Urbanix (WiiWare)

Game Review

Urbanix Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Henry Stockdale

This tractor's a little bit rusty

Nordcurrent don't have a great record when it comes to WiiWare, having brought us the some stinkers such as Robin Hood: The Return Of Richard and 5 Arcade Gems. Now we have Urbanix, where you play as a tractor who is simply trying to build a town on an empty field, while cloning the gameplay of arcade classic Qix. However, while it's a marked improvement over previous games, it's still a bit lacking.

Urbanix only features one main mode in the game. Your aim is simply to claim as much land as possible within the level by carving out sections of the stage for your buildings by jutting out from the edge and landing at another edge point without getting bopped by roaming enemies. The larger the section you create, the more points you earn, and stages end when you fill a points gauge within the time limit. It can also be played in a 2 player co-operative mode, which simply involves two of you working together to get the stage completed, but sadly not in any competitive form.

The game features over 150 levels across 3 different terrains: Earth, North Pole and Moon. Earth is the only one available from the get-go, with the others unlocking as you play. These other two feature slightly different gameplay, in that you have to go over the land on the North Pole terrain twice, and the moon terrain three times. While this at least adds some variety to the game, the repetition feels more annoying than interesting.

However, it's not as simple as that as these levels contain enemies looking to put a stop to your construction efforts. There are 3 main types of enemies you'll encounter in the game: landrunners, which are your basic enemies and simply run from one side to another; helisharks, which actively run after you, requiring you to shake the Wii Remote to get free if they catch you; and housecrashers, who destroy the buildings you've created.

Your biggest threats are generally the landrunners, as you will lose a life when they run into your construction line, creating an element of risk when attempting to create bigger areas. If the enemy is inside your area when you hit the road on the side of your map, then nothing gets created on that side. You also get a wide range of power-ups, such as a speed boost, a shield, extra lives and slowed time, which compliment the gameplay well.

However, there is a game-freezing glitch that sometimes occurs when an enemy runs into you while picking up a power-up, but fortunately this is a rare occurrence. Outside this glitch, though, it's generally quite a fun game and any fans of Qix should enjoy what's on offer here to some extent. The problem is that, while nothing is particularly poor about the game, it begins to feel a bit stale after a while despite the alternate terrains available.

On the technical side of things, the game utilizes a graphical style that is aimed at children, such as the use of anthropomorphic tractors and bright colours, but the 3D models can be a bit ugly at times.


Overall, while it's a bit stale at times and not particularly original, it can still be a fun experience. It doesn't particularly excel at anything but nothing is really done poorly either, and at 500 points for 150 different levels, any fans of Qix-like games could do well to take the plunge.

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User Comments (11)



Bankai said:

Wasn't released in Australia. However I'm not the biggest fan of Nordcurrent (or its Qix clone that was released on PSP under "5 arcade gems mini"), so I can't say I'm disappointed in this one.



Sean_Aaron said:

Given that I have the excellent Volfied on my Japanese console I can't say I'd be terribly tempted by anything short of an excellent Qix clone.



Ren said:

I like the Qix games idea in general, but it's rarely been re-done well, sadly. And it seems like it'd be an easy thing to re-hash. I'm one of the idiots who got "Critter round up" just for a qix fix and boy did I regret that.
Do I have to mention the old arcade "Gals Panic" out loud. Despite the... uh, unsavory content, it was actually the best qix clone made and had some sequels in Japan. I wish someone could release a new version of that somewhere (maybe tone it down to "sexy poker" images or something; yes I mentioned that too, but I never bought that one)



argus said:

Hm... the review left me still undecided on this one. I like Qix, and this is only 500 points. I also like the style. But I can see how it could get stale.

My main concern with this game is that you can't see the entire playfield on screen. It looks like they should have included a minimap or something. How can you keep track of where the enemies are if you can't see them until you're close?



Omega said:

I've tried the demo and I am not convinced of this game. The graphics are not that bad but the gameplay gets quickly repetitive and adds nothing interesting. I think the review score is too high, given that much better games like Robox only have a 5.



Bass_X0 said:

the gameplay gets quickly repetitive and adds nothing interesting.

Then you would probably dislike all Qix games.



KaiserGX said:

I actually liked the demo, I didn't like how the menus and pop ups look though.



rjejr said:

I don't know what Qix is but I have played a similar game on either Steam or Real Arcade with spaceships. My biggest complaint in this version is the zoomed in map. I understand this is done to make the game more challenging, but so would closing my eyes and using the force, only that would be my choice and here I don't have one. Nobody is going to want to play the game this way. I just don't understand not having a zoom or minimap or a choice. Oh, and the helicopters just seemed stupid.



HardToBe said:

yeah after playing the demo I'm completely surprised that the review did not mention how utterly awful the zoomed in camera is. I think that it would be a fun game otherwise, but not being able to see the entire map at one time is ridiculous

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