The Urbz is basically The Sims with people who would've been in SSX, but couldn't get there early enough because their hair needed doing. Still, the title's got a 'Z' in it. Rock! It's not even The Simz. It's more rock than that. It's The Urbz. Woo! Stoked!
Is that annoying? Then you're not going to like this. Clearly aimed at a very young market that aspires to be all teenage and grown up - and suburban American and white and BMW-at-17 rich and middle class - the whole thing's been hosed with the essence of The OC, Beverly Hills 90210, Clueless and like, totally whatever.
And these goddam kidz are just so hard to kill. Even forcing them to stumble around until every one of their meters flashes empty and they collapse in a puddle of their own privilege-fragrant wee wee doesn't finish them off. Worse, you have to actively stop them trying to have some fun - or a slash - on their own. It at least takes some responsibility off you, though once at this level their mood gets so bad they're next to useless anyway. Great.
So you, you stoked dude, remain trapped in an endless cycle of babying. Bladder, hygiene, nutrition, fun and sleep levels must all be kept up, and sorting any one has a knock-on effect elsewhere. Feed them, for instance, and they need the loo. Take them to the bog and their hygiene level drops. Give them a shower and their fun level suffers. And on and on and on.
But The Sims is like this, and sells furiously. So what's new? Well, The Urbz ignores most of the kitsch and interior design for reputation-building, achieved by wearing the right clothes, getting tattooed (woo!), pierced (totally stoked!) and talking to strangers. When not plodding between beds, showers and toilets, of course. You unlock a variety of absurd greetings and moves - like catching your own spit or dancing with a glow stick - and work to buy new clothes so you can fit in with the other shallow arseholes. It might look bohemian but it's actually very conservative... but we're being cynical. Anyone who sees The OC as gritty social realism will love it. It's about as wacky as a childproof medicine bottle, but, like, it's got piercings and a 'Z' in it. Stoked?
The Urbz: Sims In The City is out now for PS2, Xbox, Gamecube and GBA with a DS version to follow next year