A little over a week ago, I left the store with a brand new copy of The Sims Supernatural in hand. Once I was out the door, I went straight home. I did not pass go. I did not collect $200. After an easy download, I proceeded to play for what ended up being an embarrassing amount of time. Let’s just say if rehab existed for this game (or Sims 3 Anonymous?), someone would have considered an intervention by now. Overall, it’s an entertaining and clever expansion pack for an already complex and amazing game.
All of the supernatural character types have some fun features and unique interactions:
If your Sim is a fairy, you have TONS of new options to play around with. While full-size, fairies can play pranks, such as “Tummy Twister” or “Skivvies,” which makes another Sim’s clothes disappear. They can even set traps on toilets and mailboxes for unsuspecting Sims to set off. Don’t worry – they’re not always mischievous. Fairies can also project auras like the Aura of Creativity or the Aura of Soothing, which will not only affect your Sim, but those around them as well. When fairies shrink to their smaller forms, they can play with werewolves, enter their tiny homes for punch and even have little fairy house parties. All of this barely scratches the surface – I could go on for awhile!
Is your Sim a good witch or a bad witch? Either way, you can perform both positive and negative spells on other Sims. For enemies, there are jinxes like the fire and ice blasts. If you’re feeling benevolent, you can use spells like the Good Luck Charm on friends and loved ones. Also, the Conversion Ritual allows you to transform plants, fish, insects and other items into objects you need to make specific elixirs at the Alchemy Station.
As a werewolf, you can hunt on your own or in a pack to find gems, metals and other items around town. Your friends can even rub your belly for a bit of relaxation. Also, while you’ll involuntarily change into a werewolf every full moon, you can actually choose to transform at any time you want! Use the Cursed Bite to turn other Sims into new pack members and customize your characters’ body hair patterns in Create-a-Sim for an Alpha-dog look.
And you get to eat like this!
On the downside, ghosts can be kind of compelling to play but only for a little while. I didn’t find many of their interactions or abilities particularly enjoyable. The only part I found entertaining was the fact that they have several different colors and looks determined by how they died (or determined by you in Create-a-Sim). In the end, they almost seem to have been included in the game as filler.
Then there are the zombies, which I can sum up in one word – ANNOYING. Every full moon, they spawn out of the ground in various places in your yard and around town. Unfortunately, if you have a garden, say goodbye to your plants as soon as it happens. This is where the Plants vs. Zombies content comes in, and I’m not a fan. It seems kind of forced – a lame addition at the end of the day. To add insult to injury, after ravaging my wolfsbane, tomatoes and apple trees all night, they proceeded to have a freakin’ DANCE PARTY on my LAWN!
Luckily, there are ways to protect your garden from zombies. A fence can help, but it’ll be completely ineffective if they come out of the ground within its bounds. If you build a greenhouse or use indoor planters, zombies won’t be able to enter (which would be great news in a real zombie apocalypse!). Otherwise, you can get a genie to banish them or use the Plants vs. Zombies DLC included in the Limited Edition to fight the attack.
As far as the new items go, the magic mirror obviously fits the supernatural theme, but it isn’t very captivating. It works just fine as decoration though! Also, Bonehilda (the skeleton maid) is sort of cool to see around the house, but I never really pay any attention to her and often forget she’s there.
Fortunately, most of the new items are much more interesting, like the Alchemy station. Sims can use it to research recipes and create elixirs with a variety of effects, such as a Vial of Bliss, a Flask of Bees or some Vampiric Sunscreen. You can use them on yourself or other people and even make a career out of selling them. As your skill increases, you’ll learn new elixirs, earn bonus perks and make fewer duds.
The broomstick is another appealing addition. Not only do witches use them for general travel, but you can also buy a broomstick arena where your Sim can go for joyrides or perform stunt shows (even for tips!). With enough Lifetime Achievement points, you can choose to change your broomstick into a vacuum cleaner for a touch of whimsy.
I also liked the carnival-style games (like the claw machine) and the magical jellybean bush. If you eat one of the jellybeans, it will have a random moodlet effect – for better or for worse. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, it kind of has the feel of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans with a smaller variety of “flavors.” It’s a small but fun touch to the game.
As a career, Beekeeping was a little boring. However, it’s definitely useful to own some bees if you have an alchemist in your household who needs honey and/or beeswax for elixirs. Watch out for stings when harvesting, cleaning and feeding!
To work as a fortune-teller, your Sim will go to the Gypsy Caravan to perform readings. As you rise to the top, you’ll eventually earn the ability to do private readings on specific Sims of your choice. It can be amusing to see what people’s futures hold – you know, if you’re a REAL psychic.
The lunar cycle is an integral part of the gameplay. To customize your experience, you can control the moon’s phases in Options by changing the number of days in the lunar cycle or even making it stagnant (especially if you don’t want to use the testingcheatsenabled true – control supernatural population cheat to get rid of zombies). The only downside to that is missing the cool and unusual stuff that happens during a full moon. My advice: keep the full moon in!
On the whole, it’s a pretty solid expansion pack – it has a wide variety of creative ideas and options for players to experiment with. On the other hand, it’s not as good as – say- World Adventures as far as the entire Sims 3 experience goes. I would only recommend The Sims Supernatural to those people who are specifically interested in mythical, magical and/or paranormal themes. If you are, go out, pick it up and have a blast! (8.5/10)