If there's one game that the entire ONM team looks back on and thinks, "hmmm... with hindsight that score just doesn't hold up anymore" then it's Nintendo's Animal Crossing. Nintendo's fictional village simulator was a breath of fresh air and it was perfect for people who wanted to get wrapped up in a little fantasy world. But we can look back on it now and agree that maybe, if we were to review the game again now, it wouldn't score quite as highly as it did. And then a game like MySims comes along and proves the point we're trying to make perfectly.
We've been following the progress of MySims very closely ever since we first unveiled it back in February, and we always knew it was going to be something special. You get that tingling feeling on the back of your neck because you know you're in the presence of a development team who knows just how to make a great game. MySims on the Wii is one of those rare occurrences when the developer hits the nail square on the head.
Despite quite obviously being an off-shoot of the increasingly tired Sims franchise, MySims is actually an amalgamation of all your favourite sim-style games... just minus the rubbish bits.
It takes all the really fun elements from Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and The Sims and puts them together in one perfectly formed package. You have to wonder why it's taken this long for someone to do it.
Suits You Sir
From the word 'go', it's very apparent that the attention to detail, style and polish is there in spades. Your first task is to create your character, a job that introduces you to the games fantastically simple but extremely effective creation system. It's what the Mii Channel should be like (listening Nintendo?) and it offers dozens of different clothing designs, hairstyles and facial expressions. You can change your outfit as often as you fancy too - just look into any mirror in the game to customise your Sim.
And now the game starts properly, with you being told by the mayor that the town could do with someone to come and fix it up a little bit. Things used to be very different in these parts but now the town's hotel is ghostly quiet and most of the locals have moved on to pastures new.
Work It Baby!
First things first though. If you're to sort this place out, you'll need a base of operations. And so you're introduced to the Workshop, a place in the game where you'll be spending an awful lot of your time. It's here where you can create items. From chairs, to cupboards, to beds, to full-blown houses, your Workshop is your main method of drawing people back into the town. We've gone into detail on how simple it is to use it elsewhere but suffice to say that this single element represents the backbone of the game and it will suck up your entire life. We spent over an hour just creating our first house.
In order for an item to become 'useful', you'll have to use one of the blueprints given to you. This is essentially a set of instructions in the form of a transparent 3D grid on the floor. Fill this grid and your construction will be given the finishing touch. This can range from the front door of a fridge, to the duvet and pillow on a bed, depending on the item. As long as you fulfil the minimum requirements of the template, you can do whatever you want with your construction.
As you can see from our screenshots, we've made all manner of things - a Mario cupboard, twin-toilet sofa and train engine chair included! Your imagination sets the limits. As you progress through the game the people around you and the new residents you draw in will give you new blueprints... and other things depending on their personality.