|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Redwood||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: Oct. 28, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Last year's MySims was a pretty fun title, especially for fans of the Sims franchise. It featured a fun construction element and really let players have a lot of freedom to create their own MySims experience. However, the game suffered from technical glitches, obnoxiously long loading screens, and an overall lack of focus. This year's MySims Kingdom seems to have addressed all of these issues and has some surprisingly fun and deep gameplay that can be quite addictive!
The storyline in MySims Kingdom revolves around your self-made character's debut as the MySims Kingdom's new Wandalier. For the uninitiated, a Wandalier is someone in the MySims universe who can use a special type of construction-based magic. This magic allows the Wandalier to gather natural essences from the world around them to use as material for their construction. These materials can range from wood from a tree and mined iron to pineapples plucked from a bush and fish caught from the ocean. Once the Wandalier has gathered the necessary elements, they will be able to harness a special "Mana" power to transform the items into construction elements.
Your character's role as the new MySims Kingdom Wandalier will be to run around the different provinces and villages in the Kingdom building new things for citizens and fixing old, broken equipment. Each place has a different theme, and you'll find yourself travelling to exotic settings that range from a dusty desert filled with cowboys to a lush volcanic island. You'll be able to unlock more settings as you go along, and there is definitely plenty to explore in all these exciting settings.
Although running around and building things might sound like a boring premise for a game, MySims is actually quite exciting. Construction during the initial levels is very simplistic and generally consists of building simple structures like houses, bridges, and staircases. Each structure will have a certain amount of material it needs as well as specific features you must include for the structure to be "complete." For instance, when building a house you may need to have a certain amount of "design" elements, including windows, plants, and other decorations for the house to be considered complete.
After building these simple items, you will be able to begin building simple machines. Utilizing construction tools like gears, rods, and pipes, you will be able to create moving machines. There are generally no templates for these machines, and you will have to use your own creativity to engineer your creations effectively. As you play through the different levels, the machines and structures you will have to build become more complex, and the game's difficulty becomes surprisingly intense.
One thing that really surprised me about this title was the amount of things to explore in each level. Although each level has a fairly linear set of goals, if you take some time to search around the stage, you'll find plenty of treasure chests as well as bonus construction objectives and elements. While you could feasibly complete this game in 10-12 hours, if you take the time to unlock everything, you can extend your gameplay time quite a bit.
Graphics in MySims are crisp and colorful and really bring the cutesy attitude of the game to life. The character animations are quite smooth, and the different environments look whimsical and fun. However, the visuals are lacking quite a bit of detail, and although environments have a nice basic look to them, there is quite a bit to be desired here in terms of detail. But overall, this is one of the better-looking Wii games I have seen in awhile, and I am happy to see that it is free of the shuddering and texturing issues that plague so many Wii releases.