Having officially clocked 17 hours, 21 minutes and 24 seconds on my main character, not to mention the undocumented time I’ve put in rolling and re-rolling my characters, I think it’s about time I wrote a review on My Sims for the Nintendo DS. Besides, my fan club (which consists of a few of my BFF’s) has been clamoring for a new blog post from me, bashing me for getting too engrossed with the (upcoming) POTBS Vault fansite to take care of my own blog. So here you go.
My Sims is a game that was developed by EA Games for both the Wii and the Nintendo DS, based on Maxis’ The Sims. What sets it apart from the original Sims games is the character design. Instead of the traditional funny-looking-but-endearing simmies, you will find anime-like Chibi characters in My Sims.
In creating your character, you get to specify your gender, choose your skin tone, hairstyle and color, eye shape and color, and starting set of clothes. The DS version starts you off on a boat journey to a place you name. The boat captain then tells you that he hasn’t been there in a while, and seems to be surprised that you’re moving there. At the docks, you are met by a sim with an oversized furry-looking head who runs away as soon as he sees you! As you follow his trail, you soon find out that it’s actually a little boy wearing a costume, in an attempt to help his grandmother (who happens to be the mayor) make the town more attractive to visitors. The mayor graciously welcomes you but warns you that the population is slowly dwindling and try as she may, she can’t seem to make it attractive enough for new residents. It slowly dawns on you that the future of [Name Your Town] is in your hands!
You interact with the characters in the game through emotes that appear as selectable icons at the bottom of your screen. You can talk, listen, encourage, comfort, be angry, or cry, as the situation demands. Choosing the right emote fills up an interaction bar that leads to a successful interaction. But if you pick the wrong one, it might make the NPC mad at you. As you meet and successfully interact with the town folk, you unlock certain events and mini-games. For example, after getting the local tailor out of his depression, and after calming an angry cop, your town gets a new citizen. When you help the florist beautify the locale, tourists start coming.
There are five mini-games in the DS version at which you win medals, plus four side events that help you improve your relationship with the sims involved. The Fishing game is started after you charm the local fisherman into giving you a rod. The kid you meet at the beginning of the game will give you a racket so you can play the Racquetball mini-game. The florist asks you to make leis for her. Much later, you also get to go paragliding, scuba diving, and skydiving. In addition, you will meet a socialite sim who conducts periodic fashion reviews and rates your taste in clothes. You also get to play a couple of card games at the casino.
As you unlock events, your sim gains experience points that add up to earn you a star. Gaining a star opens up a new area in the game, and gives you new sims to interact with. There are five total stars to achieve, but the game doesn’t end after you earn the fifth star. It does open the last inaccessible area and introduces a new character: a pilot who crash landed on the old unused airstrip and is now trying to earn money to buy him some fuel so he can make the flight back home. This in turn opens up the last mini-game, Skydiving.
In addition to the experience stars, you also get a relationship meter with each character in the game. As the character’s story progresses, so does your relationship meter, until it fills up and you get a star for that person. So I suspect, the endgame involves getting all five stars PLUS stars on all your relationship meters.
As far as I can tell, some events can only be unlocked if you do extremely well in a particular mini-game (ie. you win a gold medal in it). My sim has been skydiving till she’s blue in the face but she’s not very good at it so it hasn’t seemed to advance the story as far as the pilot is concerned. I suppose that’s to be expected. You cannot say you’ve beaten the game until you truly master all there is to master in it.
Only time can tell if the game will hold my interest long enough for me to master the skydiving game but My Sims currently holds the longevity record for me as far as DS games are concerned, beating Pokemon Diamond and Puzzle Quest. In fact, those wide-eyed little people are so endearing I think I might steal my daughter’s Wii and start playing THAT version, too!