MySims screenshotThe Sims bandwagon keeps on rolling, but whereas the Wii’s rushed out conversion of The Sims 2: Pets was a bit of damp dog, this tailor-made effort is superlative stuff. In fact it’s more like a medley of Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon than a proper Sims game – you don’t have to make them go to the toilet, take the trash out, get a job or anything of the sort. Did anybody actually enjoy those tasks anyway?

Easily the biggest criticism aimed at Animal Crossing was that there was no clear objective once your loan had been paid off. This is where MySims succeeds the most – the townsfolk are always giving you new tasks to design new furniture for their abodes and businesses, giving the game a solid backbone. It’s how things progress – the happier the Sims are, the more people move in and you’re one step closer to creating a five-star town. There’s plenty of other rewarding random guff to get on with too, like planting and watering trees, fishing and exploring the new areas that open up.

And so it’s in the workshop that you’ll spend most of the game. You can’t just build anything you fancy though – first a blueprint has to be gained, and then you have to follow the basic guidelines before letting your imagination take over. A bench, for instance, will have to be of a certain height and have a large area for the occupant to rest their bottom on before you can start adding loads of extra blocks to make it unique. The Lego-like construction blocks are available as small as 1×1 so you really can design whatever you fancy, although the fact that you can’t share them with friends online is a massive let down. A free-hand graffiti style art package wouldn’t have gone amiss either. And you can’t create one item after another – you have to leave the shed then go back in again. Grumble.

MySims screenshot 2The colours that you paint your fridge-shaped-like-a-penis are known as essences, which are collected in various ways and change the ‘vibe’ of an item. Shake a torn bush, collect the thorns then paint an object with the thorn print and give it to one of the town’s emo goth types and they’ll be more than thrilled. The florist loves anything flower patterned; the chef anything covered in food, and so on. Most building requests will require the object in question to feature a certain number of essences, which must be collected before you start tinkering. Fortunately most of these can be gained easily, like by shaking trees, fishing and aimlessly wandering with a metal detector.

By streamlining the Sims experience EA has given us a new experience, nothing like the countless previous Sims games. It has its own style – even if it was ever converted over to Xbox 360 it would look exactly the same – and the animation is as cute as a button. The only real limitation is your imagination.

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