A pig herder becomes a dutiful wandolier in MySims Kingdom

This might be an obvious statement to make, but with The Sims games, I either enjoy them or I don’t. There’s no middle ground. I first got to play the original game for the PC long after everyone else did, sometime back during my late college days in 2004/2005 or so, and I enjoyed it for the most part, never getting really far with my house or job or relationships with the kooky and nosy neighbors that populated Sim Lane. Speaking of relationships, by the time I started playing this, my then-girlfriend, which we will call the Giraffe, also ate up the game, so much that she bought her own copy, and we would ooh and ahh over each other’s furniture pickings and race each other to upgrade our houses. It was light competitiveness, but it kept the game meaningful. However, I have not touched many iterations after the original.

Of the many spin-offs and iterations, I have played a tiny bit of The Sims 3 on my cell phone, The Sims Social on Facebook until I couldn’t really progress anymore without spending some hard-earned cash, and MySims Agents for the Nintendo DS. Of those three, surprisingly, I am more fond of the latter title, which is part of a sub-franchise of simulation games built around the idea of being kid-friendly and easier to get into. Granted, I rated the game a 4 out of 10, but I can’t fault it for being a more relaxing, sim-like experience. Sometimes you just want to fart around in a world without worrying that you’ll go hungry or set yourself aflame in the kitchen or aren’t making enough money at your job to pay for all that furniture you just ordered.

And so we come to MySims Kingdom. For the Nintendo Wii. Yeah, yeah…I know. On Grinding Down, there has not been a ton of Wii coverage, mostly because I never remember to turn it on and play the games I got for it, but on a recent trip to GameStop, with a buy-two-used-get-one-free deal hanging low overhead, I picked up Katamari Damacy (PS2!), Super Paper Mario (Wii), and…MySims Kingdom. For free. It was free.

To my shock, it’s not bad. I mean, it’s not great, either, but it’s not bad. Most notably, the writing is sharp and pretty funny. You start as a low pig farmer of whatever build you like, whether it’s a boy or girl. You then get thrown into a contest. After which, you are chosen by King Roland to become the new wandolier for the kingdom. It is a wandolier’s job to scour the many islands that make up the kingdom and help people remain happy. All previous wandoliers have passed away or retired, and many islands have fallen into disrepair. It’s a paper-thin story, but it at least gives you a reason to go around helping people with their problems instead of just asking like an overzealous creepo.

Pauly’s friends Buddy and Lyndsay help dish out sidequests, as well as some amusing, if downright silly dialogue. Like, that one time Buddy talked about growing some bacon in the ground, and a little later, while using a metal detector, I discovered a whole bunch of ground-bacon. There’s also a wizard that sometimes says ABBA-CADOOBIE when disappearing; as an Abba, I can get behind that.

I just finished all the tasks on the first island you can go to once you get your boat. This was a Western-themed place called Cowboy Junction. Here, Pauly the Wandolier helped restore an outdoors pizza cafe, a blacksmith, herd Roxie Road’s cows into place, and teach a misinterpreted bandit how to make friends. Aww. It’s all very relaxing–except for the Wii-mote motion parts, like chopping down trees or clinking rocks with a pickaxe in search of gems–and not at all difficult, though the grinding and Simlish can become grating after too long of a play session. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (I really can’t tell anymore these days), I got this shortly before getting Borderlands 2, so I don’t know when I’ll be back, but when I need to cool my jets, paint some houses green, dig up bacon bits, and collect musical notes from trees, I know just the place.

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