Yoot Tower, a 1998 sequel to SimTower, confused a lot of people on release as i a lot of respects it is the same as its predecessor in all but name. Maxis owned the 'Sim' brand at the time but it was Sega who put up the money to publish this game and therefore named it after the game designer, Yutaka 'Yoot' Saitō.
Despite looking very much like its predecessor (a flaw many reviewers liked to point out), it adds a lot to the game-play including different locations, extra rooms and multiple towers. You start the game with the option to choose between Hawaii, Tokyo and Kegan Falls with each have their own set of difficulties. For example, Kegan Falls require you to build underground, while Tokyo presents a fast-paced metropolis where all of your skills are necessary. There were extensions planned for the game to add up to eight new scenarios, however, three were cancelled and the remaining saw only a limited run in Japan where its sales were more favourable.
While looking very much alike, all these additions changes the focus of the game, giving a greater emphasis on the tower's inhabitants. This was very much by design as Saito, who had worked on SimTower, felt the original did not feel like a true simulated tower. He therefore retooled some of the dynamics in the game to try and fix this; directing people has been given greater emphasis and the happiness of the residents and visitors have become crucial to success.
To this end it plays much more like Theme Park than it used to and is all the more fun for it. The only downfall that I'd like to point out is the graphics and interface design. At first glance it is easy to confuse the game for an application. The toolbars can be hidden using the familiar menu bar that all windows have, and each toolbar operates in its own window, not fixed to the game screen. If I took a screenshot and added it into MicroSoft paint, you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference.
Saito himself has become something of a legend amongst game designers. This was perhaps his last game that could be confined within a single easily named genre. His next game, Seaman for the Dreamcast, features a fully interactive, human-faced fish that you can converse with using a microphone and he would later introduce us to the voice controlled strategy-pinball genre (population: 1) - Odama for the GameCube. His latest, a 3DS e-Shop release called Aero Port focuses on the joys of airport baggage handling. Needless to say it's an eclectic career.
Yoot Tower is certainly the least weird on his game-making resumé. It is also the most accessible. It is easy to learn, yet hard to master and like all good management strategy games can take hours from your life. Why not give it a try yourself, at the very least to understand why a review post such as this can be a day late.
To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber. It will run natively on Windows so you can ignore the false incompatibility warnings when you begin the game. It is playable in higher resolution modes but for easier play, you may want to change to 640x480. Tested on Windows 7.
Version 2 - Improved installer.
Yoot Tower is © OPeNBooK9003
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me