MySims presents another stand alone Sims experience where some previous Sim game elements remain while other elements are logically omitted (i.e. terrain options, etc.) without hurting the high quality appeal. This high-profile one-player simulation game uses strong prompting colors/visuals and creative construction, which matches up with the Wii game interface very well. The Wii controls accelerate some multitasking functions in the game. For example, players can shake trees while picking up falling items at the same time. Sit in a comfy chair with arm support unless you really want a serious arm workout, especially during the building process.
The widened character design improves facial expressions, replacing balloons above the head seen in previous Sims games. Build the main character on a spinning platform (also used in the building process) and change their appearance later in the game by looking into a mirror. The controls allow direct changes by selecting the corresponding part of the character body instead of showing a long list of options – a big plus. Players can also change the voice to match their character creation.
No time deadlines and minimal fatigue provide an excellent “go at your own pace” format. The only advantage to making night into day (or vice versa) is to collect different items through activities like item prospecting and fishing, which always display an exit option or allow players to simply move away for easy navigation.
Basically, players build tasked items to fulfill townsfolk desires and wants, which improve the town’s overall star rating. The main character must often talk/interact more than once to get desired tasks. This game doesn’t really end after achieving a top town rating of five stars. A five star rated town with a 100% ratio in one essence unlocks special character(s).
Keep the pocket book at home because this game concentrates on community building and six new essences – geeky, studious (wait…aren’t those the same?), spooky, tasty, fun and cute. Each essence has its own associated colors (two for each – blue, green, purple, tan, yellow and pink, respectively) and two textures. Decorating items with essences depletes your item collection so plan wisely and follow directions. Exterior changes won’t affect the interior where painting can also include basic colors to match the essence colors.
The building interface can be challenging while providing endless creative opportunities. Producers take the guesswork out of completing an assigned task with a checkmark icon and prompting sound when you meet the minimal requirements (stars designate spaces that must be filled). Some visual aids (e.g. yellow arrows lining up doors with sidewalks) may elude younger and/or less experienced players. Working from the bottom to the top helps.
The small pieces can also be challenging. For example, this reviewer could place the top piece of a chair, which became an errant piece lying on the ground. Luckily, this gaffe didn’t really impede any game play, but overall, these My Sims reveal any inaccessible items, especially when they’re not interacting or near other characters. Want to move a misplaced item? Just move previous placed items during the next item delivery.
Players can crank out a full and fast production based on helpful templates or freestyle creations, which expand as you increase your range of social interactions (good and bad). Completed items are stored in one very useful and magical backpack. Players can also interact with these new masterpieces once placed in the desired setting.
The main character does the work/building and has the power to move people in (check the hotel for newbies) from a large interchangeable set of townsfolk, who can be removed – without killing them (remember this one’s rated E). Each character gets a specific sound theme and gives instant gratification, indifference or disdain when receiving items from you. Be sure to store valuable work and/or reclaim essences before evicting unwanted townsfolk.
Some notable town attractions include the costume shop, haunted house, museum, disco, library and movie theater plus two important sites – town hall and the hotel, where you find new characters to move in. The town population can grow to about two dozen people (from an extensive cache of about 80), plus you can expand the town after unlocking different areas (e.g. desert, forest) using special tools.
Load time lags a bit in transitions, but the constant music lets you know nothing crashed (never had game stoppage). Any level of player can quickly adapt and enjoy with helpful tutorials and constant guidance. This title has leisurely paced challenges where players can test problem solving skills and benefit from instructional learning, counting and social behaviors.
Multiplayer and online options would be great in the future (now you get three save slots). Also, possible future installments might allow more assignable tasks to your good friends and neighbors (they do water flowers on their own) as a reward/continued interaction showing trust or community building. Creative cooperation definitely makes My Sims a spectator game, especially for fast, creative builders after they get past the initial learning curve. This entertaining game features an instant save option (the minus (-) button) and has a very high replay value. A great free style game title completely workable for all ages.
My Sims is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for comic mischief and mild cartoon violence. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS.