A nice touch in The Sims Castaway Stories: when you swim in the ocean, not only does your hygiene bar increase, but so does your bladder bar. So this game advocates pissing in the ocean - the most fiendishly feral thing a human being can do. As well as this, when you hand an ape a banana it retreats into a bamboo thicket, squats, and commits an act that must be obscured by a pixelated box of censorship. Is it eating it in a suggestive manner? Or something even more crude? It’s a cheeky mystery.
This is the third Stories title in the series, continuing the tradition of taking you by the hand with bone-crushing firmness and leading you down a linear path of objectives. The house building and character creation has been done away with in favour of a rigid storyline built around The Sims 2’s interface. Every step of every action is clearly dictated for you - from finding a hatchet, to feeding an orangutan, to adopting that ape as a pet and giving it a job - there’s little freedom to be had on your island refuge.
That’s a shame, because despite every Sims game defecating on our optimism in ever larger amounts, there’s a part of us that thinks they might produce something worthwhile again. For instance, this could’ve been a brilliant survival game in which you were left entirely to your own devices, forced to figure out how living on an island worked. Instead it’s a dull, interactive movie, punctuated only by your guided clickings and inexorable groans. There’s no opportunity to work things out for yourself, no sense of discovery or exploration to be had, and very little satisfaction in proceeding through the set-in-stone storyline.
By peddling this sort of single-minded crud to children, EA are creating a new generation of absolute morons who won’t be able to think more than one step ahead of themselves. They will be incapable of making toast without first celebrating peeling a slice of bread from the loaf. They will burn down their houses and piss in the oceans. And it will all be EA’s fault. Well done.
Mar 13, 2008