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Miami Nights: Singles in the City

For: Mobile

Girls and boys at play on the beaches and boulevards of the Sunshine State

Product: Miami Nights: Singles in the City | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: Mobile | Genre: Adventure, Casual, Strategy | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 277KB | Reviewed on: 6680 other handsets | Version: Europe
Miami Nights: Singles in the City Mobile, thumbnail 1
Guilty pleasures – everyone has 'em, even if we don't admit to them. Whether it's chocolate, slushy daytime telly or celebrity gossip magazines, they're a great way of getting though this thing called life and having a bit of fun along the way.

In the shape of Miami Nights: Singles in the City, I've found mine.

As much as it shames me to admit it, I'm hooked. It's not terribly hard to see why, though, as it enables you to live out a life most of us are unlikely to experience: that of a playboy/girl living it up in Miami.

Starting with a scant few dollars in your back pocket, it's up to you to make the most of your strings-free existence in the sunny city.

This involves getting a job, building up a group of friends and lovers and generally causing a stir on the social scene. Of course, it's not all delivered to you on a platter. Just like real life, you've got to earn a wage, look after yourself and work hard at maintaining the relationships you form.

And although the aim of the game is somewhat shallow – it is, after all, about copping off with the numerous oh-so-attractive members of the opposite sex – it's amazingly entertaining.

This is, in large part, due to the fact that you create a virtual version of yourself in Miami Nights and then live out your OC-inspired fantasies vicariously through it. You can create an almost-perfect representation of yourself, whether you're boy or girl, pick out a wardrobe and hairstyle and then hit the streets.

Although this digital life is initially confusing, your in-game housemate Bree is on hand to give you a leg up onto the first rung of the social ladder by offering you tips on how to talk to people, make friends and get dates. You even get a good word put in for you with a local bar so you can land a job.

You'll find that you quickly outgrow Bree's advice and will likely be 'hooking up' (Miami Nights' quaintly understated name for getting jiggy with your date) with someone you sweet-talked at a bar while your flatmate is still introducing you to the concept of talking to a stranger.

But that's OK – there's so much to do and explore, and it's so enjoyable that any repetition is just another excuse to go dancing, embark on a blind date or explore your neighbourhood.

You can pretty much go and do whatever you want, with few restrictions.

One limit on your shenanigans, at least at first, is that certain locations are locked to you until reach a certain level of experience in the game. This is represented by a skills and qualities ranking system that rates your intellect, health, fitness, physical appearance, charisma and more.

These rankings rise and fall with your exploits and how the other inhabitants of Miami feel about you.

Whether they like, hate or simply don't care about you is shown by little emoticons that bubble forth from their thoughts. Hit it off with someone by telling a few jokes and your charisma will rise, leading to invitations to visit new places, take on new jobs and otherwise spread your wings a little bit further.

However, try and talk sports with someone into drama and your charisma will plummet, affecting your future chances at success.

It's a pretty lifelike, if exaggerated, experience. Get shot down by the cute bloke/bird at the bar and your confidence is shaken. You start doubting your chances with future potential dates.

If things don't go the way you want, you can let off steam by beating up the bloke who's stolen your thunder or steal the purse of your rival for the blue-eyed boy on the beach. Generally speaking, you can live out your life the way you see fit, whether you're a saint or sinner at heart.

Criticisms? Yes, it's exactly like the golden-hued teen soaps that Channel 4 seems to have a monopoly on, and yes, it is unashamedly base in its approach to affairs between the sexes.

But frankly, you and I play games for a spot of escapism and Miami Nights is the very epitome of getting away from the daily 9-to-5 grind.

After all, where else are you going to get paid $500 for demonstrating a hot-tub by sitting in it every morning before hitting Miami beach and picking up a bronzed god or goddess for a night of dancing, flirty small talk and consequence-free fun?
Miami Nights: Singles in the City
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 27 October 2006
Unadulterated fun in the sun, Miami Nights is that most perfect of holiday romances
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