After finding that you'll have to zoom in to check your mail, zoom out to go back inside the house, then zoom in again to make sure that neighbor you’ve invited over for some nighttime naughtiness is even of the desirable sex, you'll come to realize that a full-blown Sims game is just too big for the DS.
Regardless of the result, the Sims Studio must be commended for offering DS owners an experience similar to that found on the PC. Unlike the previous handheld Sims releases - which were more character oriented adventure games - The Sims 3 allows you to build houses, buy furniture, and even explore the town much like you traditionally would. It’s an impressive amount of content and depth for a handheld game.
The controls and interface are intuitively organized and work quite well. The camera is controlled by the physical buttons, and all of the information and statistics are displayed cleanly on the upper screen. Most of the game's action takes place on the touch screen, where you'll use your stylus to interact with your Sim and the world around him/her. But the best controls in the world can’t compensate for the game feeling too heavy.
The Sims 3 attempts to pack too much detail into a relatively low resolution device. Without zooming all the way in, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a dishwasher and an oven or a telephone and a pile of trash. Differentiating between Sims can be similarly difficult, removing any potential emotional connection you could make with the game’s characters.
Our least favorite part is the fast forward. It simply isn't fast enough. Working 9am to 3pm on the game's fastest speed will take you five real world minutes. Five minutes where you have virtually nothing else to do. Every virtual day. The same issue is present while your Sim sleeps at night. It’s a whole lot of waiting when you add it up over the life of a Sim.
If you are a lover of The Sims, and either can't get enough of it or simply don't have access to any other iteration on another platform, you'll learn to tolerate this game and perhaps even grow to love it. This DS version is an admirable attempt at maintaining the franchise’s original expansive feel, but unfortunately it’s also the least favorable way to experience The Sims 3.
Nov 3, 2010