The best selling Sims series continues with a solid stand alone game that follow The Sims 2 series format while having its own rich narrative and options. This laptop friendly PC game lets players choose the in-depth storyline of Riley Harlow, or free play, which allows customizable characters in the Four Corners community.
The smaller screen size (you can play in window mode) allows convenient visibility for other running programs (e.g. email, etc.) and the keyboard shortcuts are nice. In The Sims 2, you could always hit Windows button to switch, but this new window is sized to fit IM bars on the side so you won’t miss a beat in your real social life. The game also has an auto save feature, which automatically pauses whenever the laptop lid closes.
Players can quickly become multitask masters in this series launcher. Like the other Sims 2 games, players must achieve Sims aspirations to advance in the game, otherwise the pace of the story will take too long, defeating the overall purpose of this newly simplified series. The story resembles the PSP version of Sims 2 as well.
Check the family journal to check your progress and you also might want to investigate the supporting characters, like Fiona, in the free play mode before starting Riley’s story, which is challenging at times to finish story arcs. For example, as you sit for dinner, your date will follow you, but finishing the dinner itself is another challenge.
Players will eventually discover how to shape shortcuts on their own like turning on lights while doing other activities and quickly “Xing” out activities as soon as Sims get achieve creativity points. Got a nasty environment and a few extra bucks, hire a maid to clean up as you leave to a community lot.
Game developers miss opportunities for different skill building books when visiting different areas, but on the flip side, who gets out of the house to go read? They do succeed with money making opportunities like barista and a personal trainer who helps novice exercises from falling off their treadmill for a couple of bucks.
Traveling also has other advantages like buying food on site to save that hefty $50 delivery cost. These advantages also prompt you to get out and achieve goals instead of staying at home. Some players might feel manipulated into the various goal challenges and “wants/needs” problem solving.
The game has enough story twists and turns to give any soap opera a run for their money. You may even grow quite fond of Riley or the bonus character, high tech tycoon Vincent, and his life long search for love. You can unlock Vince’s story after finishing chapter three of Riley’s story.
This game is definitely not “Sims 2 Light” or a “lesser version,” just simpler. The wide scope, including several new objects and building products/designs are still there and players can take activities as far as they want. Ideal for people who’ve thought about getting the Sims 2 but haven’t tried it yet. This “on the go” series caters to more audiences who will probably end up exposing the game to even more people as popular Sims domination continues.
Sims Life Stories is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes and Violence.