The Sims Bustin’ Out Review

Developer: Maxis Publisher: EA
Release Date: May 11, 2004 Also On: GBA

Back in 2000, The Sims had me hooked on the PC for hours at a time. I pulled off an all-nighter in favor of playing what became the most successful PC game of all time. The console version, The Sims, which appeared on game shelves in 2003, didn’t bring the game’s charm from PC to console. For some reason, the series felt lost, so Bustin’ Out tries, at its core, to recreate The Sims for PC, though on a handheld level.

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Bustin’ Out for N-Gage is a refined version of the Game Boy Advance game of the same title. The graphics are spruced up, but since I have not played it, I can’t comment anymore than that. When comparing it to the original PC game, the traditional elements found in that game are here, with a few things left out.

For one, you really don’t buy as much furniture in this. The place where you live is furnished by your uncle. You actually play as a kid, who you design. His (or her) name, skin tone, hair style, hair color, shirt, pants, and shoes are all up to you. You even have the chance to distribute attributes, such as cleanliness and seriousness.

While this isn’t the free-roaming Sims that we have come to expect, it retains much of it. In ways, it expands on it, by offering an entire town for your character to discover. By including SimValley in the game, which diversifies your experience on an environmental level, it does take away from the game’s central focus of life-simulator.

Bustin’ Out does retain the “Sim factor�, as I refer it. Your sim must eat, bathe, sleep, socialize, relieve itself, and best of all, watch television. These needs are presented in bars on the bottom of the screen. The bar will drop as you occupy yourself with other things. When it gets severely low, it is suggested that you do the activity that needs to be done, or else your sim will not function properly.

The Sims for PC had a system where you would build relationships. Again, Bustin’ Out lacks this system. You have a nice number of personalities, including a biker, thief, detective, and aspiring politician, but the half-witted comments that you will make are too obvious when choosing what lines to say. The insults and lines that would impress are overly apparent, thus building or destroying relationships is far too simple.

Now, while my pessimism in the above paragraph might turn you off, one of the more original concepts in Bustin’ Out is also fairly clever. Instead of having a job, like in the PC game, your character will earn simoleans by doing yard work (i.e. mowing the lawn), serving drinks, fishing, and more. Sure, these mini-games aren’t The Sims we’ve come to respect and love, but it’s a nice departure from the otherwise boring game.

Another nice add-on was a cell-phone. Early on in the game, you receive a Nokia cell-phone from your uncle. This can be used to make calls, play mini-games, and connect to N-Gage Arena. The two mini-games that I have unlocked so far are Snake and Tennis. Snake is based off of the PC game on older computers and Tennis is a Pong rip-off. It wouldn’t be a bad addition, had it not required you to equip your phone after every play-through.

If you’re a fan of The Sims for the PC, you’ll most likely be disappointed that this isn’t a reformatted version of the now classic game. For you on-the-go gamers, I doubt you had the time to actually give The Sims for the PC a try, so this might be a good endeavor. Be warned, that once you play the PC version, you’ll never want to try this again.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 4.5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 6.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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