MySims (Nintendo DS) - Review by Chris



The Sims franchise has been a very successful one and has seen its fair share of titles released on the DS already. But the majority of those attempts have proven to be mediocre at best and as such, EA decided it was time to bring a Sims title catering specifically to the DS' hardware and gamers, built from the ground up and exclusive to Nintendo's consoles. With a new presentation and some new gameplay quirks, yet maintaining the ethics of a true Sims game, does MySims live up to the heritage of the series and provide something new and engrossing for gamers to delve into?


MySims starts like many other Sims titles: you play a caricature that moves to a brand new town to start a new life. Where other Sims games leave it at that, MySims provides some further extrapolation on this idea by making the town you move to an ex-resort with dwindling numbers of inhabitants and tourists to help keep the town in a state of buoyancy. After the standard inputting of a town name and your own, you'll meet and greet the few inhabitants who remain in your new home town, including a mayor, an angry policeman, and a sad tailor. After this meet and greet, you'll learn that an ad has been placed to try and bring new people to the town to run some of the stores that are now vacant and on the first day, someone answers the ad for the flower shop and you'll help her brighten up the town by planting the flowers.

From this point on, your daily routine will be fixated on talking to townsfolk or tourists and trying to improve your town so as to attract more people. Some of these people will ask you to undertake certain tasks to further the improvement of your town while others will simply want to become your friend. Who you interact with and how you improve your town is entirely up to you as there is no set path to progression other than any help will result in the star rating of your town increasing and with it, more people will arrive. So far, it seems very much like prior Sims titles on the console in regards to working for townsfolk, which earns you money that you can spend to improve the decor in your household, but the game does bring with it some interesting concepts and ideas that really make the game come into its own. The game has borrowed heavily from Animal Crossing in that you have your own house and you can outfit it as you please, with no pesky raccoon to harass you for money, but the furniture is completely customisable with the game allowing you to make your own, although it does adhere to a set template but the end result it however you want it to be. Likewise, you can build houses and other buildings from scratch to your own designs and just these things help to make the game a much more personal experience than it would otherwise be.

The daily pace of the game though, like other Sims games, is rather on the slow side and while certain things have been included to help and minimise this, those who were put off by that slowness will feel the same issues here. The inclusion of various mini-games does help to provide some short and quicker gameplay but these are sectioned from the main crux of the gameplay and so you'll have to slog through the main elements to get to them.


Touch screen or button based controls are made available for the player to use, with both being activated at the same time. Which you use will come down to your own preferences but the touch screen controls do work better. Using the d-pad to move the characters around proved awkward and sluggish while the stylus allowed for a more seamless and easy movement. Navigating your inventory and menus is also much easier with the use of the stylus, although it's not entirely unbearable using the buttons. The only area where the touch screen controls can be an issue is when it comes time to interact with an object or with a person, leaving you repeatedly tapping the touch screen to get the game to interact while a simple press of the A button works perfectly. A combination of both buttons and stylus input is the recommended way to go as it gives you the best of both setups. There is no camera control unfortunately, with the game choosing to stay with a fixed camera angle akin to that in Animal Crossing: Wild World. It can, very occasionally, be difficult to see things but its still very manageable.


The game employs an entirely new aesthetic for the handheld and it looks fantastic. The visuals are much better than the previous attempts to make a realistic looking Sims game on the handheld. Characters bare a chibi style look with big heads on slender bodies but they look fantastic, carrying a lot of charm, and are animated extremely well throughout the game when either doing a task on their own or when interacting with others. The town and its surroundings also look great, showing a good level of detail both in the interior and exterior locations. The game uses a very exuberant colour palate throughout that makes the graphics really leap out at you. It adds to the character and the atmosphere of the game and while the colours are on a more simplistic level than the various hues and palates used in the other Sims games, this undoubtedly looks a lot better and runs a lot smoother as well, primarily thanks to the new camera position which EA has clearly taken from Animal Crossing. There are also other similarities between this game and that aforementioned one with some of the furniture pieces and items looking like they came from there but all the items are of a highly detailed quality and there's plenty of variety in them.


The use of Simlish speech continues but when it's used with this new aesthetic, it seems to work better than it does in the realistic look as it feels more tuned to this visual style. The speech is complete nonsense but it carries an air of humour with it that will bring a smile to your face. The music also works extremely well with the new look, with some ambient sounds conveying the laidback nature of the town and its surroundings will also helping to keep a cheerful grin on everything that happens.

Dual screen

The gameplay all takes place on the touch screen, allowing for input through this in every area from moving characters to completing mini-games to creating furniture and buildings. The top screen is used to show a myriad of things, primarily a oversized clock split into 4 segments to tell you what section of the day it is but it can also be used to show you a map, which is extremely helpful at the beginning when you don't know where things are, and is used for other areas when in menus. There isn't a whole lot of interconnectivity between the two screens but they are used well.

Final comments

MySims is ultimately a more accessible game for a newer generation of gamers who've flocked to Nintendo's handheld. It maintains some of the ethics behind a true Sims title but brings with it some new ideas that ultimately set it apart as being a unique experience. While feeling slightly more automated than the likes of Animal Crossing, the game has enough creativity and customisation to make it sit happily alongside that series as one of a few games that is best experience in short bursts. Fans of Animal Crossing will like this but the slow pacing may turn others off.

Pro: Presentation is great, touch screen controls work better than buttons for the most part, customisation and building of items is a great inclusion to the game
Con: Slow pace will turn players off, button based controls are awkward, camera can sometimes be an issue
Final score: 7.5


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Boxart of MySims (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Tose
Publisher: Electronic Arts