Wii

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

MySims Kingdom

Score: 89%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: The Sims Studio
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

In true Sims fashion, it wasn't long before there was a new addition to the MySims games. MySims: Kingdom takes everything that was good about the first game and adds a few new twists. They have added more of the exploration and sandbox-like features that make the Sims franchise what it is today. They toned down some of the forced build aspects that made the first MySims more difficult for younger players. The combination of these two aspects of the game make for a new play experience worth checking out.

It looks exactly like its predecessor. There are, of course, tons of new items; but, overall it looks exactly the same. There are more extensive exterior areas for exploration. There seems to be considerably less lag in this version. To verify this, I popped in each version to take a look; even the animations feel smoother than before.

Simlish is still annoying. The music has a nice little pop to it that doesn't grate on your nerves. I think I have become used to its melodic repetition. There is a law about sounds in the Sims series that is written like Newton's Law of Gravity. For every action, there is an equal or opposite sound effect. There are still plenty of audio bells as you move along, alerting you to everything you need to do.


Gameplay:

MySims: Kingdom has changed the way that you build everything in the game. It still has a heavy building component but definitely focuses more on quests and exploration than grinding out products for every new person.

You become a Wandelier who is the newest in a line of magical wand carriers. The Wandeliers were magicians who used the power of their wands to build everything in the kingdom. Many years have passed, and those who once wielded the wand have moved on, or grown too old to carry on. Your task, as the newest Wandelier, is to visit all of the lands under King Roland and take care of all of the areas that are falling apart. It is also your job to help those who ask things of you. There are several islands that fall under King Roland's domain and each has a unique theme such as Cowboy Junction, Nature Preserve, Rocket Reef, and others.

You still use essences to build everything. Essences come from many different places and represent specific areas of interest. This is really hard to portray without having the game in front of you, but you collect these essences and use them to build objects in the game. When you are tasked with building something from someone, they will have a specific number of essence requirements for you to fill. These areas of interest, such as outdoors or happy, have essences associated with them. If you add an essence from that group, you fulfill the interest area for the thing you're building. Last thing is manna. This is the energy that you use to actually build things. You can find and collect raw manna from many different places. Or, you can convert surplus essences into manna.

So how do you know what you are building? You will be provided with scrolls that have a specific number of essences requested to unlock the scroll. Once you gather the needed essences and unlock the scroll, you are rewarded with items that you can add to your available build inventory. For example, you get a scroll for the party pack. You collect the essences you need and unlock the scroll. Now that the scroll is unlocked, you have new items you can use when you build. In this example, we get a picnic basket, balloons, and a set of paints that add the "fun" interest to anything we paint it on. I can now use these items when I build something I have been requested to build from an inhabitant.

You are not alone on your journey this time. You are joined by your companions, Buddy and Lindsay. Lindsay performs a very important roll for you. She collects the scrolls you are given and holds on to the magic bag that converts the surplus essences into manna. Once you unlock the scrolls, she adds the power to your wand. It is important to keep your manna up and keep plenty of the essences you find in your inventory. You can find essences by growing them on trees and plants, finding them in the ground with your detector, mining for them with a pick, or fishing for them. The work of a Wandelier is never done, so stay busy.


Difficulty:

We will work, once again, with our friend the Wii controller. Building in MySims: Kingdom involves stacking and manipulation, just like before. However, this time it is much more forgiving and easier to use. Your building is more simply laid out. You build a lot of houses and exterior items. You build a lot of support structures, mainly bridges, that allow access to unreachable areas. It is also a lot easier to follow what is happening in each area and why. The game is on tighter rails when it comes to what you build, where, and why. But as mentioned previously there is a lot more exploration of each individual island to enjoy. Last time you felt the grind of finding items, returning to your workshop, building, and then returning the item. They are a little less forthcoming in this version with essence locations, so pay attention.

Game Mechanics:

With tons of new items to add to whatever you're building in MySims: Kingdom, you have a new control scheme to play with. In order to build, you press your (+) button. This brings out the wand. Place your items the direction you want them and then press (A). This portion works similar to MySims, but what is different is the Menu system at the bottom of the screen. Before you had series of shapes and items, and you would have to page through them individually. This was OK in the beginning, but tedious with the more stuff you got. Here they have added a group to select from first, and then the pages of items that pertain to that group. There are far more mechanical items to build over MySims. You can use belts, gears, wires, and axles to complete working, mechanical items. I really liked this. My hope for the next iteration is to go in the direction of designing Rube Goldberg machines.

Another step forward in the franchise. It is a good formula to have. It may feel like these games are quickly coming on each other's heels, but as long as we see marked improvement, new features, and improved gameplay, I am not going to complain. If you even just liked MySims, you will really notice an improvement with MySims: Kingdom. If your kids may have struggled with the controls of the first one, they will not have the same problems here. Add this one to their collection. In the words of my Sim, "Narf slog snarfblat," or just see you in the game.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Nintendo DS MySims Kingdom Sony PlayStation 3 SingStar Vol. 2

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated