MySims is basically Animal Crossing for people who are low on time.
- Furnish a house, dress your character, and improve a town at your own pace
- Town has many different areas to explore and interact with
- The minigames are interesting
- Pleasant visuals and happy music keep the mood light.
- A few more minigames would've been nice
- Presentation is just a little too generic
- Conversations tend to repeat
- You can max out the town in one or two sittings.
MySims for the Nintendo DS is an Animal Crossing knockoff featuring some of the concepts from Electronic Arts' popular sandbox franchise, The Sims. After you create and dress up your own round-headed Sim character, you take up residence in a forgotten tourist Mecca. Then you set to work running errands and beautifying the town to bring the place back to its former glory. As each brief in-game day gradually passes from morning to night, you'll jog around town, talk to people, plant trees, fetch stuff, furnish your house, and perform a dozen other tasks--all at your own pace and choosing. The whole package isn't as varied or as charming as you'd hope for, but there's still enough diversity here to satisfy younger players or anyone who just wants to try the "create a town" genre without devoting months to the endeavor.
You'll spend a fair amount of time furnishing your house, buying outfits to wear, and situating trees or benches in different areas. You'll also find yourself constantly replaying minigame challenges to get the Simoleons and items necessary to keep everyone happy (including yourself). If you visit the tailor's shop, he'll tell you he needs a new pattern to drum up sales. So, you end up scribbling a pattern for him using the touch screen and stylus. The fisherman wants you to bring him different fish to study. To do that, you head down to the beach, cast your rod into the water, and use the stylus to drag the lure past hungry fish. Other minigames involve such tasks as skydiving, making flower leis, snapping photographs, and wagering on fictional casino games. Frequently, the act of talking to people turns out to be a minigame. When you initiate a conversation, you have to tap the appropriate chat commands and fill the other Sim's happiness meter before time runs out.
On a technical level, the pastel colors and cel-shaded, cartoonlike objects in the 3D environments really pop. The textures are clean and the polygon count is high. Furthermore, the characters' faces are very expressive, while such details as flowing water and moving shadows help convey the sense that the town is a living, breathing place. In terms of style, though, the characters and scenery are only somewhat charming; they are cute--but in a generic sort of way. Much of that is the result of the town's prefabricated nature. Unlike Animal Crossing: Wild World, the geography and people aren't randomly generated when you begin a new game. Also, you can only place furniture and flora in a handful of preset spots. There's still enough pleasantness to go around--thanks to the cartoon visuals, the soothing music, and plenty of Simlish dialogue--it's just not the memorable kind of pleasantness.
Repetition and overall length--or the lack thereof--are the game's biggest flaws. Visiting the same places, having the same conversations, and repeating the same dozen minigames gets old after a while. How long that takes will depend on what you expect out of a game like this one. If you're more interested in the bigger picture of growing the town and goofing off at your own pace, you'll be fine. If, however, swapping outfits and honing your racquetball skills doesn't seem appealing to you, you'll burn out within an hour or two. As it is, it only takes about eight hours to completely upgrade the town and fill it with tourists, which, again, may be too short or just right depending on what you want to do. It would have been nice if Electronic Arts had included a way to visit other players' towns online. Sadly, the only multiplayer feature whatsoever is a trade function that lets you swap clothing designs and items with your friends.
If you haven't got a ton of time to kill, MySims is decent for what it is: a pleasant "build your own town" game that's meant to last anywhere from a day to a week at most. When push comes to shove, the majority of people who are interested in what MySims has to offer should probably get Animal Crossing: Wild World instead. You'll get more smiles and more bang for your buck. And if you've already got Wild World in your collection, you may just be better off sticking with that.