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MySims

The Sims

It’s one in the morning, my eyes are bloodshot, I’m starting to see things in pairs and my hands are cramped. My body is telling me to shut everything off and go to sleep, but my brain (what’s left of it at this point) begs to differ. Don’t worry, I’ll hit the hay in a minute; I just need to finish making this table. If I don’t, then my kitchen will look unfinished. Just need to make one more thing then it’s quitting time, I promise this time. Ok… just two more things, the wall cabinet and the matching chairs. Ah screw it; I’ll keep playing MySims until my eyeballs fall out. Only then will I take a break to place my eyes back into their weary sockets and resume gameplay.”

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The laws of time and space play by their own rules in this universe. An hour in MySims is roughly double that in our time. So when you put the Wii remote down and look up at the clock, it’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a serious case of amnesia because you will be wondering where all that time went.

There isn’t much of a story here; a small town has lost its sparkle and it’s up to the players to rebuild your town name of choice, into something that will bring in new habitants by the bucket load. It sets up the game nicely, and after a quick tutorial session with the Mayor of Aids Town (yes, that’s what I called it), players are set loose to go about as they please.

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“The laws of time and space play by their own rules in this universe. An hour in MySims is roughly double that in our time.”And boy is there a lot to do be doing. The main crux of the game involves getting people to move in, and to do this you need to build houses, museums, nightclubs and all kinds of places essential for a society to thrive. It’s all extremely user friendly; the game has enough building blocks, roofs, windows and other accessories to allow player’s imaginations to run wild. It’s odd however, that while say, your house will appear to be two stories high, that will never actually be the case. The interior’s structure remains the same, which is a shame considering past Sims games have all allowed for this.

If your town is going to really thrive and develop it’s own unique personality then you’ll need essence. It’s the stuff that makes everything in MySims tick, and it comes in all kinds of forms. It can range from simple red apples to more unorthodox items such as gingerbread men, videogames and 8-balls. How you earn them differs, some essences require you to ‘prospect’ them using a metal detector (apparently, cakes can be found in the forest floor). While gaining happy essences for instance, involves speaking to the other sims. It’s good fun at first and you may chuckle at some of the things you find, but when sims ask you to make an item that needs 20 of something, it soon becomes a bit of a grind and a chore, rather than a pleasant, leisurely distraction.

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Designing things is relatively straightforward. You’ll be given blue prints (which are obtained by performing tasks for other sims) that give players a basic outline of your item. The game is quick to tell you not to stick too close to the blue print and creative freedom is always encouraged, and pretty much mandatory if you’re going to have any fun with MySims. There’s enough customisation here to please players who enjoy this genre, and beginners will find themselves gently eased into the designing experience. You’ll rarely feel over-awed by the wealth of options available.

“If your town is going to really thrive and develop it’s own unique personality then you’ll need essence. It’s the stuff that makes everything in MySims tick”MySims has taken a different visual approach this time around, sporting a more quirky, cartoon-esque art style. Whilst the game on a technical level isn’t very impressive, environments and characters are brightly coloured and full of charm. So it’s easy to forget that it looks like an early PS2 title. What isn’t so easy to overlook are the frequent loading times and crippling slowdown. For a title that isn’t up to much in the aesthetics department, you’d think it wouldn’t suffer from these aforementioned problems. But it happens all too often and gives MySims a very stop-start feel, and for a game that will have players moving from house to house, area to area on a regular basis, this can be quite off-putting.

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It’s a lonely world here in MySimsA lot of people have compared MySims to Animal Crossing, and there are certainly some similarities. However, the biggest omission from MySims is undoubtedly any kind of online functionality. It’s odd that players can’t visit other towns and share items. As a result, the MySims universe is a lonely place, and will only serve to entertain the player and not anyone else. The biggest problem with MySims is that unlike past iterations, there’s an unhealthy balance between social integration and construction. Any interaction with a sim is usually business related only, so be prepared for long hard nights in your workshop because that’s all you’re apparently needed for, not that keeping an eye on sleep, food, water and personal hygiene is ever a problem. While this keeps the game moving forward it strips any kind of emotional connection between you and the other sims, exposing your town to be a pretty hollow place to live.

MySims is an entertaining, and extremely addictive experience. For novices to the genre it’s a nice start off point thanks to the user-friendly controls, eye-catching visuals, pleasant sound track and progressive pacing. It’s a game that needs to be played at a few hours at a time, and whether you like it or not, that’s exactly how long you will spend on MySims. Is it worth the full asking price? That’s dependant on how much work and effort you’re willing to put in. If you’re prepared to do some extra overtime in your workshop for the good of the town, then there’s plenty here on offer to keep you occupied for a good long while.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2007.

Gentle persuasion

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