The Wii has too many party games. I am not the first person to say this, and I am quite certain I won’t be the last. However, despite the over-saturation of party-style games, some titles in this genre are actually pretty good. Titles like WarioWare and the Rayman Raving Rabbids series are great examples of how this genre can be done correctly. When I started up MySims Party I was actually quite hopeful this game would be another one of these well-done party titles. I thoroughly enjoyed the series’ previous iteration, MySims Kingdom, and even as a seasoned gamer, I could appreciate its RPG elements and thoughtful puzzles. However, both of these elements are gone in MySims Party, and this title definitely doesn’t live up to expectations.
The game is formatted rather awkwardly; you play by going through a series of linear “festivals,” each with their own set of 3-7 mini-games. You are only able to unlock one festival at a time, and the only way to do this is by getting first place in the previous festival. This seems like a very poor formula for a party game, as the idea is generally to jump right into the gameplay and not have to worry about unlocking content.
Even though the initial structure of the game was enough to put me off of this party title, I was still willing to give it a legitimate chance. However, as I started going through all the different festivals, I noticed everything felt very familiar. From the Diner Dash-like food challenges to the “waggle with the beat” mini-games, almost all of the mini-games felt like titles lifted directly from Mario Party or the Rayman series. I was very dismayed that some of the puzzle content from MySims Kingdom was not incorporated, and even though there are brain teaser levels (normally involving pushing a few blocks around), these are extremely simplistic compared with even Mario Party puzzlers, which is quite a stretch indeed.
The only real difference between MySims and any other party game is the implementation of a stat system. Each Sim character you can choose to play as has various strong points and weaknesses in areas like luck and strength, which will help your character gain an advantage in challenges that utilize these strengths. And if your character does well, they can even improve their stats. Although this is a good idea in theory, the different festival rounds are too short for the various stats to make any kind of difference, and I found that in most strength-based challenges, a +1 strength character will work just as well as a +3 strength character.
But as anyone will tell you, putting familiar-feeling mini-games in a collection such as this is not exactly unique, and some might find the repeated gameplay elements actually good for young children. However, what is not excusable here is the hit or miss control. Like other mini-game collections, MySims Party uses a lot of waggle-based control for mini-games, and when it does, it fails miserably. For instance, one mini-game requires you to turn the Wii-mote around a horizontal axis in order to scoop ice cream. However, this scooping motion does not really ever work, unless you turn the Wii-mote very slowly. And of course, when you move slowly, your A.I. competitors will get the best of you and you will lose anyway.
However, not all the news on the control front is bad. Some of the mini-games, particularly those that do not use waggle, were actually quite fun. For instance, there is one mini-game that involves jumping on lily pads like a frog and uses the Wii-mote on its side to facilitate the action. The controls in this particular mini-game only involved the D-pad and the 2 button, and as such were quite satisfying. Still, despite the presence of games like this one, I would say that bad waggle control ruins about 30% of the mini-games in MySims Party, which is a shame because the motion-based controls in other MySims games worked so well.
Another area that seems to be lacking in MySims Party is the visuals. Now, before you get too worried, MySims Party still retains its ultra-cute aesthetic from previous titles. The different Sims have a blocky sort of construction (reminiscent of Lego-franchised games) and have very charming facial expressions and outfits. However, the visuals this time seemed to lack a bit of polish, and I noticed a lot more of those pesky jagged lines in this title.
Another aspect of the visuals that was disheartening was the different environments. While previous games in the franchise have featured lovely, themed environments, the main area in MySims Party just features some green grass and a few trees. Even the mini-game environments suffer from an overly bland look, each with very simple design and few elements besides those involved in the actual gameplay.
The sound department is also quite bland, featuring repetitive tunes and voiceovers. Even though the characters still do speak in Simlish (the official language of any Sims-based title), they only say a handful of lines, which are repeated over and over, and I found myself saying the lines in Simlish along with the characters during heavily replayed lines. The music is also very repetitive, though you will find new tunes accompanying the various festival levels and stages, which can provide some relief for weary ears.
When I look back on my MySims Party experience, my one overwhelming emotion is disappointment. I was so pleased with the MySims franchise up to this point, but I really feel like this party-style game tarnished my image of MySims as a whole. Although I used to associate MySims with simplistic yet engaging gameplay, MySims Party certainly falls under the “just another party game” heading, which is sobering indeed. However, I have to say that even though I was severely disappointed with this title, I am still hopeful for MySims Racing, which is the next entry in the MySims series. Hopefully, that one won’t be “just another kart racer.”
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.8 Graphics
Characters do not look as polished as they did in previous MySims titles, and the environment looks a little on the bland side. Still, there is a very high “cute” factor at work here, which is the visuals’ only saving grace. 3.1 Control
The controls work in about 70% of the mini-games. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad ratio, but I would have still expected more from the MySims franchise. 2.9 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is minimal, and the Simlish is repetitive. I know Simlish always has some repetitive elements, but when you are able to repeat certain phrases verbatim, that is a problem. 2.8
The linear mini-game festivals are an immediate turn off, and the low quality of the mini-games themselves just add to the frustration.
2.9 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.