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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Living Sim

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Maxis

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Release Date

Q4 2003

 

 

- Perfect ending to the original Sims lineup of titles
- Adds one of the most ambitious and diverse worlds to The Sims universe
- Turning people to toads never ceases to be fun!

 

 

- Graphics havenít changed from the original game
- No drastic enhancements to the basics of Sims gameplay
- Why can you drive around the Sims towns in the next Sims console game but still not in the PC version

 

 

Review: Sims - Hot Date (PC)

Review: Sims - Superstar (PC)

Review: The Sims (PC)

 

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The Sims Makin' Magic

Score: 8.7 / 10

Three years after the original The Sims came along and became the best selling PC game of all time due in large part to the long string of expansion packs that kept the gameplay fresh, itís time to say aloha to the Sims series with the release of The Sims Makiní Magic. Aloha is a nice versatile Hawaiian word, meaning both hello and goodbye. So itís a fond aloha to the original Sims with Makiní Magic before issuing a welcoming aloha to The Sims 2, the next incarnation of the Will Wright phenomenon.

 

sims makin magic pc review          sims makin magic pc review

 

Makiní Magic proves to be a fittingly enchanted finale to the magical run of success that is The Sims. Makiní Magic starts off rather inconspicuously. But as youíre going about your everyday Sims business, a mysterious package arrives on your front steps. Opening the package reveals a Wand Changer, spell book, and a magic wand. Also, a Clown Hole appears on your front lawn, which is now the portal to the wonderfully charmed Magic Town, where magic and supernatural occurrences are commonplace among its spooky and carnival-themed lots.

To learn how to use your magic wand, you must first learn spells and the ingredients needed to charge your wand in the Wand Changer. Once you find the right mix of ingredients, your Sim will now have magical abilities, but you have to be careful how your Sims use it and take time to learn proper spellcasting, because if you donít the spells could backfire against you instead of the intended Sims target. The first spell you will learn is one of the funniest to cast: toadification. Yes, you can turn that annoying always-hitting-on-your-spouse neighbor into a toad! Other fun magic spells allow you to put a fall-in-love charm on a would-be lover, hypnotize 

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other Sims, or bring your little garden gnomes to life. Thereís plenty more to learn and some of the ingredients you will need for spells can only be obtained by doing tasks for many of the Sims not under your control throughout Magic Town, like Vicki Vampress or Apothecary Todd.

 

These tasks are one of the many different activities that follow in the steps of Makingí Magicís immediate 

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predecessor in the series, The Sims Superstar, by providing gamers actual goals and missions to achieve instead of simply building bigger and better Sims domiciles, dating, going on vacation, or caring for pets. Just like Superstar, thereís some actual work to be done if you want to be a Makingí Magic maven.

Still, even with one of the most ambitious worlds of the Sims franchises (as far as the additional tasks and goals that you can choose) in Magic Town, general gameplay it isnít too much of a difference overall from the basic simulation-of-everyday-living that is at the heart of The Sims, especially following Superstarís similar task-based gameplay. Disappointingly, there still isnít the ability to drive around in vehicles from place to place as will be available in the upcoming Sims console title Bustiní Out (Whatís with the names of some of these Sims games? Bustiní? Liviní? Makiní? Someone at Maxis sure doesnít like the letter ďgĒ).

 

sims makin magic pc review          sims makin magic pc review

 

Many activities in Magic Town allow you to earn MagiCoins to buy new ingredients and therefore increase your magical powers. The most basic is performing in a variety of magic shows and acts, where the magic and illusions are real, not slight-of-hand parlor tricks. The most stimulating action in Magic Town happens in the duel arena, where you will square off magician-versus-magician for best-of-the-land bragging rights to go along with those MagiCoins you can earn. Becoming a top-notch magical master isnít quite as difficult as gaining stardom in Superstar, but Sims veterans will indeed find it challenging enough and charming, Iím sure.

Makiní Magic wouldnít be a typical Sims expansion pack without a whole slew of new items that you can use to remodel your Sims home, and there are another 175 here, many with magical qualities including carnival rides, and newer everyday items that will make everyday Sims life a lot easier away from Magic Town.

The game remains graphically the same in line with exactly every previous Sims title with a burst of colorful chicanery flair and ghostly glow to create the perfect magical aura around Magic Town. But after getting a glimpse of Sims 2 on the preview disc included with Makiní Magic, itís clear the visuals of the original Sims lineup, which have held up surprisingly well after four years, are ready to give up the ghost and evolve into its new look early next year. And the Sims wouldnít be the Sims without great music, given an appropriately magical theme in Makiní Magic, and the now-famous Simlish language spoken amongst Sims populating your PC.

The witching hour has finally struck for the original Sims series as Makiní Magic passes the torch to the next era in Sims gaming next year. As one of the more ambitiously designed expansion packs, Makiní Magic will captivate and magically delight Sims fans everywhere. Obviously, the legion of Sims fanatics will want Makiní Magic as part of their Sims collection. Its new features will keep them more than happy and for those that havenít been hooked on The Sims before, itís a good introduction to the series before The Sims 2 surfaces sometime in 2004.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

 

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