|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Redwood Shores||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 13, 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 Tony Capri
Electronic Arts has been doing quite well with its new MySims series. With prime shelf space in mainstream retail outlets and a game presentation that is perhaps perfectly suited for Nintendo's "expanded audience," the publisher has hit pay dirt with the franchise. The latest in the series is MySims Party, a game that takes many core features of past MySims games and adds to that a mini-game compilation.
If you've played either of the last two DS games in the MySims series, you'll likely get an immediate feeling of déjà vu. The setting and premise are pretty much the same here, as your main task is to attract new dwellers to the game's sleepy town.
When you first load up MySims Party, you'll be prompted to pick a gender for your Sim, choose a hair style, skin color, clothes, name, etc. However, you'll also be asked to assign skill points to your character, and your Sims' attributes play heavily into your performance in the mini-games.
Upon entering your new town, you're greeted by a young Sim in a dog-eared hat. He'll give you the lowdown regarding your primary objective as a new citizen and show you around, acquainting you with key areas and Sims. The mayor has decided to hold a series of festivals in hopes of attracting new neighbors, and it's up to you to put on a good show for the tourists passing through.
Like past MySims DS games, you'll have your own home, which you can make subtle changes to - new roof, door, windows, etc. Home is also where you'll hang your hat so to speak; you can change your Sim's hairdo and clothes here, as well as create new Sims with different attribute settings.
Which brings us to the mini-games...
MySims Party consists of 12 different festivals (mini-game tournaments), and when you win first place in a given festival, you'll attract new residents to your town. In turn, these residents bring with them new mini-games, which you'll then play through in future festivals. It's a great formula that works especially well with the MySims town-building thrust. The basic premise is exactly the same as the past two DS games, but the process of building up your town is a whole lot more fun this time around.
Each festival consists of a handful of mini-games, with the number of mini-games increasing as you progress through MySims Party. The later festivals require a bit more commitment in terms of time, but the game offers a nice pace with a fair bit of challenge.
When you create a Sim, you'll divvy out skill points to them in three key areas: Power, Speed, and Technique. Most festivals consist of a collection of minis that focus on a specific attribute, so you'll want to use Sims that have the highest number of skill points in a certain area of concentration. Additionally, each individual mini-game has a rating for what attribute(s) it offers the most challenge in. You can team up Sims before entering a festival, and choosing the right Sim for a particular mini-game will maximize your chances for success.
There's a surprising amount of strategy involved, especially with the addition of play cards that allow you to boost character stats or cripple the stats of your opponents. Cards can be purchased from one of the stores in town, and new ones are unlocked after completion of various festivals.