|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|
Unfortunately, not all of the mini-games are actually all that fun to play, and it's surprising just how many of them don't use the touch screen. All of the minis play into the vocation of the Sims that MC them, which is cool - you'll play through a rhythm mini hosted by the resident musician, or shampoo hair when prompted to by the town's hairstylist - but for the most part, the minis are cheap knock-offs of the Mario Party series.
Still, there are enough entertaining mini-games to keep things interesting. Assembling flower bouquets, mixing chemical concoctions, and playing DJ are good fun, and there's quite a lot of variety. A few of the games are pretty mundane or weak in their design, but none of them are broken or unplayable. Ultimately, though, it's nice to have some real incentive - besides merely talking to tourists - for getting new Sims to move into your town.
MySims Party also incorporates a few gimmicks lifted right out of Animal Crossing. You'll often be enlisted to deliver packages to other Sims or spread the word about a particular shop, and by successfully completing these tasks, you'll score new items, as well as make friends with the solicitous Sims. When a Sim becomes your friend, you can then use them as a teammate during festivals.
You'll still get many of the customization options from past MySims games, such as new hairstyles, clothes, and doodads for your house. New hairdos will definitely give your Sim a noticeably different appearance, and there's plenty of variety in terms of outfits. However, MySims Party offers an even more simplified experience than past DS iterations, and some of the shops sell the exact same items as one another.
MySims games have always played it very safe in terms of aesthetics, and MySims Party looks and sounds almost exactly the same as the past two DS games. That's probably going to be the biggest factor folks will want to consider when contemplating buying this game. If you've played either of the other two MySims DS games, even the mini-games here will be a hard sell.
The graphics look good and run smoothly; the Sims are cute and animate nicely; the environments are varied with some nice, little touches. But again, it's mostly everything we've already seen in past games. Really, MySims Party is almost a cut-and-paste of the first MySims DS, with the mini-games offering the only real, new attraction in terms of visuals.
The audio presentation is also mostly untouched. The familiar MySims themes are all intact, as are the low-impact sound effects. It all works just fine on DS, and honestly - though MySims Party feels pretty generic - the game's production is more polished this time around.
MySims Party takes the same premise from past games in the series and melds it with a mini-game collection. It works. It's actually exactly what this series has needed. Mini-game collections, in general, are pretty played out, and the MySims DS games have paled in comparison to their console counterparts. But putting the two elements together makes for a more interesting experience younger gamers will likely appreciate. However, much of that appreciation will, undoubtedly, be based on whether or not you've already played either of the previous MySims DS games. As nice as this marriage of simulation gameplay and mini-game compilation are, the overall experience still feels a tad too familiar.
CCC Freelance Writer