Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
MySims isn't the first Sims game to appear on the Wii but it's certainly the first version that feels like it was designed from the ground up for the console. The Sims 2 Pets essentially felt and looked like it was a PlayStation 2 port and it didn't play to the console's strengths. Those simply expecting a 'cutesy' version of The Sims 2 will be in for a surprise however. In fact it would be more accurate to describe MySims as a mixture of The Sims and Animal Crossing; a mixture which actually works pretty well. In MySims the characters don't have needs. There is none of having to make your character visit the bathroom and there are no sexual themes here. In fact MySims is probably the most child-friendly version of The Sims to date.
Your first task will be to create your character and choose a name for your town. When you're done the game will then show your character arriving in their new town. Essentially the task before you is to restore the town to its former glory. The town is initially in a rundown state. Previously there had been a special resident who had the power to use Essences to build virtually anything. When this special resident left however, the town began to slowly fall apart. As luck would have it, you also have the same special ability and it's up to you to use Essences to restore the town and build everything its inhabitants’ desire.
You'll begin by building your home and workshop before going on to do a few jobs for Mayor Rosalyn and then moving on to do jobs for the town's few other inhabitants. Jobs in MySims invariably involve you building what the citizens want and covering them in the required Essences. The more you please the inhabitants, the more new citizens you will have arrive to stay. New guests arrive at the town's hotel and it's up to you to create a suitable house for them and when they are settled in you'll have to build things for them. The town starts off small but as you progress in the game your star level will increase and you'll gain access to the tools that essentially unlock additional areas. These additional areas contain new Essences and can be developed to allow your town to expand and take in more citizens.
Essences come in many varieties but what is important is how they add certain qualities to objects. Your town's inhabitants have different Interests. These Interests are Cute, Fun, Tasty, Geeky, Studious and Spooky. Each Essence adds one of these Interest qualities to an object. For example, if you're making a table for a Sim who has a Spooky Interest then you'll want to add Essences that give the table a Spooky quality and therefore you'll actually be making the table more appealing for them. You'll obtain essences in all kinds of ways. Some grow on trees, some have to be dug up, some can be fished for and some have to be extracted from the Sims themselves by either being nice or nasty to them. Collecting Essences is a major component of the game and it's something you'll be doing a lot.
Another thing you'll be doing a lot in MySims is building. You'll get to build new homes for all kinds of people and you'll also get to build furniture and all kinds of objects that the citizens may require. Building objects is actually a pretty straightforward process. You simply pick up the required blocks and place them in the same position as the translucent blocks on the object's blueprint. Once you've placed all of the required blocks, you can add additional shaped blocks to give the object a unique look. For most objects in the game you'll also have to apply specific Essences to the blocks that make up the objects. For each Essence there are a handful of patterns to choose from. Of course you don't have to apply an Essence to every block that makes up an object and you can simply choose to paint the others. Whilst you can build houses in any style you desire (or remodel existing houses) it's a shame that the interiors always stay the same, regardless of the external appearances so if you have slanted external walls, on the inside then will appear perfectly normal.
Whilst the controls in console versions of The Sims (and The Sims 2) have been OK, they have never been intuitive. The same cannot be said about the controls in MySims as the game makes very good use of the unique controls that the Wii offers. You'll play the game with the Wii remote and nunchuk attachment. The nunchuk analogue stick moves your character around and the directional pad on the remote controls the camera angle. The cursor is moved around by the Wii remote and to do things such as shake Essences from trees you'll place the cursor over the tree, hold down the B button and shake the remote to shake the tree and make the Essences fall to the ground. By far it's the most natural control scheme to be found in a console variant of The Sims. The interface is good too and I particularly like the way you can open the map and place a marker on the location you want to head for. On returning back to the main screen you’ll see an arrow that points the way to the location marker that you’ve placed. This makes finding your way around town effortless.
MySims has a very cutesy look to it that's almost cartoonish. It's a look that suits the game well and definitely pitches the game at the same gamers who appreciate titles such as Animal Crossing. Unfortunately there are a few technical issues with the game. The load times are both numerous and tedious. The frame rate is prone to dropping quite low on occasions too, even though there's nothing here that should be stressing the Wii hardware. These problems aren't exactly game damaging but they are unfortunate given that the game has been designed from the ground up for the Wii hardware.
Deaf gamers won't have any problems with MySims. The Sims speak their usual brand of gibberish and there is no need for subtitles. Any requests you are given are shown in text and any important conversations, such as when you meet Mayor Rosalyn at the start of the game, are shown in text. All important information and tutorial information is shown in text. When you're using the metal detector to try and find Essences small sound arcs will highlight when you are approaching the location of something that can be dug up. There are no captions for various sounds in the game such as when the Sims laugh or when Essences are extracted from their various sources but this poses no problems for deaf gamers.
Ultimately whether you're going to enjoy what MySims has to offer will come down to what kind of game you're expecting. If you're simply expecting a version of The Sims that takes full advantage of the Wii hardware then you may be disappointed with what the game has to offer. However, if you're expecting a mix of The Sims and Animal Crossing and don't mind having to do without constantly managing the needs of your Sim then you'll enjoy what MySims has to offer. The technical issues the game has are unfortunate but the controls work very well and for the most part the game is enjoyable. There's definitely room for the series to develop and I hope to see more MySims titles in the years ahead.