EA powerhouse series has continued to evolve over the years, and its latest form for the Nintendo Wii is yet another interesting take on the virtual-life genre. This time around, instead of creating a family from scratch, you'll be tasked with reinvigorating a downtrodden town to its previous glory. That said, there will be an amazing amount of customization to MySims, which we discovered during our hands-on look at the game at EA's E3 hotel suite.
Our first look at the game featured the player building a bed from scratch, using a number of premade shapes to slowly build the frame and add decoration to the bed. You've got several options for building objects in MySims: You can use premade blueprints that will show you where to construct the various parts; you can be more creative and build objects from scratch; or you can find a happy medium between following a pattern and letting loose with your inner Bob Vila.
The various objects you use to construct your items aren't the only thing you'll need to be successful in MySims, however. To progress in the game, you need to appease the citizens of the town you live in--and your town will comprise two types of sims: commercial sims who want you to do tasks for them (such as build objects), and townies who are looking to move into your town. All sims in the city are motivated by the six different interests found in the game--cute, spooky, geeky, studious, fun, and tasty--and the various objects you construct will be built to satisfy these different interests. A Sim who's interested in spooky stuff, for example, might want you to build a chair that's distinctly scary, using the spooky essence.
In addition to interests, essences are another big aspect of MySims' gameplay--in effect they are the currency of the game, in that you can't complete objects to a sims' specifications unless it meets a certain interest. And in order for it to meet a certain interest, you'll have to build that object with essences of a particular type, all of which is spelled out in the task set forth to you by the particular sim making the request. It might sound a bit confusing, but it's actually quite simple. Essences can be used in two ways--either as physical objects, such as a smiley-faced seat for a chair, or as a decoration or paint scheme for preexisting objects.
Consider the jukebox requested by one Capt. Ginny, a pirate-themed sim who was specifically looking for a music player constructed of 16 angry essences and 20 musical notes. After getting the basic shell of the jukebox built, the person playing the demo painted the individual object that made up the jukebox shell with angry essence. When using an essence as a paint tool, you'll be able to choose any from four available paint schemes per essence. Topping off the jukebox with 20 musical notes, our jukebox was ready for delivery to Capt. Ginny. She loved it--and immediately popped in a quarter and began dancing to the music. Maxing out a sims' interest by building it various objects for their homes will help you progress through the game and unlock new areas of your burgeoning town to explore.
Though essences will be an important aspect of building new objects, luckily they won't be hard to come by. In addition to encountering new essences as you simply walk around the world of MySims, you can cultivate them to keep your stockpile growing by planting them in the ground and watching them grow into essence trees you can shake down. You can also fish for essences in the local ponds, or prospect them using the essence equivalent of a mine detector, which will show you just where to dig. In addition, you'll periodically run into nooks--semisecret areas which, when accessed, will let you earn new and valuable essences. In all, the game will include more than 80 different essences you can collect to help satisfy the increasingly demanding sims who populate your town.
When you aren't rolling around, pulling off odd jobs for your neighbors, you can relax and spend some time designing (or redesigning) your digs with the game's flexible building-construction tools. Though you'll start with a pretty extensive list of roofs, windows, and doors to start your home with, as new sims move to your town, you'll earn new architecture styles and accessories that you can then apply to your own home.
MySims' cute, revamped character models--a departure from the long and lean sims of old--should appeal to a slightly younger crowd, while adults will likely find the creative elements in the game a draw. The game is due for release this September, and we'll be keeping you up to date on its progress.