EA is dangerously close to "milking a cash cow" territory here. It's only been around two years since the original MySims was released in the UK and already we've had MySims Kingdoms, MySims Party, MySims Racing and now this, MySims Agents. So why haven't a lot of people been calling EA out on it? Because, Party aside, these games are fun.
MySims Agents turns the usual MySims 'talk to someone, find out what's wrong, build something for them' approach and kicks it out of the nearest window. This is a completely different, more story-based game using the MySims characters and graphics engine. You start off as an amateur detective, solving mysteries around your town - who stole my cat, who wrote me that love letter, that sort of thing.
Eventually your actions are spotted by a member of the Sim Protection Agency, MySims' equivalent of the FBI. You're made a secret agent in your town's newly-opened agency branch and start taking on cases to help people out, all while trying to find out what's going on with Morcubus, the corrupt MorcuCorp CEO who's planning something big.
Agents is basically a point-and-click adventure without pointing and clicking. Each case sees you running around each area talking to people and investigating nearby objects. As you do this, information is added to your notebook - potential suspects, items you've picked up and any leads you may have. To solve each case you have to keep following leads and eventually get enough evidence to mark one suspect as guilty.
Short Arm Of The Law
Leads are followed in a number of ways. Some involve interviewing people and asking them for information (which in turn could uncover new leads), others involve investigating certain areas for clues. In an early mission Patrick the builder tells you he couldn't have done the crime because he was fixing something on the salon's roof. When you later find his toolbox on the roof of the salon, you realise his alibi checks out.
Some leads have you using gadgets to figure out what's going on. The magnifying glass lets you track footprints, while your phone lets you analyse samples by playing a puzzle-based mini-game. This, as well as the other mini-games that pop up from time to time (fixing machines, hacking computers and so on) get trickier as the game progresses, keeping things interesting and providing a steady difficulty curve.
Unfortunately, this means younger gamers may find themselves stuck. Despite the game's cutesy looks it gets very tricky and any parents reading this might want to consider playing the game with their child to help them with later puzzles.
What really makes MySims Agents fun is its charm. It's easy to dismiss games like this as 'childish' simply because of how they look, but Agents' well-written and funny dialogue had this 26-year-old chuckling to himself on a regular basis.
If you can swallow your pride and play a game that looks like it was designed for pre-teens, you'll be surprised to find MySims Agents offers a fun, sizeable detective adventure with a great plot, tricky puzzles and some laugh-out-loud moments.