Five minutes in, one thing was clear. Despite our best efforts to kill the trees and build a vale of torment that would leave its residents a quivering mess, “Animal Crossing” would have been a more appropriate name. MySims ignores all the things we loved about The Sims proper, such as attending to your character’s bodily functions and creating the kind of psychological tortures that make Guantanamo Bay look like Scout Camp.
Instead, you’re rebuilding a failed town – customizing and constructing houses and furniture from magical essence blocks. The better you do, the more people move in, and the more world you can access. That’s about it, really. There’s none of the complexity of even Viva Pinata. Much like Spore, the fun comes from creating things. Building houses stops being fun the first time you discover the interior bears sod-all relation to your carefully slapped together exterior. Boo! Luckily, building furniture is more fun. Yes. Really.
Every item starts with a blueprint, but the only bits you have to include are the important ones: the mattress part of the bed, the seat of the chair and so on. For the rest, you have free range, building both with blocks and ‘Essences’. What this means is that if you find an apple, you can either add it as part of your design, or paint more standard blocks in its colors. Essences can be everything from 8-Balls to purple crayons, and each Sim has specific tastes. Some like ’em cute, others prefer spooky.
Finding the bits can be a pain, though. Some are easy, such as red apples. Others are infuriating, like the stones you need early on to build a pizza oven. You have no pointers as to where to look, and the many rocks littering the landscape don’t count, so you’re left to scour the map with your metal detector until you find the blessed things near the train station. Or to be more exact, you cheat and ask Google. Later item requests usually mean a lot of hunting around for bits, at least until Ikea moves in and destroys your custom furniture business with the power of affordable Swedish crap. Probably.
MySims is cute and very simplistic. There’s not much to it, little replay value, and after a couple of hours, you’ll feel like you’ve seen it all. On one level, you haven’t – there are lots to find. On a more practical level, you’re right. Saccharine sweet as this Sims Lite is, it’s definitely more for kids and Wii owners than fans of the main series.
Dec 11, 2008