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Video game review: Simple 'Sims' is fun for family

Wii-friendly to point of cuteness, game is simplified for kids

MY SIMS, Nintendo Wii, EA Games, rated E — for Everyone (reviewer's rating: 10 out of 10)

A simplified and child-friendly version of a Sims game was needed to give a new-perspective boost to the already popular series. And "My Sims" is Wii-friendly to the point of cuteness.

Earlier "Sims" games prided themselves on minute details — even to the point of what type of paneling would be good in the kitchen. The characters and tasks leaned toward reality. With "My Sims," E A Games takes cues from "Harvest Moon" and "Animal Crossing" to create a cartoon world that could easily be a cousin to those games.

There are no more meticulous interior walls to set up, which bodes well because gamers will want to go fishing, prospecting and exploring — which is the main idea of "Animal Crossing."

Although there are some similarities between "My Sims" and these other games, there are enough differences to make this one a unique gaming experience. For example, gamers can choose what style of house they want, which characters they want to move into the world and can be creative when approaching and completing various tasks.

There are different areas of the world that can be opened up with the right tools and upgrades. The upgrades and tools are handed out after a certain level is reached through pleasing the residents and carrying out their task orders.

Points are accumulated after tasks are completed and residents are happy.

Graphics: Shying away from realistic characters and buildings, "My Sims" is an anime-inspired world that uses block-like shapes to create houses, restaurants and shops. The workshop area allows gamers to build an array of furniture, and while the materials consist of wooden dowels, boards and columns, there is enough of an exaggerated style to make it fit in to the cartoonlike style.

Audio: Although "My Sims" is quite different than the other "Sims" games in looks, the audio tracks are basically the same. The music, sound effects and language (which is comprised of alien-vocabulary gibberish) will make veteran "Sims" players feel right at home.

Parent's take:The only thing mildly offensive is that sometimes a character will have to use the restroom. But, like "Sims" games that came before, private parts are pixilated out like a reality TV show. There are no offensive words and no acts of violence. Although some of the characters have been known to complain and dress up like goth rock stars.

Final word:Some "Sims" fans will find this game a little too simple. But it's easy to play for hours on end and has potential to be fun for the whole family.