Atlantis Underwater Tycoon Review (PC)

They say man's future on earth lies beneath the seas, that sometime in the near future, humanity will build vast underwater dwellings and live beneath the waves. In a new offering from Activision and Anarchy Enterprises, Atlantis underwater Tycoon, players can build these cities of the future. Along the way, you will meet up with other characters, sea life, as well as the underwater dwellers themselves, the Atlanteans!

The game is reminiscant of the Sim City series, and works similarily.

It's cool to see various creatures floating around as you're building your city.

The game is a real time simulation of underwater city building, somewhat similar to the Sim City series, but differing in both flavor and setting. Your job as a city planner and builder is laid out in a series of tutorials, which show each aspect of game play. In the first tutorial, you learn the basics of building placement, the way to layout travel tubes, and how to have submarines link tubes at different sea levels.

You always begin with a home base, and expand from there. As the tutorial opens, you have the choice of a large number of characters to choose to play as. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses with which to work with, and will determine the ease or difficulty of the missions you undertake.

There are a number of different buildings to chose from in the game. The game is laid out rather simply, there are pull out menus along the lower left of the game screen. These menus show the buildings that are currently available to build, your financial status, as well as the effectiveness of your city in several key areas, such as population happiness, tourism value, and sea life. There is also an overhead map feature, so you can see the exact lay of the land, as well as all building and tubes already placed. The game also has speed up and slow down toggle switches that are readily available.

The first order of business is to have a place for your people to live, and there are several types of homes for your people, such as bubble houses, condos, and if you can afford them, dream houses. The game has a 3-Dimensional view, so you can inspect each dwelling from all angles, and if your close enough, you can see the people of your city in the buildings, and moving through the travel tubes. There are also various forms of sea life swimming around, and this can be increased or decreased, based on your actions.

The menu system is very newbie-friendly and makes it a cinch to create buildings.

The game's graphics are colorful and vibrant.

Once you understand the dynamics of leveling ground, as well as city and tube placement, the following tutorials begin to walk you through the game's many options of play. The tutorials show you how to build and maintain the differing types of cities available, and also demonstrate how to dig for buried treasure, how to search for, and mine the undersea floor, as well as military options. Each choice effects happiness, sea life, tourism, and possible profit. For example, if you decide to run an underwater prison, people will not be happy in your city, yet you will make a lot of money. If, however, you decide to base your city around tourism, you can build a number of attractions to entice people to your city.

The tourism option, as well as the sea life, brings a number of interesting buildings and possible sea life. In the game menu, there are 'keys' you can buy, which are game triggers for buildings, as some buildings require other kinds of buildings or research be bought before they become available. You can build things like Dolphin petting zoos, turtle farms, even Shark breeding farms. These structures show the type of sea life they reproduce as a 3-dimensional image atop the building, and over time, and if you can afford it, it produces the type of sea life that the structure is named for. This has a very positive effect on tourism, city happiness, and eventually, profit.

As you construct new buildings, you will need food sources for your people, in the form of buildings, of course, as well as power to light the buildings and make them operational. If you lack enough people, or don't have enough power, some buildings won't function. Each building can be clicked on to check it's status, and this also includes information on both the positives and negatives it provides for your city. These are shown as as colored circles, green for positive, red for negative.

When certain buildings are constructed, and certain keys paid for, you will unlock Atlantean structures. The Atlanteans help with happiness, tourism, and if you build them a castle, they will contribute soldiers for defense. And you may very well need this military help, as the game will throw random disasters at your city, one of these being a military attack.

The scenery is usually very nice in Atlantis: Underwater Tycoon.

There are large amounts of missions for you to attempt to complete.

The military buildings available to your city include walls, as well as sonic cannon, missiles, all the best that human society can provide. They are all available for a price, of course, and military structures offend the Atlanteans, and make people unhappy, so try to build them far from the heart of the city. Combat is handled by you taking command of a given military building, this is done by clicking the check mark above the structure, as only military buildings have this, it is easily distinguishable. Once you have done so, you are provided with a target indicator, activated by your mouse. This is a little tricky to use, as the movements are not fluid, but react to the slightest movement. There are no target indicators, you have to look around to spot the enemy. In fact, you get no warning of an attack at all, outside of distant explosions in the sound track, or if you see the enemy subs attacking, or the depth charges falling. Since the targets are moving, you must lead them a bit when firing to score hits, but a single hit will destroy an individual attacker.

After you have mastered the basics, it becomes time to build new cities, and complete missions. Atlantis provides a number of objectives for each city type, such as building 50 of a type of sea life, or amassing a certain number of prisoners, or perhaps a certain profit margin from tourism. Animated characters will talk to you before each mission, as well as in the tutorials, describing what should be done to learn, and than to accomplish the missions you undertake.

The one drawback I found with this particular game is there is no concise summary of expenses and profit margins. There are percentage indicators, as well as provisions to make and repay loans, but this part of the game is not well defined or illustrated. I had to watch the running tally of my available money to know how I was doing financially. This isn't too severe a drawback, as the game visuals are very well done, and the look and feel is quite excellent, with a snappy music track that plays throughout the game. There is also a visual depiction of night and day, and the game keeps track of the passing of time.

Enemy attacks are nothing to scoff at and should be dealt with quickly.

A lot of the buildings designs are creative and fun to look at.

Top game moment: Building a prosperous city underwater, coming under attack from enemy subs, and quickly mounting a counter-attack so as not to have your hard work obliterated.

With a number of well done buildings, some nice planning, and an interesting theme, Atlantis Underwater Tycoon has a lot going for it as a game. If your looking for a city builder with a twist, something out of the ordinary, than Atlantis Underwater Tycoon would be worth your time.

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