Are you a fan of EA’s tremendous Sims franchise, but you feel like your virtual pals have been getting a little soft thanks to their computers, parties, and froo-froo pets? Then consider rearing a Sim in a rustic environment. Really rustic. Like, “medieval Europe” rustic.
The Sims Medieval is an iOS adaptation of the very same PC game that lets you build a Sim’s life around the romantic era of knights and dragons. Your Sim will walk, talk, and work in a fairytale-like world of simple wooden houses, cauldrons, guilds, combat, and noble quests. Fortunately, the less desirable traits of the medieval period, like outhouses, plague rats, sickness, and rampant superstition, are tucked out of the way. In fact, unlike most Sims games, you’re not asked to keep on top of your Sim’s hygiene and toilet habits. Why bother? It can be assumed that, given the time period, everyone stinks like a dying pig anyhow.
Carnies at rest.
Otherwise, the core gameplay in The Sims Medieval remains unchanged for the most part, though there are some intriguing additions. You make a Sim, and you guide him or her through the challenges of daily life. These include the usual Sims gauntlet: hunger, socialization, fun, and tiredness.
As usual, you can also decide if you’re going to be a nice person, or a jerk. You become a well-respected citizen by making nice with your neighbor. You become reviled by skulking, stealing, and fighting unprovoked battles.
Indeed, you can finally whack your neighbors with a battle axe, which is one area where The Sims Medieval departs from the usual Sims experience. Though you can fight others in lieu of saying howdy-doo, battles are also a key part of “Quests,” which are favors your neighbors ask of you in return for money and experience. For instance, early in the game you’ll be asked to take down a nasty chicken-thief. You engage him in combat through a turn-based system that’s not exactly as complex as a typical modern role-playing game, but gets the job done regardless. Once he’s gone (a man’s life for a chicken’s? Hmmm), the thankful farmer who hired you will reward you.
Make your Sim as goth as you want.
Completing noble quests is how you move ahead in the world of The Sims Medieval, and if you stick to it, you may see your lowborn Sim move ahead in the ranks to become a Lord or Lady who is capable of building and keeping a kingdom of his or her own. The game’s fantasy element is surprisingly fun, and is a nice alternative for anyone who finds attending a daily job in a typical Sims game a little monotonous.
There are a couple of shortcomings to the game, however, including the occasional crash, and your Sim simply ignoring your commands even as you jab desperately at the screen. Also, the flute-heavy music might please a LARP-er, but it’s not long-term listening fare.
Otherwise, The Sims Medieval retains most of the Sims’ addictive traits while managing to add new ones that offer a pleasant change-up from the norm. Go forth and serve your neighborhood with honor.