by Quantrell Toval
MySims Racing for the Nintendo Wii is a kart racer based on EA’s MySims franchise. The original MySims made its debut on the Wii in 2007 with the premise of the player moving into a once thriving town that’s now in shambles and resurrecting it to its former glory. The main feature of the MySims franchise is its customization. Players are able to customize not only their character but usually everything around them. Another staple of the franchise are essences. Essences are generally a type of informal currency used to not only create things but add color as well. MySims Racing takes that formula, throws into a pot of kart racing and stirs it up. It delivers an enjoyable experience that plays it by the book.
MySims Racing has 3 main modes: Quick Play, Story Mode, and Multiplayer. Quick Play is a race outside the confines of story mode. It’s where you go if you just want to sit down, play a few races, and get off. Story mode is the meat and potatoes section of the game. In story mode your player-created character moves into your player-named town whose mission is to bring the town back from a 1 star desolate place to a 5 star racing metropolis. The player accomplishes this via races and tasks from the town’s populace. Completing tasks (which are 1 of 6 different types of challenges) earns you a blueprint which could be either a performance upgrade (which makes your car better) or a visual upgrade (which makes your car more customizable). Completing enough tasks eventually unlocks a championship series. Completing the championship series gives your town another star rating and unlocks another area with more citizens and more tracks. It’s a pretty straightforward affair. It’s obviously not Shakespeare but it gives you a deeper purpose other than just wanting to win every race for personal glory. Multiplayer is where you and up to 3 other friends can race or do challenges. It’s a local affair however as there is no online play in this game. Various control schemes can be used to play MySims. You can use Wii remote and nunchuck, classic controller, Gamecube controller, and Wii remote on its side (with or without a Wii Wheel). Analog controls will give you the most precision while driving but the tracks are wide enough that you can play with Wii Wheel style and still be successful with no problems. The tracks are all your usual race types (stadium tracks, forest tracks, desert tracks, winter tracks, etc). While the tracks are not memorable, they are definitely well designed. A staple of kart racers are items and MySims has 12 different items that can be used to either help yourself or hinder your opponents. Also, in story mode, the tracks are littered with essences. As you drive over essences, you collect them and you use them in the garage to purchase the upgrades you get from winning blueprints. The graphics in MySims Racing retain the cute and colorful chibi-like MySims look which may or may not nauseate mature gamers but work perfectly fine for the younger set. Anyone familiar with the
MySims franchise will recognize a fair amount of music while driving around town in story mode but the music that plays while racing is pretty ho-hum and largely forgettable. The level of customization is the game’s strongest asset. In story mode, you can select between 3 types of cars (small, medium, large), each with its strength and weaknesses. Smaller cars have better acceleration and handling at the expense of weight and top speed while large vehicles are just the opposite. In each set of vehicles, you can customize your vehicle to your heart’s content, changing everything from the style of car, the style of grill, the look of the head and tail lights, the side mirrors, the color, and the designs. All in all, this feature is really where this game shines as it’s easy to build a car that best fits your taste.
MySims Racing stacks up pretty well on its own merits but when compared to its biggest competitor on the Wii (Mario Kart Wii) it’s surprising how well MySims stacks up against it. The biggest and most glaring omission from MySims is a lack of online play. The local multiplayer works just fine and is fun to play but it’s nice to have the option to at least be able to jump online for a race or two if no one is around to play with. Another flaw would be the lack of track “personality” for a lack of a better word. All the MySims tracks are very functional but they’re also pretty bland when compared to style and liveliness of Mario Kart’s tracks. One thing MySims has over Mario Kart Wii however is that it’s pretty easy to unlock everything. You only need to come in 3rd place in races or challenges to unlock new blueprints so for those that can’t unlock all the vehicles and characters in Mario Kart because they can’t beat 150cc and mirror mode, this may be the game for you. Also, the weapons in MySims aren’t nearly as powerful as the one in Mario Kart’s. No blue shells of death, no Bullet Bills, no crazy last to first miracle finishes. The MySims racing can get you from maybe 2 positions ahead because they’re very subdued (outside of the UFO item). Overall, if you’re looking for a kart racer for the Wii, MySims Racing is a decent choice. Whether it’s worth getting if you already have Mario Kart Wii is debatable but if you don’t own Nintendo’s 1st party monster, MySims Racing is a good alternative. It may not have all the flash but it definitely gets the job done.
My Sims Racing is rated E for Everyone and is on store shelves now.
The Marred Gamers Report Card: B+