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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is a kid-friendly spin on EA's popular Sims franchise. Instead of being a life simulation of a Sim's adult life, MySims is a role-playing game where the goal is to build and repair structures for other Sims. While the game centers on helping others, the Comic Mischief disclaimer refers to the fact that you can be mean to other Sims in order to collect Sad Essences for building materials.
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What's it about?
The follow-up to last year's MySims, MYSIMS KINGDOM takes Electronic Arts' wildly popular Sims franchise further away from its open-ended life simulation roots with a story-driven role-playing game geared towards kids. After creating and customizing your own Sim, you'll jump into the story to learn that you're the latest Wandolier, wielders of magic sceptres that are capable of conjuring objects out of thin air. At the request of the Sims' cupcake-loving ruler, King Roland, you'll travel throughout the kingdom helping people by using your magic to build houses, repair bridges and machines, and anything else they request.
In order to acquire the necessary building materials, you'll have to collect Essences to unlock scrolls. For example, collecting 25 Metal essences unlocks the Small Gear scroll, which allows you to use gears to power machines. Essences are collected performing various special actions and mini-games, such as chopping trees to get Wood Essences, or hitting rocks with a pickaxe to get Metal Essences. You can also earn Essences by treasure-finding or fishing. When you're ready to build a structure, you'll enter a special mode where you can place scenery such as walls, a roof, chimney, doors, windows, shrubbery, and interior furniture.
Is it any good?
While the emphasis on building made the original MySims game a bit of a chore, MySims Kingdoms is kept fresh by the mini-game challenges and delightful character interactions. You can talk to other Sims and hear them respond in their unique Sims gibberish language that is actually quite expressive and cute. Another nice touch is that Sims actually interact with the environment, including objects that you've added to it. Build a set of drawers, for example, and a Sim will rummage through them, occasionally turning up a trinket for you to keep. It's little touches like these that make MySims Kingdom a delightful and accessible simulation for a younger audience that perhaps isn't quite ready for the classic Sims games for PC.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what was more fun to build, houses that let you place the pieces in creative ways, or structures where you had to follow a rigid floor plan (the game contains both). Did designing the interiors of the houses give you any ideas about how to set up the furniture in your own room?
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