Despite having the word “sims” in the title, this game has very little to do with the stupidly successful EA series. In fact, MySims has more in common with Animal Crossing. Actually scratch that, this is Animal Crossing in everything but name and unfortunately it’s not quite as good.
From the beginning of our journey, we were predictably asked to create our own character. It’s a basic setup with a number of options to customise your sim including an emo haircut, which just looked stupid. Then once our little person was named and we were sent to the village where you spend the rest of gaming life. The village itself is quite impressive. Gamestyle was disappointed at first because all we seemed to see were some houses, a fountain and a racquetball court, but after some exploration we found that outside the main housing area including some nice areas for fishing and a forest to explore.
For the first 15 minutes you’re given straight tasks from the mayor who explains about the world of MySims and also tells you the basic goal of the game, which is to make residents happy, prompting the knock on effect of attracting people to move to the village. Unfortunately, making people happy is for the most part an uninteresting event and easily our least favourite aspect. When speaking to locals who are upset, you’ll get the option at the bottom of the screen to converse with them. This leads to a time limit at the top of the screen and a few options at the bottom. The options range from various things like crying and talking to listening, and you need to fill up their happiness bar before the time limit runs out, otherwise they remain angry until the next part of the day. Due to the fact that the voices in the game resemble Ewoks, you’re not exactly sure what’s being said and often (if not always) you’ll be guessing as to what is the right one to choose. There isn’t even any text during these sections which makes the whole thing purely trial and error.
Aside from this you are given the choice of ten mini-games, but a lot of them aren’t available until you’ve put some time and effort in. They include the likes of racquetball (which is quite simply awful), some sky diving, and making a Lei (which is the most simple mini-game we’ve ever played). None are worthy of more than a few goes each; they’re only really included as a quick way to make money. Cash in turn can be used for clothing items and, most importantly, furniture, just like the game it’s trying so hard to be, MySims also allows you to craft your perfect home. Using an easy touch screen interface, you’ll be able to place items and move them around with ease. It’s probably the most addictive thing about the game.
The concept means that technically MySims could last forever, but realistically you’ll be bored within a couple of weeks. Not that this is a bad game per se, it’s just that it has already been beaten by Animal Crossing: Wild World. Though Gamestyle doesn’t like to compare two games so closely, you have to really play this before realising how closely it borrows from Nintendo’s much-loved series. Even your inventory screen is a complete carbon copy, right down to the circular touch screen pad; the only real difference is the way time elapses. Instead of having the excellent real time clock, it opts for a rather mundane bar, which goes through each part of the day in less than half an hour, and with people only appearing at certain times of the day, you can sometimes feel rushed.
It all makes MySims difficult to recommend when there’s already a better alternative on the market (Animal Crossing, if you weren‘t paying attention), especially when it can be picked up for about £10 in the bargain bins.
6 / 10