Over the past year or so, Electronic Arts has been catering to the casual audience on the Wii and Nintendo DS through the MySims franchise. Since the launch of the series back in September 2007, it has gone on to become a worldwide hit. Given Electronic Arts' previous track record for milking winning concepts, it's hardly surprising to see that we've been given several sequels.
The first of many sequels to the original was released back in October. Entitled MySims Kingdom, the game took the formula of the original and brought it back to medieval times. Though the game slipped under the radar for many, those who bought the game managed to find a very casual and enjoyable experience.
This brings us to the latest game, MySims Party. Instead of sticking to the formula of its predecessor, it throws everything out the window and introduces an entirely new concept that’s even more casual. What buyers are getting with MySims Party is a mini-game compilation starring the adorable little MySims. For those expecting a quick cash-in for Electronic Arts, they’re right; Electronic Arts really screwed everything up this time around.
When you first start up the game, players are asked to create an avatar that will represent them throughout the course of the game. Sadly though, the interface is well below standards and creating a character is a lot harder than it should be. For example, all the possible options for a category aren’t displayed at once and you have to keep clicking a button to go through them all. Besides this, the loading times are horrible and the amount of time you have to put into the game just to create a Sim that you look is unacceptable.
Over the course of the game, the interface is well below standards. The menus aren’t the easiest to navigate and the game does a very poor job of explaining the basics through its tutorial. Instead of a step-by-step visual guide, you're presented with a massive wall of text. Regardless of your preferences, reading pages of instructions isn’t the smartest idea for a tutorial.
As previously mentioned MySims is more a mini-game compilation than a simulation game. The game takes place in a central hub world where trophies can be viewed and displayed, but outside of that, the majority of the game revolves around taking part in mini-game festivals. From the fountain in the center of the town, players can engage in competitions with various difficulties. Each mini-game can be played with up to four players and there are over 50 in total, and over the 12 festivals, you’ll play each one a handful of times.
For casual gamers who just want to jump on the bandwagon and get started, MySims Party allows players to play any of the mini-games right from the start. In addition to this, players can hop on to the online leaderboards and see how they stack up against the rest of the world. Though casual gamers might not use this feature, competitive gamers will be delighted to use it.
Unlike the mini-games in say Mario Party, MySims Party does a horrible job at creating unique mini-games. Simply put, mini-games are based off of simple little tasks that aren’t very creative. One such example is a block-pushing puzzle game in which you have to push blocks into holes in the floor. It isn’t very creative and certainly isn’t all that fun to play.
The biggest problem with MySims Party is that the game relies too heavily on waggle to play mini-games. Most of the mini-games require players to waggle their Wii Remote in the air like a fool or press a button a couple of times. Considering the audience it's aimed it, waggle controls are alright, but when they don’t work properly you have a problem. Some mini-games make use of the waggle decently, but at the same time, the game sometimes fails to read most of the movements correctly.
From a visual perspective, MySims Party looks exactly how you would expect it to. The developers took a very casual look when developing the game which worked out great in the end. Though there isn’t a whole lot of detail to be found in the game, the simple nature of the game is understandable seeing as it’s designed for newcomers to the franchise.
After playing MySims Party, two things should strike you immediately. One, you look like a fool waving your arms doing gestures that the game doesn’t even recgonise, and two, MySims Party is a horrible effort at creating a mini-game compilation that gamers of any demographic can enjoy. If you’re not too demanding then you may come to love the game. However, we'd recommend that you look elsewhere - there are plenty of other games of this type that have been sitting on store shelves since the launch of Wii.