LGR – SimTower – PC Game Review

LGR – SimTower – PC Game Review

[theme music] [fizz, sip] Aahhh! [typing] I have a feeling this is going to be hard. Along with SimAnt and SimCity 2000, SimTower is easily my favorite classic Maxis Sim game. So whenever I get requests for
games like this, I always hesitate because as I much as I love to review it,
I know the chance is there that it won’t be very neutral since I love the game so much
and have for almost 15 years. But whatever. Here we go. SimTower was released in 1996 by
Maxis for Windows and Macintosh, however, it wasn’t developed in-house. The game was originally known simply
as “Tower” in its home country of Japan. This is actually the second of
three Japanese Maxis games, along with A-Train and SimTunes. Being created by the legendary Yoot Saito, the guy behind such quirky classics as Seaman, you know you’re in for a unique experience. [synth strings] [knocking] You begin the game by creating a new tower
with nothing but a plot of land and some funds. There are no scenarios, no quest to complete. The only real goal is to create
a tower that is… successful. Now what constitutes success? Well, that’s pretty much up to you. One way to quote-unquote “beat” the game is to reach a five-star rating for your tower, that being the pinnacle of recognition
among other towers in the game. But you really don’t have to.
You could just build a tower of condos, an office building, or fill it with
restaurants and garbage dumps. These might not be as profitable as a balanced tower, but you could really do whatever
you want if you want… to do it. As such, it really fits in well with the other Sim games, where you don’t have an exact goal but simply use a set of tools to play with and a system to simulate and see what happens. Looking at the tools you are provided with may give you the impression that the game is about
physically building a tower structure and layout. After all, you have tools for lobbies,
elevators, floors and basement levels, but you won’t be seeing anything
about actual tower fidelity or structure. No girders or support beams to place. This called SimTower,
but it may as well be called It’s not a simulation of the building of a tower with blueprints, corporate deals and engineering, it’s a simulation of the people in the building. It’s sort of a catch-22, if you think about it. You need to build a tower to attract people, but you need to attract people to build the tower. Fortunately, Sims are excessively curious creatures, so once you build a lobby and an office
or two, the Sims will start wandering inside and spending their hard-earned Simolians. Once you have a lobby, you can start building upward. Laying floors is the first step, followed by populating those floors
with rooms for the Sims to rent, like condos, offices, cafes, hotels and even movie theaters. Of course, you’ll need to provide
a way for your Sims to get around, so you have access different
types of elevators and stairs. Now how all of this actually works
together is a pretty complex simulation that happens to have a nice and
approachable user interface. Honestly, it’s just a great example
of genius in game design. The best way to think of this
is a vertical version of SimCity. Your lobbies are your power plants, elevators are roads, and the type of tenants are the residential,
commercial and industrial zones. You even have emergency teams and
waste management later in the game. As a kid, this really opened my eyes to the ideas of perspective and perceivable scale
and contained universes. The idea that a tower itself is almost a living organism, teeming with life and pathways,
like it’s own city within a city. It’s just mind-blowing when you finally
realize what it is that you’re looking at. Maxis games just do a superb job with this and SimTower is one of the better examples. Your tower isn’t just another building, it’s a reality within a greater reality. It just happens to be filled with
persnickety, pissed-off Sims. Yes, that’s right: your Sims have personalities. See, you could build a tower any which way, spending funds left and right with
no real regard for human interaction. But if you do this, you’re screwed and will have lots and lots of Sims red with anger. The query tool is very useful in this regard. Just click on a Sim to find out where they’re going, where they work or live, and what they’re angry about. You can then use the same tool on the different tenants to see if they’re having trouble or causing the trouble. For instance, a movie theater or an
office next to a condo or hotel is bad news because of the noise it causes. Placing a café near a lobby or elevator are great because of the traffic, but placing a high-end suite next to the same place might be bad for exactly the same reason. It’s all about balance and harmony, finding that perfect pattern to model your tower after to achieve maximum efficiency. As long as the tenants and guests remain happy, calm and provided for with a minimum of stress, your tower will thrive. Happy Sims are productive Sims. And productively happy Sims pay their rent. So as each day comes to a
close and the next one begins, you’ve got your cards placed right,
then the rent starts rolling in, accompanied by that awesome, pleasing sound effect. [ka-ching, ka-ching] Doesn’t that sunrise just look awesome? I freakin’ love the ambience on display here. This is the kind of game that you
wake up early in the morning to play with a cup of joe in one hand and a mouse in the other. There are several things that can
happen that affect your tower status, like insect infestations, finding buried treasure, VIPs visiting and even bomb threats. So as soon as you fall into a building pattern that you think is gonna
take you all the way to the top with easy success, something comes along and screws up your day just enough to give you a little jolt back into reality. SimTower is great. If you like SimCity at all, I would highly recommend giving SimTower a try. Even if you don’t, I’d still recommend trying it. Unlike some other outside-
developed Maxis games like A-Train, SimTower is very easy to pick up and play with, even if you really just don’t know what you’re doing. It doesn’t take very long to get a general feel for
what’s happening to your tower and how to improve it. But it takes an absurd amount
of playing to really get a massive, 100-storey five-star tower that is self-sufficient. If I could list one flaw, it would be that it could use just a bit more. More businesses, more tenants, more random events, and just a pinch more depth. This was exactly what happened
with its sequel, Yoot Tower, and it’s really the same game, just expanded. Honestly, both games are exceptional, so if you want a strategy sim with a
little bit more of a different feel to it, give the Tower games a try and calm some angry Sims down.

100 thoughts on “LGR – SimTower – PC Game Review

  1. i played this game a lot when i was really young although i had no idea what i was doing. those sound effects are really nostalgic.

  2. Would this work on windows 10? I'm looking at getting an old version via amazon. I loved this game when I was a teen… (now I'm….ahem…37…cough….)

  3. I had almost all the Sim classic games except Sim Earth and Sim Life. I had Sim isle which was difficult for my young mind or maybe it was buggy. I had all others but lost them over the years due to having a younger brother that loved to swipe them now I have nothing. Except Sim City 4 that I bought from a freds because all my other copies had disappeared. I miss all my old games.

  4. I LOVE Sim Tower! My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to turn on my iMac G3 and just play until 10PM.

  5. Wow, I forgot about this one! Talk about a grade school throwback…I loved this and a few other sim games.

  6. I played this game for so many hours It was crazy. Too bad they are so obsessed with The Sims that they aren't re-releasing games like this and SimAnt and SimSafari.

  7. I enjoyed most of the Sim games. I played SimTower a good deal, but it had some design flaws that were never corrected.

  8. Oh I love SimTower. I have long since lost the original install discs but I have a copy of it on a thumb drive in all its 13 meg glory. There's also a fantastic remake on Steam called Project Highrise that I quite like. It feels like SimTower but has a bit more depth and difficulty. If you love SimTower like me you definitely need to at least check it out.


  9. I played this game to death until I got the cathedral on the roof,but never worked out the lifts things.

  10. I played the hell out of this as a kid. I would name tenants after myself and each one of my friends and would always stop to see what they were doing when I saw a blue sim in the tower.

  11. hey LGR,
    Where would i be able to play this game today? any suggestions? i used to play this game as a child myself and loved it dearly


  12. Loved sim Tower but I got to a point that half my offices all moved out and would not get new tenants until I changed the rent. I could lower it by 1 and increase to where it was and people would move in. Leave it until pay day and half of them move out again. Make it cheaper to rent, same thing happens.

    This was along way into the game so I had the chaple so I don't think my issue was everyone was angry or I wouldn't of gotten that far but it meant I stopped playing as every time rent was due I had to go through dozens of max width floors adjusting prices which took ages.

    Just another old game that I stopped playing due to something that felt like a bug. Theme hospital being the other, 3 levels from the end and receptionist stopped seeing people, so my rooms had zero people waiting but a huge queue at reception. Deleting the desk and placing a new one worked for 2-3 patients but then the bug came back. So it suddenly becomes a desk deleting sim.

  13. Recently found the modern version of this, but the memories of this are forever burned in my mind, i miss Maxis. (not EA, they ruined it all)

  14. Got this game on Christmas day from my dad. I was 13, but I threw a tantrum and yelled at my pops when the game didn't work. I finally got it going, but I still regret acting like such a child. My pops was spending his cash to make my Christmas better, and all I could do was act like a little cunt.

  15. One of my best memories of this game was watching my cousins play and build up to maybe a 4-star tower then a fire broke out. Just seeing them panic as an inferno was blasting through everything was one of the funniest things I've ever witnessed.

  16. The GBA version of this game: "The Tower SP" is actually surprisingly pretty good, just as complex, but the field of view is a bit restrictive.

  17. I remember playing this game but not liking it. I didn't like how it felt like running a boring program in windows.

  18. Anyone looking for a game thats free today with similar concept try out Fallout Shelter. Instead of a tower you are building a fallout shelter. Similar game mechanics and being newer it has a bit more detail.

  19. I remember playing the shit put of this as a kid! I do recall "beating" the game by getting the 5 star rating, filling every single usable space you could build on and making sure every single business/tenant in the building "happy". Like, literally every square inch of building space was used One of the most satisfying moments in my gaming career.

  20. i played sim tower as a kid, I loved it! It took me a looooooong time to finally get a 5 star building. What drove me nuts was the lack of elevators i could build.

  21. I loved SimTower so much, I kinda figured out how to play A-Train but without an instruction book or the internet and being like 10 progress was slow.

  22. Here i am, 9 years later, playing fallout shelter and thinking "wow what a unique and new gameplay!" thanks for the review is very interesting to see the past!

  23. I didn't know about this one. Too bad they don't bring it and some kinds of agriculture Sims back. RUN THE WORLD! City town state farms and ranch. A whole continent.

  24. I actually got to five stars/floor 100 in the Mac version, and all of the dialogue boxes near the end of the game were still in Japanese.

  25. I thought for the longest time I imagined this game. I remember I used to sit at the computer with my dad and watch him play. I only got a go at it a couple times but man was it good. I could spend hours just watching all the people moving around, like peeping into one of those tacky ant farms. Honestly it brings a tear to my eye

  26. I remember playing this at my grandma's house in South Carolina. It was the early 2000's and I was a teenager. To avoid going out and working in the hot garage all day with my Grandpa in the 90+ degree heat. Compared to putting mulch around all the plants and mowing the lawn, this game was tight.

  27. Anyone looking for a modern game with a similar style (despite some bugs and UI issues), check out Project Highrise (also reviewed by LGR here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBJMVaRBst0).

  28. Wooowwww man…9 years since you put this video out. Daaaang. My kids hadn’t even started school yet and they’re now in 8th grade.

  29. I dont remember when, but I heard SimTower was an elevator simulator actually. As you said, it's an impatient people simulator.

  30. man, I don't know how or where I got this game, but I remember playing Sim Tower for hours when I was in middle school.

  31. Sim Tower was awesome. I have trouble getting it to work on my computer these days but I still feel the craving to try and make my dystopian subterranean condo complex to this very day.

  32. I remember I made a 5 Star Hotel on Sim Tower. Of course I had to cheat early on being Hotel rooms are not available at first so I had to make the tower something else at first. By the time I was 4 Star I was making an idiotic amount of cash per day. But the cash was really up and down and unstable, being you relied on filling hotel rooms some days you wouldn't get many rooms filled. But it was still possible to make a 5 Star Hotel as I eventually achieved it. It was pretty awesome. =D

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