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MySims Agents

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, Wii
Genre: Action
Publisher: EA
Developer: The Sims Studio
Release Date: Sept. 2009


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Wii Preview - 'MySims Agents'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 17, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

In MySims Agents you take on the role of a special agent hired to foil the sinister plans of Morcubus, lord of the underworld. By recruiting different MySims, each with their own special characteristics, you can build up your very own crime-busting team.

It's impossible to deny that adventure games are seeing a resurgence. Between the new Sam & Max and Monkey Island titles, the re-release of a number of beloved classics, and the popularity of DS games like Phoenix Wright, it's certainly a returning genre. Yet we haven't actually seen too much new for the genre outside of the occasional DS or Wiiware title. MySims Agents is one of the games looking to fill that niche by combining the kid-friendly MySims franchise with classic LucasArts-style adventure gaming to make a MySims title the whole family can enjoy.

MySims Agents puts you in the role of a small-town private detective who, for as-yet unknown reasons, is recruited into a sort of Men in Black/FBI organization. Your organization's goal is to foil the plots of the evil Morcubus. In particular, Morcubus is looking for a gadget known as the Nightmare Crown, which is obviously not a very nice thing. The crown is shattered into pieces, and if Morcubus could ever get his hands on them, it would mean bad things for the entire world. It's up to your agent and his hired help to find the pieces before Morcubus does. Your agent will travel all over the world, from ancient temples to a spooky mansion in the bayou in order to find the various relics, and save the MySims world.

Your overall goal in MySims Agents is to find the missing pieces of the Nightmare Crown. You'll do this in classic adventure game style, by traveling to various locations and poking around and solving puzzles until you find the lost pieces. This generally involves solving mysteries relevant to the place that you are exploring. A broken vase might be the clue you need to find the missing piece of the crown, but only if you can figure out who broke the vase. With each new bit of information you find, your handy-dandy notebook will automatically record all the leads for you, allowing you to come back and follow up on mysteries at a comfortable pace. Traveling around mostly involves moving your Sims to various objects and clicking on them to interact. Like LucasArts-style games, not everything you're going to investigate has a direct purpose. Some may be clues for later events, while others can just house humorous jokes. The gameplay seems reasonable simple, and it should be a solid game for the older and younger sets to play together, with enough complexity to keep an adult's attention while still being cheerful and easy enough for a kid to enjoy.

As a superagent, you'll have access to James Bond-style supergadgets. These gadgets will allow you to interact with the environment in usual ways, which in turn allows you to find new clues. We got to see a handful of these gadgets while fooling around with the game. The Super Detector allows you to see objects that would normally be invisible. In our demo, we got to trace the footprints of a dastardly criminal who had made off with parts of the Nightmare Crown. Once we followed the criminal, we came across a locked door. The door let us use one of our other toys, the Techno-Tool, which is a high-tech lockpick that can be used to open inaccessible doors. This was done by way of a mini-game. Similar to Traffic Jam or other types of games, you have a series of blocks that can only be moved in certain directions. You have to move these blocks out of the way to allow a path for the key block to get out. The third gadget we got to see was the F-Space Manipulator. While it sounds fancy, it's basically a sort of MySims gravity gun. It can be used to maneuver objects around the game world, which allows us to access new areas or important clues to solve the mysteries. You can use it to create a platform for the agent to jump across or to reach an object that's out of the way. In the demo, we had to move a few boxes around to create a staircase to climb to get to an inaccessible area.

While your main hero is a custom-created character, he isn't the only agent on the MySims team. As the game progresses, you'll be able to recruit new team members to help you out. These team members each have their own unique stats and abilities, and they'll be busy helping you out behind the scenes. Depending on who you recruit, you might have access to events that wouldn't be available if you were using lesser agents. There will even be a way to level them up, depending on where you assign them and what you give them access to. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a full view of what the various agents offered in our E3 demo, so we're still in the dark as to the full extent of the various agents' uses.

As with the other MySims titles, MySims Agents is built around the cute world of MySims. As such, it's a surprisingly large and vibrant world, with a lot of charm to it. We got to see a few of the areas in the game, such as the small town where the game begins, and the Bayou mansion. Both teemed with life. There were tons of little characters and objects to interact with, most of which reacted in some adorable way. It's not quite up to the charm of a Monkey Island, but the friendly and cheerful graphics make it an excellent choice for younger gamers. There was a lot of detail in the environments as well, and it looked like there would be plenty of places for curious agents to poke and prod.

MySims Agents is shaping up to be a good adventure game for the entire family. The gameplay is simple enough that younger gamers can pick it up and play without trouble, but it has enough going for it that parents can play along. The humor is cute and charming, and there's plenty here to keep the attention of gamers of all ages. There seem to be a lot of elements of customization and exploration available, which should give the game a fair bit of replay value. It's not going to be a game for everyone, but parents who are looking for a good game for the younger crowd should keep an eye on MySims Agents.

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