At its recent Summer Preview event in San Francisco, EA showed work-in-progress versions of MySims on both the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS. The two games are quite different, and although the Wii presentation was more or less identical to the one we were treated to a couple of months ago, this was our first opportunity to see the handheld game in action.
Like its Wii counterpart, MySims on the DS will cast you in the role of a custom character that's just moved into a town and has fallen on hard times. Unlike the somewhat generic town of the Wii version, the DS game's setting is a resort town, and so it's tourists rather than new residents that you'll be spending much of your time trying to attract. You'll achieve that goal by running errands for the town's residents and visitors, and as you progress through the game, you'll unlock new content, including house furniture, areas to explore, and minigames.
One of the additional areas that we were shown during our presentation was Entertainment Island--a haven for tourists who enjoy clubbing and gambling in casinos. Gaining access to the casino will unlock a handful of new minigames, including one that vaguely resembles blackjack. Minigames that we saw on the main island included racquetball and fishing, which both made use of unlockable equipment. When you're playing racquetball, different racquets will be better suited to different types of court, for example, and when fishing, your choice of rod and the way that you move your float with the stylus will determine the types of fish that you attract. We also learned that the fish you catch will have a number of different uses, so if you don't want to just sell them or check them for valuable items such as pearls, you might decide to prepare them as food that will attract tourist-pleasing animals to the nearby forest.
Another way to please tourists in MySims is to take photos for them. You'll occasionally be asked to photograph specific landmarks for the town's visitors, and then, assuming you can get into the area where they're located, you'll need to use one of the DS screens as a viewfinder and get a shot that meets the tourist's criteria. Tourists will also ask you to fetch items from the local stores for them--a task that you won't be able to complete until you've made enough progress in the game for the required items to be stocked.
MySims isn't a persistent-world game in the same way that Animal Crossing: Wild World was, so you'll be able to leave the game for extended lengths of time without worrying about what's going to happen. Day and night circles that determine which fish you can catch and which characters you'll encounter, among other things, will come into play, but the days will only be around 10 to 15 minutes long and you'll be able to fast forward to your desired time of day at any point by telling your character to go to sleep.
Although the two games are actually quite different, MySims' similarities with Animal Crossing are numerous, and perhaps the most obvious is that both games let you customize patterns and textures for use on clothing and other items. MySims' pattern tool is more powerful than that in Nintendo's game, and in addition to letting you specify different designs for different areas of items of clothing--the front and back of a T-shirt for example--you can also alter the shapes of them by leaving certain areas blank.
With its more structured and objective-based gameplay, MySims could well be worth a look for those of you who enjoyed Animal Crossing. We found that the camera angle was a little too close to afford you a good view of the surrounding area--apparently the result of the DS's 3D rendering capabilities--but the game was easy on the eyes and the town didn't appear to be so complicated that you'll have any problem navigating it. We look forward to bringing you more information on the DS version of MySims as soon as it becomes available.