MySims Party Review for Nintendo DS

MySims Party Review for Nintendo DS

Let’s Party Like it’s 1999

Electronic Arts has been doing quite well with its new MySims series. With prime shelf space in mainstream retail outlets and a game presentation that is perhaps perfectly suited for Nintendo’s “expanded audience,” the publisher has hit pay dirt with the franchise. The latest in the series is MySims Party, a game that takes many core features of past MySims games and adds to that a mini-game compilation.

MySims Party screenshot

If you’ve played either of the last two DS games in the MySims series, you’ll likely get an immediate feeling of déjà vu. The setting and premise are pretty much the same here, as your main task is to attract new dwellers to the game’s sleepy town.

When you first load up MySims Party, you’ll be prompted to pick a gender for your Sim, choose a hair style, skin color, clothes, name, etc. However, you’ll also be asked to assign skill points to your character, and your Sims’ attributes play heavily into your performance in the mini-games.

Upon entering your new town, you’re greeted by a young Sim in a dog-eared hat. He’ll give you the lowdown regarding your primary objective as a new citizen and show you around, acquainting you with key areas and Sims. The mayor has decided to hold a series of festivals in hopes of attracting new neighbors, and it’s up to you to put on a good show for the tourists passing through.

Like past MySims DS games, you’ll have your own home, which you can make subtle changes to – new roof, door, windows, etc. Home is also where you’ll hang your hat so to speak; you can change your Sim’s hairdo and clothes here, as well as create new Sims with different attribute settings.

MySims Party screenshot

Which brings us to the mini-games…

MySims Party consists of 12 different festivals (mini-game tournaments), and when you win first place in a given festival, you’ll attract new residents to your town. In turn, these residents bring with them new mini-games, which you’ll then play through in future festivals. It’s a great formula that works especially well with the MySims town-building thrust. The basic premise is exactly the same as the past two DS games, but the process of building up your town is a whole lot more fun this time around.

Each festival consists of a handful of mini-games, with the number of mini-games increasing as you progress through MySims Party. The later festivals require a bit more commitment in terms of time, but the game offers a nice pace with a fair bit of challenge.

MySims Party screenshot

When you create a Sim, you’ll divvy out skill points to them in three key areas: Power, Speed, and Technique. Most festivals consist of a collection of minis that focus on a specific attribute, so you’ll want to use Sims that have the highest number of skill points in a certain area of concentration. Additionally, each individual mini-game has a rating for what attribute(s) it offers the most challenge in. You can team up Sims before entering a festival, and choosing the right Sim for a particular mini-game will maximize your chances for success.

There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved, especially with the addition of play cards that allow you to boost character stats or cripple the stats of your opponents. Cards can be purchased from one of the stores in town, and new ones are unlocked after completion of various festivals.

Unfortunately, not all of the mini-games are actually all that fun to play, and it’s surprising just how many of them don’t use the touch screen. All of the minis play into the vocation of the Sims that MC them, which is cool – you’ll play through a rhythm mini hosted by the resident musician, or shampoo hair when prompted to by the town’s hairstylist – but for the most part, the minis are cheap knock-offs of the Mario Party series.

MySims Party screenshot

Still, there are enough entertaining mini-games to keep things interesting. Assembling flower bouquets, mixing chemical concoctions, and playing DJ are good fun, and there’s quite a lot of variety. A few of the games are pretty mundane or weak in their design, but none of them are broken or unplayable. Ultimately, though, it’s nice to have some real incentive – besides merely talking to tourists – for getting new Sims to move into your town.

MySims Party also incorporates a few gimmicks lifted right out of Animal Crossing. You’ll often be enlisted to deliver packages to other Sims or spread the word about a particular shop, and by successfully completing these tasks, you’ll score new items, as well as make friends with the solicitous Sims. When a Sim becomes your friend, you can then use them as a teammate during festivals.

You’ll still get many of the customization options from past MySims games, such as new hairstyles, clothes, and doodads for your house. New hairdos will definitely give your Sim a noticeably different appearance, and there’s plenty of variety in terms of outfits. However, MySims Party offers an even more simplified experience than past DS iterations, and some of the shops sell the exact same items as one another.

MySims games have always played it very safe in terms of aesthetics, and MySims Party looks and sounds almost exactly the same as the past two DS games. That’s probably going to be the biggest factor folks will want to consider when contemplating buying this game. If you’ve played either of the other two MySims DS games, even the mini-games here will be a hard sell.

The graphics look good and run smoothly; the Sims are cute and animate nicely; the environments are varied with some nice, little touches. But again, it’s mostly everything we’ve already seen in past games. Really, MySims Party is almost a cut-and-paste of the first MySims DS, with the mini-games offering the only real, new attraction in terms of visuals.

MySims Party screenshot

The audio presentation is also mostly untouched. The familiar MySims themes are all intact, as are the low-impact sound effects. It all works just fine on DS, and honestly – though MySims Party feels pretty generic – the game’s production is more polished this time around.

MySims Party takes the same premise from past games in the series and melds it with a mini-game collection. It works. It’s actually exactly what this series has needed. Mini-game collections, in general, are pretty played out, and the MySims DS games have paled in comparison to their console counterparts. But putting the two elements together makes for a more interesting experience younger gamers will likely appreciate. However, much of that appreciation will, undoubtedly, be based on whether or not you’ve already played either of the previous MySims DS games. As nice as this marriage of simulation gameplay and mini-game compilation are, the overall experience still feels a tad too familiar.

We’ve seen most of it before, but it still looks really good on DS. The character models and playful world are a nice fit for the handheld. 3.7 Control
Control of your Sim(s) is easy and intuitive, and most of the mini-games play out fine. A few design choices are questionable, though nothing ever feels broken. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Again, nothing new here, really, but themes and sound effects get the job done. 3.4

Play Value
It’s a good coupling of gameplay types that makes simulation more entertaining whilst offering more to do than merely playing through mini-games. However, most of what’s offered in MySims Party looks and feels awfully familiar.

3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Mini-game Madness: Stick the trick in the extreme snowboarding challenge. Outrun a robot in Robo Assault or shake your groove thing with DJ Candy during the Go Go Dancing Challenge. You can also use items to give you an edge! Challenge your reflexes, strategy, smarts, and speed with a huge variety of games.
  • Use the Uniqueness of Each MySim: All the MySims bring a unique combination of skills. Strength, endurance, speed, and luck all play a part in how well they play. Select a team of four who will propel you to victory in every mini-game.
  • Party On: Any get-together turns into a party with up to four players playing 40 mini-games on the the DS. Quickplay modes get you and your friends to the games fast.

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