Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My Sims Racing for Nintendo Wii, Full Review

Title: My Sims Racing
Release Date: June 8, 2009
Genre: Racing
Rating: E for Everyone
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
Product Link:

My Sims Racing is a kart racing game made by Electronic Arts, the same company that brought us NASCAR Kart Racing earlier this year. However, these two games could not be more different.

Just like any other Sims game, you start by creating your character. While there aren’t a whole lot of customization options are available for your character, your kart does have quite a few. You’re able to change body style, headlights, taillights, spoilers, rims… needless to say, you have a lot of custom options. There are three different kart designs; small, medium and large. Each kart has different custom options and all of them behave vastly different on the track. The large kart has a better top speed and cannot be bumped off the track easily, the small kart has great acceleration and handling and the medium kart is a combination of the two. I find the smaller karts best to race with, since hardly any of these tracks have straight sections long enough to achieve top speeds.

The story mode is the main focus of the game. There’s this old guy who was obsessed with racing and used to run the town. Then for some reason he disappeared, blah blah blah, you have to bring the spirit of racing back to the town, it’s a very generic story. The town is full of a lot of colorful stereotypes, each has their own personality; a teenager who is all gothic and emo, an Italian guy who own the pizza restaurant and old guy who is crotchety, each of which has missions for you to complete. Through these missions you earn blueprints to build more custom features for your carts. After so many missions are completed you are able to race in a tournament, which if won unlocks more areas of the town and therefore more missions.

The racing is done very well. Karts skid and slide around the track and really give the feeling of speed as you maneuver around the corners. The difficulty is quite easy and I couldn’t find a way to adjust it. While racing there are collectable diamonds strewn all over the track, these diamonds are used as a currency in game. You use these gems to build parts with the blueprints you unlock. Controls vary on how you play. If you use the Wii-Mote/Nunchuck combo you’ll have very little trouble with the controls. The only problem is I was always making my kart jump when I didn’t mean to. To make your kart jump you flick up on the Wii-Mote, so any time I had to scratch my face or adjust how I was sitting, my kart would start hopping all over the place. If you try to use the Wii-Mote sideways, like a steering wheel, it is nearly impossible to keep the kart going straight. The allowance to keep your controller level is so small you’ll be consistently shifting it back and forth trying to find that small window.

Just like in all kart racing games, there are a number of weapons you can use to throw your competitors off-track, pun definitely intended. All the normal ones are here; shields, missiles, but there are also a few original ones too, including one that makes the track really slippery and another that turns your screen upside-down and forces you to race that way for a number of seconds. It’s nice to see some originality from a genre that is over produced.

Another downfall is the limited amount of tracks. For example, when you’re playing the career mode, there are only two or three tracks per section of town. This might be forgivable if you had the option to run the track in reverse or run a mirrored version of the track, but there isn’t.

My Sims Racing is only available for the Nintendo Wii. With its solid racing, limited number or tracks and bland storyline, it’s an easy game to just pass over, in favor of other kart racers. Comparing this to just NASCAR Kart Racing, which I reviewed a couple months back, this one falls short.

Overall Rating: ***

The Gaming Savant, Ryan Smith

September 2, 2009

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