Playboy: The Mansion

Sitting in the immaculately manicured grounds of Hugh Hefner's crenellated home, watching the sun set as a trio of barely-clad lovelies totter past, turns a chap's mind to many and varied issues. Did I remember to floss this morning? Is it safe to drink all this vodka? And: genres, eh?

Is there a future for the pimp 'em-up? Ubisoft clearly think so, as Playboy: The Mansion positions you firmly in the slippers of elderly skirt-chaser and top soft porn publisher Hef himself, who saw fit to invite several hundred games industry liggers to his house to celebrate the game's announcement.

Except you're not so elderly, starting out on the road to millionaire playboy-dom with just a few grubby dollars and a modest but promising smut business. The core of this business is, of course, the titular magazine, and you'll have a fair degree of control over it.You'll commission articles and target the mag at certain demographics, alter the price and print run, and endure the arduous task of directing the photoshoots personally. Just like life at Gamer Towers, then, but with more breasts.

It all plays out in a lush 3D world and, as in The Sims, your mini- Hef 's progress is reflected in status bars (not the only similarity to EA's trillion-seller) which are directly affected by your actions. example, our wee chap has types of relationship which all need to be satisfied: professional, casual, and romantic. Talking to the right types of people peps up your stats. Blistering stuff.Meanwhile, an Empire' mode allows you to pursue your twin goals of greed and girls. It's essentially a sandbox, but you'll occasionally be startled by a challenge like launching the first issue, reaching certain targets, and so on.

Similarly Sims, is the thoroughly customisable Playboy mansion.You can fiddle with it until satisfied you've knocked up the ultimate party paradise. But the main goal is to set up a virtuous cycle where the mag makes money, which improves the mansion, which improves the quality of your parties, which improves the mag, and so forth. the right faces (and some realworld names are licensed to appear) show up you can persuade them to feature in the magazine when they're at they're most suggestible, ie, draped with women and awash with booze.

Ah... so that's how Ubisoft persuaded us to run this...

Playboy: The Mansion drapes itself rather alluringly over your PC on 5 November