over and over until it is no longer fun.
What You Need To Know
There is no story to speak of. You play as a little bulldozer and you drive around on a flat patch of ground building roads. When you surround a patch of ground with roads, buildings will pop up in its place. The object of the game it to populate enough of the empty area before a time limit runs out. It plays just like Qix. There are a few enemies to get in your way; some will kill you if they cross your roads under construction, others will destroy the buildings you have already made, and the Helishark will try to eat you as he flies over (it sounds cool but you have to shake the Wiimote to break free). As the levels progress, more enemies are added or more obstacles are put in your way. The difference between the three worlds is just how many times you must capture an area; once for Earth, twice for the North Pole and three times for the Moon. There are some power-ups that will spawn but they are nearly impossible to pick up. Urbanix is played with the Wiimote NES style but all you need is the Dpad. The only other button is the 1 button for a horn that doesn’t do anything.
Urbanix is somewhat fast paced. Like Qix, you get a sense of urgency while trying to capture areas and the time limit adds to that. However, the controls don’t seem to respond about 20% of the time. Out of five motions you make, one won’t take and you will end up dying. To be fair you have unlimited continues as you only lose score by trying again. The ultimate goal is to get a high score but since the controls don’t work, you will not be inspired to play this game for long.
Vision Is Constricted
Since there are enemies that kill you by crossing your path you want to keep an eye on them while you move around. That sounds like a smart plan but you can’t even fit a quarter of the open area in the screen at a time. I lost count of how many times I was killed by an enemy that flew in from off screen. It is very frustrating and makes you question why you are playing the game.
Broken Capture Rule
While my other complaints could possibly be considered as an added level of difficulty but my last cannot. Over a dozen accounts during my limited time with the game did I capture an area without receiving any score for it. I would fully surround an area with roads and the ground would turn to the city texture but no buildings would pop up. I would then have to divide the area in half multiple times (making building pop up) to try and salvage as much of the “dead zone” as possible. I am sure if I tried long enough I would be able to determine what causes the bug so then to avoid it. However, it is just the final nail in the coffin for this game.
With the title Urbanix, you can’t really tell what type of game is behind the channel in your Wii menu. Oddly enough, playing the game won’t do much to tell you what type a game it is either. There is no presentation to speak of. There are no instructions on how to play or what to do. From the first, pixilated loading screen you see, to the time you shut the game off from frustration, you won’t ever have a complete grasp of what Urbanix is all about. Unresponsive controls, lack of instructions and broken game mechanics result in a lackluster game that you have to pay five dollars for. You could easily go to Newgrounds or Kongregate and play a similar, better working game for free. Sadly, the only compliment I can reward Urbanix is that it actually exists. Let the mystery of the title live on by avoiding Urbanix and spending your money elsewhere.
Final score – 1/5
Total play time – A little over an hour
Defeated approximately 40 levels over the three worlds
Review copy provided by Nordcurrent