The latest in a long string of MySims games is here. Originally made to be a less “grown up” version of the popular Sims titles, MySims Agents takes it to a new dimension and puts you into the shoes of a local detective. This is the fifth MySims offering from EA Games, so there are high expectations for the success of previous titles to be reached.
The plot of the game follows your own made up character who is chosen to become the special agent of the town in order to take on the evil Morcubus, so the first thing you have to do is to create your own character. The customisation is really fun and you can choose everything from gender to clothing, including facial features. There are enough options for each feature to create a character that you really do like and can relate to. For instance, I gave my girl (who I named Lucinda, just to be different!) a scar on her forehead because “it gives her history”!
Once you have made your character up the scene is set. The poor Sims are bored of getting dull cases to solve, and no sooner have they said that when the poor flower girl asks you to help her get her dog back from an evil man. But this is no ordinary evil man, this is Morcubus, who turns out to be the source of all evil within this small town. It is at this early point that the humour is brought to the forefront of the action. There is plenty of dialogue in all cases, but not too much to be off-putting, and what there is to read is relevant and often entertaining. It might just be me, but the “Sim language” also makes me giggle, with random noises often leaving you imitating MySims Agents characters.
When your own Sim gets his/her promotion, he/she is the chief investigator of all things sinister, and it turns out to be a great little journey. When you bear in mind that this game is aimed at a younger audience, it packs all of the necessary elements in to really keep interest and make you want to play to the end. Your tools will aid you in solving all crimes; the crowbar helps you to open boxes and smash up bins, the wrench fixes objects and the magnifying glass helps you to trace footprints. Add these to the help offered by fellow neighbours then you can solve every crime and make the town safe.
When you are promoted, you also get access to your own apartment where you can change your clothes so as to remain mysterious, and recruit other Sims to be your agents to send out on cases that you don’t have time for. There are plenty of instructional videos and conversations along the way so there is no need to worry about younger players feeling too lost. You can catch the train to and from your apartment at any time and catch up with your secretary as well as using the phone to hire more recruits.
While the tasks would provide little challenge for an adult mind, the volume of investigative work would be a great test for pre-teens but would not be so difficult that they wouldn’t want to play again. It would get their brains ticking a bit, but there is the option to check your diary to get hints as to who you should be questioning.
There are also mini-games along the way, which are also great fun and add variation to the investigations. These games make more use of the Wii Remote than the bulk of the game so the motion sensor does not go to waste in MySims Agents. The mini-games see your character hacking computers, repairing broken items, analysing forensic puzzles and picking locks. These fun parts of being an agent are enjoyable to play, and maybe there should be more of them to add further variation, but that’s not to say everything else about the game is dull, because it’s far from.
The control system is simple to master. The Nunchuk moves your character, the arrows on the Wii Remote select which tool to use, the A button interacts, B runs and occasionally Z jumps. That’s about all there is to it. It’s simple to understand for the younger ones, and also useful for the big kids to remember! There’s also on screen help on occasions where extra controls are necessary but this is not distracting.
As expected, the animations are bright, colourful and bold. The characters are animated in a similar way to Mii characters and the town is also set out in a cartoon style. In a game such as this, the graphics really work. It is not necessary to create realistic settings, but somehow you can really place yourself into this neighbourhood thanks to the well laid out houses, restaurants and other buildings. The loading times between settings are also very impressive. There is only a few seconds to wait to switch between the main street and the construction yard for example, which means you are not put off from really exploring every corner of the town.
The background music is forgettable, but when you’re deeply involved in solving highly intellectual crimes, who cares? The sound effects are in the right places, and the sounds are not distracting. As mentioned before, the Sim voices are present every time a Sim is speaking and actually, you can really match the voice to the text as it lasts the correct amount of time and is in good pitch. This makes for a better audio experience that is not out of place.
I personally found this game a great joy to play, and I carried on for longer than necessary to complete this review. It makes me feel like a big child, and I think a lot of people above the target age would find it pleasant to play and enough of a challenge to remain interested. The humorous edge to many of the characters and scenarios creates further depth to MySims Agents and genuinely creates the feeling of wanting to go back for more.
The game as a whole is well made, well planned and looks exciting. Okay, so it’s not for everyone, but what game is? I recommend it to pre-teens and maybe just-turned-teens and I also predict that older siblings or even parents will be joining in before long!
+ Fun storylines
+ Simple controls that make good use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk
+ Likeable characters
+ Nicely presented
- Not challenging for experienced gamers
- Background music could be made to fit in more
- More frequent mini-games would add variation
Score – 8/10