To Catch a Thief
May 27, 2009 – The MySims franchise seems to be taking off, and EA are wasting no time in expanding the boundaries of these chibi townsfolk. In just three short years, we’ve seen two simulation games, a mini-game collection, and now MySims Racing is on the horizon. So, what’s next for the series? How about a true adventure where customization takes a back seat to hard-boiled investigation? MySims Agents for Wii (also slated for DS) goes where no MySims game has gone before.
Like other games in the series, MySims Agents will allow you to create a character of your choosing, but rather than focusing on town building and repair, you’ll set off on a quest to defeat the evil Morcubus, a power-hungry baddie determined to gain possession of the Nightmare Crown. Along the way, you’ll recruit other MySims to be part of your Sims Protection Agency. Though you’ll be doing a fair bit of investigating for yourself, your recruits will also aid you by completing various missions as well. Thus, MySims Agents makes for a refreshing mix of old-school adventure, strategy role-play, and even a bit of platforming tossed in for good measure.
Being a busy beaver has always played a prominent role in Sims games in general, and MySims Agents is no exception. Your headquarters is a five-story building that will house the nuts and bolts of your operation. You can doll up each level as you see fit, though the décor isn’t merely for show. Each item and piece of furniture added to a room will offer some type of statistical bonus to your MySims agents, and since each level specializes in a specific type of investigative niche, you’ll want to be strategic in how you set up shop. From there, you can send out MySims on assignments and have them report back on their progress.
It’s not all micromanagement, however, and you, too, will have to roll up your sleeves and dig into the adventure. Not to fear, though, as you’ll have a healthy selection of gadgets at your disposal, and new items will be introduced in order to help keep the gameplay feeling fresh as you move along through the story. You’ll start off with the crowbar, a crude but effective implement that will allow you to jimmy things open and cause a bit of minor destruction. Other items include the F-Space Manipulator, which will allow you to levitate and move objects, á la the Gravity Gun in Half-Life 2 – a very cool notion when coupled with the Wii Remote – and the Uber Techno-Tool, which will let you perform a bit of “haxor.”
MySims Agents has a nice blending of gameplay elements, and you’ll be using both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in some clever and satisfying ways. The pointer controls play into various puzzles, and platforming elements help to spice up the more methodical focus of the game. Also on hand is your own personal jet, which you’ll use to navigate the game world.
When your character takes up the helm of investigation, you’ll have to combine the use of both your gadgets and wits in order to deduce the “who done it” elements throughout the adventure. You’ll need to gather evidence in order to draw concise conclusions about who may or may not be involved in a crime, and the game provides you with a case book to keep track of all the clues and bits of info you’ll collect along the way. You’ll also be given subtle hints from time to time, though the game will never hold your hand. The developers want the player to reap the rewards of figuring things out for themselves, and there isn’t always one specific route with which to solve a given case.
If you’ve played any of the previous MySims games, the visuals and overall production are shaping up to offer a familiar palette for fans. You’ll even be treated to cameos from characters of past games, as well a few special surprises related to other EA gaming properties. If you’re onboard with the laid back, ultra-cute sensibilities of the MySims series, this adventure should prove to be another neat avenue to travel down. As an added bonus, the camera system moves cinematically, which is a nice fit for the mainstream audience the series has always been aimed at.
Though you may prefer your “simsperience” to keep it simple and offer loads of customization, MySims Agents does promise to provide an entertaining tie-in for fans of the franchise. Let’s face it, these little folk are cute as can be, and the harmless world they live in is inviting to gamers of all ages. If you’re ready to take that next step into the great unknown and seek out adventure and intrigue, this might well prove to be a game with the right speed for you. We look forward to learning more about this charming, new outing at next month’s E3 and invite you to check back for more as we near the game’s release later this year.