|System: Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Redwood||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 18, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
The previously extreme complexity of PC titles in the Sims series has probably turned away many younger players, though over the past few years we've seen efforts to remedy this through experimentation with different pared-down iterations of the game for consoles and handhelds. The quality of these experiments have run the gamut, although it seems with MySims for the Wii, EA has finally nailed a formula that's palatable to younger kids, while still fun being for adult gamers. Not everyone will love every change made in the game's structure to accomplish this endeavor, but the series' transition to the Wii is ultimately a success.
For a series that has always been about forming social relationships and interacting with other characters, MySims embarks in a direction longtime Sims fans may find somewhat disappointing. Though your character can interact with objects and people, as in other Sims games, this portion of the gameplay is downplayed in favor of an emphasis on collecting and building. Anyone who enjoyed either of the Animal Crossing games will find some pleasantly familiar elements in MySims, aside from the overtly cutesy presentation. Instead of micromanaging the myriad needs of an entire family, players control a single individual charged with the task of improving and managing the town community. Thankfully, there are no meters constantly tracking your bladder functions, stomach capacity, sleepfullness, or other base human requirements. MySims lets you take things at your own pace with a decidedly less stressful approach, and without a difficult learning curve, making it easily accessible for both kids and adults to dive right into.
You'll start by creating your Sim, which can be customized with an expansive range of clothing, hairstyles, facial designs, and even different voice timbres. From there, you move to a town which has fallen to shambles when its resident builder takes off. Possessing the necessary carpentry and design skills, you're recruited by the mayor to spruce up the town and attract residents back into the community. Players are immediately given their own house and a workshop, both of which can be designed and built from scratch. The goal in MySims is to build your town up from a zero star nowhere-ville and turn it into a five star community. Though there's plenty of other things to do along the way, you're time will primarily be spent engaging in a combination of foraging and building activities to increase your town star rating.
As new Sims gather at the town hotel each morning, you'll be able to greet them and invite them to move to town. Some Sims are key characters who will open up new businesses, while others, called "townies," are just regular folks seeking to join the community. Once a new business opens in town, the owner will ask you to build certain items for their shop. The building system in MySims is ingenious. Rather than purchasing new furniture items for your home, or for other Sims' establishments, you have to construct them from scratch using a variety of different shaped building blocks. Players must use the Wii remote to grab blocks and pile them, in LEGO-like fashion, in the right pattern on a pedestal which can be rotated and zoomed. Different blueprints are acquired as Sims request items, or as a reward for helping someone out. Furniture requests also often call for specific essences to be painted on them in assorted combinations. Essences can be obtained from interactions with Sims, collecting fruit, excavation, or by other means. For example, giving someone a huge will often yield happy essence, or occasionally a sad essence, picking up a red apple with give you a red apple essence, stamping out a flower will yield a thorn essence, and so forth. Sims will be drawn to essences which fit their personality type. When used to infuse furniture, essences paint themed colors or patterns. It's possible to make a bacon-themed fridge, or a chocolate cake bed, among other things. Collecting new essences is a lot of fun, and it's also possible for players to easily get sucked into spending hours simply building new furniture, not to mention refurbishing their abodes.