MySims Kingdom Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Last year saw the release of MySims on the Nintendo Wii. Rather than be a ported version of The Sims, it was a game that was specifically designed for the console and it was all the better for it. It was a game that was essentially a mix of games such as The Sims and Nintendo's Animal Crossing, topped off with cutesy style visuals. The game had its share of problems but on the whole it proved to be a success and it's no surprise that we now have a sequel in MySims Kingdom.
The game is set in a kingdom which has many different islands. The kingdom is ruled by King Roland, a kind and wise ruler. Long ago he ordered his wizard to make special sceptres that had magical powers. Those who were to wield the sceptres were called Wandoliers. Sadly there are no more of them as they all retired and moved away. The whole kingdom has feel into a state of disrepair and as a result the Sims are not content with life. Such is the state of the kingdom that King Roland has decided to pick a new Wandolier and lo and behold that Wandelier is you.
As the possessor of the Wandolier it's up to you, and your two companions, Buddy and Lindsay, who keep you company on your journey, to explore the kingdom and put things right. Putting things right involves using the Wandolier and building or repairing things for different Sims. You won't have the ability to build anything you like to begin with. You have to obtain the ability to build objects by finding the required essences, detailed on the scrolls you're given, in order to have the ability assigned to the Wandolier. You'll then need mana in order to build with. Mana is found all over the kingdom but should you ever run short, Lindsay can use her Transmute power to change your spare essences into mana.
As you visit the various themed islands in the game you'll often need to socialise with other Sims to win their favour. This is something you didn't have to do in MySims but you'll certainly need to do it in MySims Kingdom. For instance, early in the game there's a character who has an axe that you need to chop a tree down. Initially she won't give you the axe but after engaging her in conversation, using the socialize ability and not the talk ability, you'll begin to win her friendship and she'll be so overjoyed that she'll gladly give you the axe. None of this socializing bogs the pace of the game down and it's all done with a minimum of fuss whilst adding a little more personality to the characters in the game.
The controls are just as pleasing here as they were in last year's MySims. The Wii remote and nunchuck attachment are used and the level of control this affords is much better than in any other Sims game on a console. Certain actions require you to shake the remote but it's always in a gentle fashion and always intuitive. Two of my bugbears with MySims were technical problems. The frame rate would plummet on occasions when there was no need for it to do so. Loading times were frequent and rather long. MySims Kingdom is definitely better in this respect. Load times seem much shorter and the frame rate definitely seems much more consistent.
Visually the game still has that cutesy look, so if MySims' visual style put you off then MySims Kingdom won't do anything to change your opinion. Personally I think the look of the game is just right and completely suits the game's target audience. The various islands in the game all look good and have their own distinctive appearance. I particularly like the way the developers went out of their way to make each of the characters in the game look unique as it adds personality to the game.
Deaf gamers won't have any problems with MySims Kingdom. The Sims speak in their traditional gibberish so text is shown for all of the dialogue and you'll be able to follow the game's storyline. All of your objectives are shown in text and you're notified, by an icon on the top right of the screen, when you've completed an objective. You can recall them at any time which is useful if you've spend a considerable amount of time away from the game. All tutorial messages are in text. There are certain tasks when you have to listen for sounds (such as mining and using the metal detector). This isn't a problem however as the sounds are visually represented in a colour-coded fashion so you're getting the same feedback as hearing gamers would which is excellent.
If you enjoyed MySims then it's pretty much guaranteed that you will enjoy what MySims Kingdom has to offer. Several aspects of the game have been tweaked a little and the result is a game that's more enjoyable. The storyline is definitely more interesting in MySims Kingdom and the various characters in the game seem to have more personality and a greater sense of humour. Moving between the different themed islands and having to deal with the problems on each of the islands helps to make the game more varied and feel less repetitive than MySims. It's great to see that some of the technical problems from MySims have been ironed out too. There can be little doubt that MySims Kingdom is one of the better games we've seen on the Wii this year.