The Sims Seasons expansion will have you spamming the 'motherlode' cheat on repeat, because it's packed with new items, new activities, and some serious weather conditions. After a solid 20 years of Sims addiction I wasn't sure that adding a bit of rain and a Santa Claus was going to change much for my collection of little people, but then I got harassed by gnomes and fell in love with EA's simulation spectacular all over again.
As the name suggests, Seasons brings spring, summer, fall and winter to The Sims 4, along with new activities and holidays for each of them. There's scouting, flower arranging, beekeeping, and a brand new calendar interface for keeping track of all the seasonal events. Ever respectful of its very diverse audience, EA has decided to go with generic names like Harvestfest, Winterfest and Love Day, but you can rename them as you please and even add your own bespoke holidays and traditions, including streaking. International Rachel Day is going to really be something in Sim world.
A sting in the tale
A stickler for doing things properly, I started in spring to see what one of my existing sim families made of the new perks. Mango Shenanigans - oh because your name is so great? - didn't think much of the rain but seemed very excited about the new beehive in her garden. You can steal their honey, but you can also bond with them, and use the swarm to attack anyone who hasn't shown you sim the proper respect. A trained army of attack bees? Don't try and tell me Sims 4 isn't hardcore gaming.
She's also started making a pretty penny making flower arrangements - one of the new creative options in Seasons - until I decided to brighten up the yard with a simple bit of rustic charm. I got a scarecrow, but then my sim kept getting distracted from her flower arranging side hustle and wandering off to talk to him. Worse, when she made jokes, he seemed to laugh. They're getting along famously, and while there hasn't been a romance option yet I can't wait to see where this new relationship goes.
I'd like to say bees and chatty scarecrows were the weirdest part of the game, but I'd be lying. At first it seems to mainly be about constant leaf maintenance, raking them into piles, playing in them, risking neighborhood annihilation by burning them. Ignore them and they start to decompose, then you're just that person living in a trash pile. Then the game's version of Thanksgiving rolled around, and it with it came the gnomes. Oh god. The gnomes.
Hell hath gnome fury
I'd spotted some cute little gnomes in the Seasons special items and thrown some around the porch for the homey, Grandma won the lottery vibe. One had a little bear suit, one was ghost themed, it was all very cute. But come Thanksgiving, an option opened to give them gifts, and more gnomes appeared, the group of them materialising in different rooms of the house in a sinister manner. One even looked like a little Death, complete with robes. Some I managed to appease with presents of pie or toys, but one stayed furious. At least, I think that what him being on actual fire signified - the other gnomes had halos by this point - and when I tried the 'plead for forgiveness' option I got struck by lightning. It was nightmarish.
It's one of the best things about the Sims, things aren't always what they seem. The developers love to throw in weird and wonderful surprises along with the realism and interior design options, and it means the perfect life you're planning for your mini me can go wrong at any moment. Even the gnomes I had placated seem to have left gifts, so my home was scattered with packets of seeds for days. It looked like a garden center had thrown up on my carpets.
Father Winter is coming
Winter is probably the most satisfying of the seasons, just because snow and Christmas (or Winterfest) offer up so many new activities. You can build snowman, have snowball fights, decorate the tree and cook up a turkey or ham, ready for Father Winter to arrive with presents. Just be aware that depending on the sim you've cultivated, you could end up on the naughty list. My evil sim followed all the traditions required for a jolly Winterfest, but let herself down by getting into an actual punch up with the seasonal visitor. He still stuck around for sugar cookies, but I feel like it's distinctly lowered my chances of getting a pony in my stocking next year.
The changing seasons and weather definitely help stop the blur of days that can happen when you're powering your sims through life at fast forward speeds, and can make even your vanilla gameplay feel new. If nothing else, you'll be doing some of your chores in adorable new raincoats. This being sims, you can mess around if you get bored too, adjusting the length of seasons, or even investing your sim savings in a weather machine that gives you power over the elements. This being The Sims 4, there's definitely potential for it all to go horribly wrong.
We simmers are an insatiable bunch, and nothing makes up happier than new toys to play with. Seasons is one of those especially satisfying expansion packs (like Pets before it) that you can use to actually change the way you play and the stories you tells, adding another layer to the pungent sim onion. The expansion will play nice with any other Sims add-ons that you already have too. None of my adopted cats - from the Pets expansion - froze to death when confronted with winter's icy touch, and my vampire sim seemed to enjoy the summer festivals without charring at the edges. Now that's inclusive content.
The Sims 4 Seasons expansion requires base The Sims 4 game to play. It's available on PC and Mac currently, with no word on when it'll arrive on Xbox One and PS4. We reviewed Sims 4 Seasons on PC.