We managed to get a sneak peek at EA's upcoming Wii The Sims game, MySims. It's cute. It's really, really, really, really cute.
Unlike the make-a-Sim/live-your-life gameplay of The Sims or The Sims 2, the Wii's MySims focuses much more on helping out friends and building up a village. The result is a game that's part The Sims, part Animal Crossing, and part Lego Star Wars (without the blasters or lightsabers). You can build structures--starting with your own home but eventually others' homes, stores, and even dance clubs--out of basic blocks. Once you have the basic shape of your building done, you can customize it with different paint schemes, windows, doors, and other nifty ornaments. The building tools have plenty of variety, and your resulting structure can be anything from a cartoonish workshop to a stern brick tower. Of course, that's just the outside of the building. Things get much more complicated inside.
Like its predecessor, MySims lets you customize your home with chairs, desks, beds, and many other nifty objects. More importantly, it lets you customize the objects themselves. Every object in MySims is made out of basic blocks that can be rearranged, stacked, and shuffled around on your whim. Once the basic shape of your object is built, you can really go nuts with customization. MySims is full of "essences," little items that let you put extra little touches on your items, or give them special paint schemes. A spooky essence might let you put a creepy skull on your chair, and a cute essence might let you paint it with flowers. We saw several dozen different essences, so it's safe to say that you can get pretty creative when building objects.
Besides building things, helping out friends is another important part of MySims. As you build up your town, more and more people will move in, and they'll want your help. You might have to collect essences for them, or build furniture, or any other sort of task. In return for your service, they'll be happy and often give you even more essences to play with. And the more friends you make and the more that move into your town, the more of your town can open up. What starts off as a small clearing might become a village surrounded by a creepy forest with a big mountain in the background, all of which you can explore to find more essences.
With all of this customization available, you'd think online play would be a sure thing for the game. After all, what's the fun in building a castle full of robots if you can't share them with friends? Unfortunately, EA is staying quiet about online play on MySims. It would be nice, but we'll have to wait and see. MySims hits the Wii this fall, with a DS version coming out shortly after.