Finally released on PSP, Wii, Atari 2600 and Acetronic, Ultimate Belgium Simulator is the latest in the line of European simulators from the people at Chipfat Games. Some would say it’s the most eagerly awaited; the gaming community is desperate to see if the company can overcome the poor reception that last year’s Austria Simulator suffered. Will Belgium be as good as Slovenia and Wales? Or was Austria the start of an unfortunate trend?
Well, the Imaginary Review has played the game from beginning to end, and we can state that if Belgium is anything to go by, Austria must have been a solitary blip on the Chipfat landscape. The game is full of excitement and adventure, packed with mini-games (the Chocolate Factory race is a personal highlight!) and satisfying puzzles.
Beginning with the declaration of independence in 1830, the gamer is taken through the Berlin Conference of 1885 and the German invasion all the way through to the Congo Crisis of 1960 and the adoption of the Euro several years ago.
The attention to detail is superb. As you wander around the streets of Brussels and Antwerp, each cobble and thatch is beautifully rendered. All the Belgian politicians of each era are recognizable, and at one point you may even notice a cameo appearance from a certain Belgian movie star! (Hint: You won’t have to be a ‘Universal Soldier’ to detect him!)
If there’s one drawback to the game, it’s that there’s not enough emphasis on the politics of Belgium, arguably the country’s most enjoyable past-time. Designing the perfect waffle and defending the banks of the Congo are one thing, but the game could do with a little more on the ‘debating sugar import concessions’ front.
Of course, this is just splitting hairs. Ultimate Belgium Simulator is a wonderful way to take control of a European country, and you don’t need to resort to relentless campaigning and character assassination to do it!
An expansion pack will be available in October. The next Chipfat European Simulator will be San Marino.