MySims Kingdom
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-12-20 Wii Adventure E (Everyone) EA

It took me quite a while to finally sit down and play MySims Kingdom. After playing the DS version, I thought it would be another repetitive and time-consuming experience, so I avoided playing it for some time, while I reviewed other games that could be played quickly. But I'm actually glad I sat down to play it, since I ended up having quite a bit of fun.

MySims Kingdom begins with a bit of story. A long time ago, there was a group of heroes who carried very special wands. They were called the Wandoliers, and they roamed the kingdom helping those in need, fixing things and keeping everything neat. But time has passed and the wands were lost. All but one. Now King Roland has decided to host some trials to find a new Wandolier, and this is where you come in.

You begin by creating your Sim. Although there isn't much as far as face customization, you can pick a hair style and color, skin tone, face paint, glasses, outfit and voice/pitch. When you're done, you find yourself in your simple life of a farmer, doing mundane tasks. This is mostly a way to get acquainted to the simple controls: Nunchuk analog to move around, A to interact with people and objects.

But after meeting your clumsy friend Buddy and helping him out, you receive an invitation for the trials, which is where the real fun begins. During the trials, and with the help of a wizard who loves to scare people by suddenly appearing or disappearing, you learn how to use your wand.

The basic interface is very simple: you can access your journal and your tools no the top right corner. The journal takes note of the people you meet, your relationships, your scrolls and items/materials/essences you have collected. The tools aren't all available right away, but are accessible through the mood gem, and they include the wand, treasure finder and paint brush.

The paint brush allows you to change roof, wall and floor colors. The treasure finder works like a metal detector: you roam around and watch it change colors (blue, green, yellow, red) and beep faster and faster the closer you get to the "treasure". When it beeps red, dig (press A) to reveal what you found.

The wand is definitely the most important tool, since it allows you to do pretty much everything, as long as you have the recipes. Recipes come in scrolls, which you find during your adventure. To activate the recipes in a given scroll, you must meet the material requirements and then talk to your friend Lyndsay, who holds the magic bag that takes care of the process.

Materials are everywhere, and I really mean that. And while I thought this would become a boring process like in the DS version (use the zapper until it's out of battery to gather essences, then combine them), it turns out that you gather materials in all kinds of ways - aside from the treasure hunting tool.

For example, you can shake trees to gather fruit and whatever else that grows on them by pressing B and shaking the Wii-mote. You can pick plants by pressing B and flicking the Wii-mote up. You also do this gesture when fishing, after the bobber sinks. You can chop trees to get wood by swinging the Wii-mote as an axe, and if you do destroy the tree you can plant another in its place, water it and watch it grow back.

If you find a pick-axe, that means you can mine on the nearby wall. Mining is like finding treasure, since the color and sound guide you. Walk along the wall shaking the Wii-mote up and down, and when you hit a red spot, the materials will come out.

Interacting with some objects can also give you things (playing the piano drops music notes, inspecting a couch may produce some coins, running on a treadmill gives you angry essences, getting mad at someone produces sad essences).

For each scroll you complete, you receive a set of recipes. These can be anything from flowers to furniture, more paint options, gears, belts and mechanical parts, doors, windows, fences, stairs, in a variety of themes as well (western, futuristic, cute).

When you activate the wand, you can pick from the available categories and browse the menus. You can get really creative when you have plenty of items, and build fantastic houses. The basics of building a house are a block, a roof, a door, a window. But you must pay attention to the requirements of the person making the request. They will want a certain number of a type of item, and you need to fulfill those requirements to complete the task and advance the story. It's easy to figure it out because everything is represented by icons, both in the requirements and in the item creations menu.

But everything you create uses mana, so you must keep an eye on yours and always look for more. You get it by randomly harvesting materials (from mining, treasure finding, pulling plants or shaking trees), by opening chests and by transmuting happy essences.

I think the toughest tasks were probably fishing (certain fishes are not easy to come by) and anything that required several pipes to be built(too much time spent flipping, rotating and switching pieces to fit everything together). Also, during the time you use the wand, you have no control whatsoever over the camera, so if you can't see the other side of a house block, you need to exit the wand menu, move around, adjust the camera, and bring the wand back out.

That aside, I must say the characters and silly dialogs made me smile several times (especially the wizard and Buddy in all his obliviousness), plus I always enjoy hearing a little Similish. Even if it could have used a few improvements in some areas, there is still a lot to keep you busy in MySims Kingdom. It's clever, cute, colorful and appeals to the players' creativity, which is always a good thing.

Special thanks to Angie Newman, Audra McIver and EA for providing a copy of this title.