|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: The Sims Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
As far as casual franchises are concerned, one of my absolute favorites has to be MySims. This cutesy take on the classic Sims formula features construction, directed character development, and plenty of Simlish. Even the most recent MySims outing, MySims Racing, contained elements of its predecessors and was a good title on the Wii. Since I had enjoyed the three previous iterations on the Wii, I figured my experience with MySims Agents would be similar, even though I was assigned the DS version. However, I couldn't have been more wrong.
The setup in MySims Agents is nearly identical to any other MySims game. You start off with a blank slate Sim which you can customize with different facial features, hair, and outfits. Once you finalize the design of your MySim, the game then introduces you to the world of MySims Agents. In this world, highly trained agents are sent out to investigate crimes around the world and to use their prowess as a secret agent to gather clues and solve mysteries. In this instance, a town has been terrorized by a local thief known only by the codename V. This evildoer is after the town's special treasure, and they are desperate to stop him before he gets to it.
But like in traditional spy flicks, there is a twist: the residents of this town don't even know where their special treasure is. To further complicate matters, this V character is a master of disguise and can pose as your agent's doppelganger to fool townspeople in to thinking that they are talking to you. The story has all the makings of a very cute take on the spy genre, and there are plenty of memorable characters that your agent can interact with.
The gameplay involves several components, and there are plenty of things to do in the world of MySims. The story is mainly driven by mini-games that allow you to use your arsenal of gadgets to track the nefarious V. However, these mini-games represent the biggest shortcoming of MySims Agents due to the controls. A good example is the first mini-game you play, which allows you use a radar detector to find underground traps. Simply pressing the radar button will show you where all the traps are, and it will be your job to remember where they are and then excise them using another gadget. When you walk up to an area where a trap is, you can either press a button or use the stylus to engage the excising tool. However, at this point your character will turn around randomly (for no real reason) and will either hit the trap or miss it. These turns can range from a short ten degrees to the left to an almost complete circle, and they will severely hamper your ability to find the traps. This mini-game gets frustrating fast because of this, and unfortunately, this trend of poorly controlled mini-games continues throughout the title.
However, if you can grit your teeth and bear the mini-games portion (which, unfortunately, is mandatory for advancement), there are actually plenty of fun side-quests and extra missions you can complete. Like all other MySims titles, there is a heavy focus on construction. Although it might seem weird that a secret agent would be wandering around the countryside gathering essences and materials to build new houses and furniture, somehow it really works in MySims Agents. Agents also injects a little bit of Animal Crossing into the mix by allowing your character access to certain shops during limited times during the day. You'll have to balance both your investigative efforts (which include the horrendous mini-games mentioned above) with your design ideas for the town. The construction element is very polished in MySims Agents. Had that been the sole focus of the game, it would have been much better.
The visuals in MySims Agents are fairly good and feature plenty of color. The signature MySims characters are all out in full-force. You'll see so many cute bobble-headed characters that you may feel as though your own head will explode. Despite the game's signature cutesy style, there are several issues permeating the graphics. First of all, there is an extraordinary amount of jagged lines permeating the landscape and character models. Although I don't expect perfection from my DS visuals, the amount of jaggies in this title really did distract from the action and was certainly grating on the eyes.