While most games stake their sales chart dreams on violence, profanity. and misanthropic escapism, EA's MySims games seem to take the opposite approach, casting you as a creative and helpful traveler in a magical landscape. Rather than blowing things up, you'll put them together, improving the lives of those around you in the process. Though every game pretends to have a hero, few will have as much right to the title as your character in MySims Kingdom this fall.
If you've played the original MySims, much of the content in MySims Kingdom will be familiar. Nearly everything in the game can be customized: your character (or wandolier), his or her shirt, the pattern on the shirt, the house, the rooms in the house, and even the furniture in the customized rooms of the customized house; this is truly your kingdom. Though the creation tools are similar to those you tinkered with in MySims, Kingdom will be much more generous with its suggestions as to what you build, in case your inner Picasso is out to lunch. As soon as you start to build something, you can see a template of what it might look like and be made of. If you decide to follow this recipe, the pieces will easily snap into place, and your object will practically build itself. You just throw everything together, skin it with bacon, and voila! A bacon chair to go in your bacon room in just a few seconds.
Kingdom's crafty side isn't limited to pimping out your own pad; you'll also use the construction tools to build things for the realm's colorful denizens. Say you need to pass through a gate in your investigation of a mysterious robbery, but someone has stolen all the gears! No problemo. You simply break out some gears of your own, place them in the vacant slots, and pass through to the other side. Of course, you don't have to use gears; you can always just build an improvised stairway.
You might not want to go through so much trouble to help the kingdom's characters if they weren't so funny and colorful. For instance, the denizens of one area have all been robbed by a misunderstood thief, so you must retrieve their lost items and show the thief that you get out of life what you put into it, not what you steal from it. But you aren't role-playing as a punisher or an executioner; you're role-playing as a role model.
And you'll look good doing it. MySims Kingdom has received a substantial graphical upgrade over its predecessor, and as a result, the areas look fantastic. The textures are clean and smooth, and even though the game goes for a simple, clean style, the small visual touches it does employ look just right.
Since so much emphasis has been placed on your quest, MySims Kingdom will not be a multiplayer game. Rather, it should be a lengthy and heart-warming adventure in which you can stop to smell the roses, or completely reconstruct them. Though it isn't clear how long it will take to play through the game, this much is certain: When MySims Kingdom hits store shelves this fall, you will get as much out of it as you put into it.