MySims Racing
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
Publisher: EA
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1, 2-4 wireless multi-card play
Words By:

The MySims series is a cutesy spin-off from The Sims, and this is just about as close as you’ll get to MySims: Mario Kart. Presumably aimed at the younger end of the market (but who can tell these days?) it’s a race & explore ‘em up game with a central village forming the hub for all your adventures in the surrounding areas.

Actually, “adventures” might be too strong a word, as the gameplay seems to consist mainly of simple A to B taxi jobs or search & collect type missions for the Simlish-speaking locals. There are of course races too, and this is where it really starts to feel like Mario Kart. The races are held on a varied selection of themed tracks (icy, volcanic, forest, space etc.) and the racing itself is made a lot more interesting by the inclusion of “cute” weapons that you can pick up at certain points on the tracks; footballs as missiles, pumpkins that make rivals skid, acorns that grow instantly into trees to block their way, bubbles to capture them and make them float away and delay them, even a flying saucer that only appears if you’re lagging behind that’ll pick you up and fly you quickly back into contention… Some of these weapons “home in” on your competitors, but you need to take care with some of them as they can mess you up as well.

There are even turbo boost-pads dotted around the tracks for periods of acceleration, short cuts and lots of cute scenery. If you’ve played a Mario Kart or Crash Bandicoot racing game, or remember Stunt Race FX on the SNES you’ll feel right at home. The difference lies in the MySims ethos of making everything individual and unique. You design your own character at the start and as you perform tasks for the locals or win races you’ll be given blueprints for new parts or earn Essence coins, the MySims currency – these can be used to buy upgrades for your vehicle. Visiting Ol’ Gabby’s garage and handing over your earnings will get you better handling, different wheels, more powerful engines or even different vehicle designs (from sports cars to 4x4s to fire engines) and all kinds of other cute custom add-ons.

The presentation is superb, it's the perfect 'jump in for a quick go' game, has that 'one more go' addictiveness, and the game even has infuriatingly catchy tunes that play in the background but miraculously never get annoying, in true Nintendo tradition. EA should be congratulated because this is one of the most Nintendo-like games that I’ve played that wasn’t actually made by Nintendo, and is more fun than most of Nintendo’s recent in-house offerings. The target market is the thing that confuses me; is this aimed at kiddies, or at the millions of adult gamers who lap this type of game up, or somewhere inbetween? The difficulty level of some races seems to curve up quite sharply from the easy to navigate tracks that they start you off with, to winding circuits that like throwing sharp corners at the top of bottomless canyons at you, so be prepared to plummet to the bottom a few times like Wile E. Coyote. Some search missions might be a tad to tricky for the very little ones too, so Mum or Dad better be prepared to help. Anyone else will find it innocent fun and strangely engaging and addictive, like all Nintendo games used to be.

Best Bits

- Fun kart racing action
- Lots of custom parts and new areas to unlock
- Lots to do
Worst Bits

- Lots and lots of A to B driving
- Gets more difficult suddenly

by: Princess BB

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