We take a look at the PC version of MySims.
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 11th December 2008
- Developer: EA Games
- Publisher: EA Games
- Release Date: 2nd November 2008
So, with previous Sims games you have been able to build and customise your own homes … great … but how would you like to try it with an entire town?
This is what My Sims offers you. When faced with the word “Sims”, one could be forgiven for thinking of little 3D families who whinge when they don’t get enough sleep or throw a tantrum if they don’t have enough fun, but none of this applies with My Sims. For a start, the characters resemble a cross between happy playmobile people and children’s cartoon characters and these guys don’t care if you never let them use the toilet!
This time, the aim is not to raise an entire family of almost identical people, you control one character and after rolling into town on a train, you are expected to turn around the town’s fortunes and encourage new residents to live there. Despite having the same makers, this game is nothing like any other Sims games and makes a welcome break for the franchise.
The first task is to create your character which is a pretty simple job. You get to choose from a number of hairstyles (with various colours), a few basic face types and skin colours and a few different outfits and that’s it, you’re done! No fiddling with abnormally large noses and no tweaking oddly shaped eye-brows, just create a very basic “Sim” which you play the game with.
From here, your quest is simple. You must make the town flourish by greeting new visitors and, if you like the look of them, building them a house so that they can become a resident. The tricky part is, all of the NPC’s have certain preferences as to how they like to live and in order to make them become happy residents, you must satisfy their wants and needs by searching for ’essences’.
Essences can be found all over the land and are split into six categories including cute, geeky, spooky, studios, fun, and tasty and each character has a preference for one or two of these essences. Take my favourite character for instance, Goth Boy. He loves all things spooky so make him a bed with a bit of ghost essence thrown in and he’s happy! Well, as happy as a Goth could ever be, anyway.
Essences can be picked from trees, fished from the rivers or foraged from the ground and as various characters begin to ask you for specific things (such as a wardrobe with 10 apple essences) you will be required to go off and collect the apples from the trees (which you can plant yourself around your town) before heading to your workshop and building the required item.
The workshop allows you to build any item that you have the blueprint for and these can be used to satisfy residents or to decorate your own house. The blue prints work in a kind of jigsaw manner. You are given a number of blocks and shapes and you must then fit them together as the blueprint suggests. Once it has the required pieces, it magically transforms into whatever it is supposed to be. You can also add your own bits if you’re feeling fancy … I felt most creative when I added evil looking spikes to Goth Boy’s bed posts!
So that’s basically what My Sims entails. Meet a new visitor, build them a house to their specific liking and they’ll move in and become loyal citizens. Various characters will continue setting quests for you to keep you busy such as “I need a new Ice Cream stand to open my shop, can you make me one?” or “How can I open my library without a bookcase?” and it is then up to you to make use of your workshop.
In between tasks, there is always something to do around town. As you wander around you may bump into a happy character having a picnic on the grass. Join them! Sit down beside them, tuck into the food and indulge in conversation. Or if the spookier side is more your thing, join the darker characters for a night time séance summoning ghosts and generally just being weird!
You can make use of your very own garden too; planting various trees and plants so that you always have a healthy stock of essences at hand for when they’re needed. As you progress through the tasks, your star rating will increase and new areas of the map will become available for you to explore and house residents.
It’s all very addictive for a while but unfortunately, the appeal doesn’t last too long. Once your empty lots are filled, the game tends to slow down as the point of playing further seems to drift away. You can only hold 99 of each essence at a time so once they’re all filled up, your residents are happy and your town is doing well, you may find yourself becoming a little lost with what to do next.
Graphically, the game is impressive. Full of bright colours, cartoon style characters and lush environments but, although you are able to interact with most stuff, you can’t customise much. All of the houses look the same, just with different paint and you can only plant trees in designated areas so even the land isn’t that changeable. Still, MySims is pleasing on the eye. The game’s audio is good too with areas having there own distinct and fitting sound. Walk past the emo girl’s house for instance and you hear a depressing drone of church style organs, walk past the Italian Restaurant and you hear a cheerful Italian beat blasting out. The woods are full of creepy sounds whilst the desert area holds eerie ‘tumbleweed’ noises.
Personally, I think a pretty accurate way of describing this game would be “The Sims, for kids”. It’s happy, it’s cheerful, it’s innocent and childish and with its bright environments and cute characters, it’s sure to be a hit with younger gamers. For the adults, I don’t think there is a lot here to hold your interest but if you’re looking for an easy game to pick up and play for a couple of weeks, My Sims could be what you’re looking for.
Review Score: 7.4/10
Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy. More on MySims >>
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