The Sims is one of the most famous and the biggest selling PC franchises ever made, so it is of no surprise that EA is trying to get it to as many platforms as possible and along with a little help with Nokia, the little people that control freaks love comes to the N-gage, the surprising factor is that the n-gage version is most definitely the best Sims game available yet. EA and Nokia have really worked to the phones strength and produced a highly playable game that both fans and non fans alike will enjoy playing on their N-Gage system on the move.
The basic philosophy behind The Sims is to give people control of a sim or family of sims. In the case of the N-Gage version, you only take command of one character; either a male or female teenager who has just moved into Sim Valley, a small town on the outskirts of what we assume to be Sim City. As you progress through the game, apart from the missions, the storyline is entirely up to you. Will you find a date? Will you work hard to get promoted? These are just some of the decisions that can and will affect the storylines in the game.
The N-Gage Bustin' Out is divided into five missions, each of which contain numerous sub missions which must be completed to progress in Sim Valley. The aim of the game is to become super rich, own one of the houses on the best estate and eventually have a holiday house on an island paradise. To do this, the game is very much reminiscent of the other sims titles available on PC and console. You have to manage the day to day life of a character in various different categories, unfortunately you do still have to tell them to go to the toilet and have a shower. Something which has always made time management difficult in this game.
However time management is exactly where the N-Gage version excels. You always feel in control and not forced to do a task next. Whereas in other versions of The Sims you may find yourself struggling to sleep, work and play, in this version managing the different categories is quite easy and this is partly due to the new job system which is so good its hard to see why it hasn't been implemented in other games until now. No longer does your character leave the screen for six or so hours a day to work, instead the game contains a variety of mini games.
The mini games are the master stroke of the N-gage version because not only do they help with the time management but also add much needed replay value to the title due to the lack of sandbox mode present on PC and console. Mini games include driving a ride on mower, serving drinks in the bar and others. The mini games give you a direct control over how much money you earn as well by completing different tasks. One quick mini game gives enough money in most cases to eat for two days in the game so as you can see a lot less time is taken up by work and a lot more for getting goals completed.
The goals of the game help push the game along and don't ever seem pointless. They may introduce you to new characters who you can befriend or even begin to date or help you gain a new item such as a scooter which helps you move around the large town quicker. However there is a few things missing that many veterans of the sims will find puzzling. First of all you can't get married or have children in fact you really can't date. You can become really good friends with a character and kiss them but besides that the game leaves the romantic side out. The other major absence is the sandbox mode which has always been one of the most popular sides of the game and this could turn some people away from the game.
Visually the game is quite impressive with some decent animations for all characters and great mini games to play even when the game is completed. The game features close ups of characters during chat and a day and night cycle. The town itself is quite large and features a multitude of places to visit such as the bar and general store. The sound effects are fairly good with the sims mumbling their now trademark language and a catchy soundtrack to keep the game interesting.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect is that The Sims on N-Gage really is the best version of the game yet except for the lack of sandbox mode. The developers have finally perfected a formula that allows you to perform tasks and have fun with the characters while still having to carry out tasks to earn money. The different missions keep the game interesting and give the game play a purpose and goal so if you're looking for a game to play in short bursts during travel or a quick amount of spare time then definitely check out The Sims N-Gage.