Name: MySims Party
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS (Reviewed on Nintendo Wii)
The original MySims was created as a simplified version of EA’s popular Sims series for children. Whether or not it was in an effort to get them hooked on the lifestyle simulation early is still up for debate, but at the very least, the game’s success allowed EA to branch the MySims brand out. Now starring in their own party game, the little blockheaded charmers pose the question, can you fault a game’s simplicity when it’s been developed for a demographic 20 years younger than yours?
No one will ever accuse MySims Party of being too difficult. The 50 some odd mini-games range from adding toppings to pizza, to carrying luggage, to scooping ice cream, and everything in between. For an adult, the only thing that would frustrate you is how during some games the remote’s responsiveness differs. There are some events that require quite a bit of waggle, but with a game based around a variety of mini-games that’s sort of what you expect. Younger players will find plenty to like about the hectic pace the mini-games create. There’s a bit of skill involved when playing the games as well, but it’s not terribly deep. The characters in the game all have four stat categories: Luck, Speed, Strength, and Stamina. Playing a round of mini-games means entering a festival, and festivals will have you choosing up to three other MySims to be a part of your team. All of the games have certain stat categories they affect. By participating in a game that requires strength and luck, that character loses one bar of each of those stats at the conclusion of the challenge whether they won it or not. Obviously bringing a well-balanced team to a festival is the way to go, but knowing which characters to use in which situation is also important. Again, this isn’t something that would really cause anyone over the age of 12 any concern, but the game does give younger children some modicum of challenge.
The game still retains a bit of the customization of the world from the original MySims. Winning festivals unlocks new clothing, house building materials, characters, and trophies to place around your town. When first creating your character, there aren’t a whole lot of options available. Thankfully, as you progress through the game, new items appear in your character’s closet. Don’t expect anything as robust a character creator as a game like WWE Smackdown vs Raw or even The Sims 2, and you’ll be just fine. Strangely, no matter what model you use for the exterior of your house, the interior remains largely unchanged. I understand that this isn’t a traditional Sims game, but being able to add a little spice to your in-game home would have been nice. The characters you unlock are actually people that will move in to your little village, and sometimes open up shops. You can’t do anything in the shops, but the longer you play, the more populated your town gets, and the more it begins to feel like a community instead of a vacant lot. The trophies you earn have specific locations around the map where they can be placed, and I understand that they’ll then be out in the open for easy viewing, but honestly, once you place one, you’ll hardly ever need or want to go back and check them out again. While I was only mowing through festivals in order to unlock the next set of mini-games, seeing a bristling ‘burg come to life can provide a nice sense of accomplishment for a kid.
Graphically, MySims Party isn’t the prettiest girl at the dance, but the style EA chose to go with suits this particular genre pretty well. There are much better looking Wii games out there, but there are also many much worse looking Wii games on the market as well. The score isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s not too annoying either. Could the generic background music be better? Yes. Does it get stuck in your head? Yes. Will it be remembered forever? Certainly not. While the game may not have the production standards of the elite console exclusives, like Mario Galaxy, or even other top tier EA titles like Boom Blox, MySims Party at least tries to be adequate, which is more than I can say about at least a dozen other Wii titles.
MySims Party isn’t the casual gamer party experience that is going to save the genre. The game is far too simple in every aspect to even be considered a purchase for an adult. However, there’s really quite a bit to like about this game from a younger child’s perspective. If I had a six year-old kid, this is something I could see myself playing with him and his friends. Certainly there are party titles on the system that encompass a wider audience, but I can’t fault MySims Party for being a children’s game. It’s too bad that’s all that it is. Maybe by the next installment, EA will see that there’s an older audience looking for a solid party title, and give us a little more challenge. As of right now, I’m getting to old for this stuff.