MySims Racing Hands-On

We race through town while running errands and taking a spin around the track in this portable kart racer.

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MySims is gaining momentum with its infectious charm and easy-to-play game mechanics. Next in line is a racing spin-off, which ventures into the kart-racer category but maintains the light-hearted interaction between characters and of course, customization. Like its Wii counterpart, you can create your own MySim and then spruce up your car so that you can cruise around town in style. The Nintendo DS version is different in that you aren't spending most of your time on the racetrack completing challenges. Instead, you're zipping around town and helping people get to where they need to go.

Customize your very own vehicle and then hit the streets!
Customize your very own vehicle and then hit the streets!

We were able to get only a brief look at MySims Racing for the DS, but the concept was similar to that on the Wii. Story mode has you interacting with the large cast of MySims characters, helping them with their requests so that you can earn more essences and parts to add to your car. You'll run errands for them or help them get from point A to point B. There are instances in which you could also be on a timer, so you will want to collect as many parts as you can to upgrade your fabulous car. You'll be driving around in the top screen, and there's a town map displayed on the bottom screen for guidance. If you're itching to do a race, you need to drive to a specific area in the town to hit the tracks.

Our version of the game didn't have a lot of unlocked cars, so we were racing around in a medium-sized lumbering sedan that didn't turn as well as we would have liked. It's difficult to say whether the controls are solid overall, given that each car drives differently. What's cool in the DS version is that you can do tricks in the air by holding B and turning. If you land a good trick, you'll be rewarded with a boost. There is apparently a halfpipe somewhere in town on which you can practice your crazy moves. While racing, this is recommended only when you are about to get a good amount of air time, but it's a fun addition.

Most of the power-ups are the same as in the Wii version, but there are a few that have different effects. For example, you can toss a pumpkin at someone to leave goop all over their screen. Another potentially dangerous item is a bubble, and if you happen to get caught in one, you'll begin to float. This usually means that you're temporarily disabled, letting racers fly past, but we were told that there can be instances when going up will have its advantages. We got to see only one track, but it retains the cheerful atmosphere of the series, and this version seems to have shorter bite-sized challenges that make it easier to play on the go.

There is local multiplayer for up four players as well as single-cartridge play with access to all of the tracks. Those who want an even wider pool of challengers can go online using the DS's Wi-Fi capabilities. Look for MySims Racing when it arrives on June 16.

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