Like all great sandboxes, creating and accessorizing your character is half the fun of MySims and here, you don't have any pesky genders to get in the way. Taking your customization a step further is a voice editor that allows you to pick from a variety of pre-sets and then alter the pitch to find the Simlish tone you're looking for. Naturally, progressing through the game unlocks new fashions for your character, so those who spent dozens of hours finding their perfect look in Animal Crossing will have more than enough reasons to make more room for mirror-time.
Not surprisingly, the Animal Crossing comparison doesn't end with the superficial.
Though MySims is much more of a goal-oriented title than Nintendo's title, the general design holds true. You run about your town, meet the locals, do chores for them and essentially become their willing servant. MySims is a bit more dynamic, thanks to the customization afforded to the player. If the chef asks you to build him an oven, you're not limited to specific blocks, leaving you able to shape and paint it within reason. The customization aspect of the game is directly tied to the overall goal of life in MySims.
Everything from accessories to paint jobs are influenced by one of the six essences: cute, studious, tasty, spooky, geeky and fun. To make our chef friend happier, you could go and collect apples (shaken off the branch with a waggle of the remote) to turn into paint, and color his walls with a tasty shade of red. That's the most basic example of how the influence is achieved, allowing you to tailor your town and citizens in the style you choose. Should you create a town that's made completely out of one essence, you'll unlock a few hidden surprises.
Where the comparisons to Animal Crossing stop, however, are unfortunately where it counts. There is no multiplayer to speak of on the Nintendo Wii version of MySims, so visiting friends via WiFi Connect is out of the question. Nor can two folks sharing a console live together in the same town as the game is strictly a single player experience. When asked about the missing feature, EA said it's something that will be heavily looked into should it warrant a sequel.
After spending some quality time with MySims, we don't think it'll be hard for them to drum up the support. All it'll take is a glimpse of a Sims dance party to melt the hearts and credit cards of innocent bystanders. Despite the sorely missing multiplayer component, it shares many of the hallmarks that made Animal Crossing so addicting and adds a much needed dose of customization to the mix. For a game that will survive on the knee jerk reaction of those who see it, those who bend to its adorable will are in for a quality experience.
MySims is due out September 18th.