Reviewed: December 3, 2005
Released: October 24, 2005
The Sims series is one of the most beloved franchises of all time and most well known to PC gamers. Since February of 2000, the Sims has become the best selling PC game while winning the hearts of people around the world. Itís spawned more expansions than EverQuest and itís been ported to every major console (minus the Xbox 360) and handheld. Itís only fitting that the GBA get its third installment of this series, The Sims 2. In this game youíll literally step into the spotlight and get your 15 minutes of fame. If that wasnít good enough youíll be playing the leading role in a hit TV show called ďOne Time in Strangetown.Ē Itís up to you to unlock and play each and every episode and discover the many secrets this town has.
Almost everyone is familiar with the Sims style of gameplay. You start out by selecting/creating your characters and where they live. Then from there on out itís up to you to shape and maintain their lives.
This type of gameplay isnít easily done on the Game Boy Advance and therefore the rules of this Sim game are different. In fact, itís so different from its consol and PC siblings that itís hard to consider it a simulation at all.
First things first, your character has several needs (eating food, going to the bathroom, and rest). As with most Sims games, your social standing goes up the more you communicate and socialize with other characters. You can also purchase items for your home, but keep in mind that your Sims main goal revolves around the 12 linear episodes of the story. These episodes are fairly entertaining while having to maintain your sim (the main activity in previous games) is rather annoying.
One interesting thing to note is that several characters from the previous GBA games (The Urbz: Sims in the City and The Sims Bustin' Out) have moved into Strangetown, so make sure to say hi.
The gameís highlights are that itís easy to use control scheme and somewhat humorous takes on reality TV shows.
Graphics for most games on the GBA are pretty plain and this one is no exception. They don't seem to have evolved at all since the last Sims game (The Sims Bustin' Out). To make things worse, they appear to have gotten even grainier. The only positive thing about the graphics is that the game is very colorful, and the best The Sims 2 has to offer visually are the entertaining show-opening sequences.
Keep your headphones in your pocket for this one. The music is extremely basic and the short tracks repeat often. The sounds in The Sims 2 are more than just annoying, theyíre terrible. The sound effects seem to be just people blabbing and nothing else really stands out. You have the option of turning off the sound, and if you choose to do so (highly recommended) you wonít miss out on a thing.
The Sims 2 is a game that you could theoretically play through without killing yourself along the way. Thatís a compliment when you consider the hordes of trashy GBA games that come out every year. Unfortunately the best part of the game comes in the form of mini-games that appear in between episodes in the story mode.
If you want to skip the story mode and play the mini games you can choose to do so by yourself or compete head-to-head by linking two GBA (and two copies of the game). There are 7 fairly entertaining mini-games in all, but theyíre all pretty basic like youíd expect.
The story mode is half decent with humor rarely found in a GBA game. You or your child can expect to get a good amount of play time out of this small cartridge, and the mini-games are where the replay value can be found.
My overall experience was decent, but then again this game is different from what youíd expect if you are at all familiar with console and PC based Sim games. The Sims 2 is a very linear game with marginal graphics and minimal sound, but all in all it should please fans of previous Sim GBA games or those looking for a parody of a reality-TV show storyline.