Posted in Sims 4

Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & The Goth Family Expansion

So I left off in the previous post wondering if I should cure Ryder of his vampirism and make him just a normal Sim. I had a little feedback about this, and in the end, I decided to let the story play out as it did.

Not only did I leave him a vampire, I pushed him to embrace his powers and become a stronger vampire. Due to his personality, I didn’t give him too many “evil” or controlling traits, and even made him a guilty drinker so that he didn’t like to drink from other Sims.

Ryder’s a pretty good fisher at this point, so catching fish from the pond in the yard and turning them into plasma packs has served him just fine.

The Cowplant surprised me when it grew up quite suddenly.

Ryder learned that vampire or not, you don’t tease the Cowplant if you value your hands!

Estrella learns this too… I looked over to find her eaten by the Cowplant! Thankfully, it decided to spit her out rather than killing her (does that happen in Sims 4?).

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in the last post, but I used a cheat to remove most of the extra Simoleons the family had, leaving them about $5,000 in case of emergency. It wasn’t the best of financial situations, but I finally decided it was time for Ryder and Estrella to try for a child.

I was crossing my fingers that the child wouldn’t be born a vampire… I learned that as long as both parents weren’t vampires, there’s only a 50% chance that the baby would be. That’s part of what encouraged me to continue on with Ryder as a vampire. I’ll see what happens!

Estrella was excited to inform Ryder that they are about to have a new family member. She seemed excited!

Ryder also seemed really happy about this development! I think he’ll turn out to be a good father.

They didn’t have much money, but they still built an addition to the family house to make a baby room. By the time that’s done, they can only afford very sparse decorations…

Estrella was getting to be really good at knitting – especially since that kept her busy while waiting for the baby to arrive. That bear toy up there on the rainbow shelf was one of her creations.

And… oops. Cowplant died. 😦

In the middle of paying attention to everything else on the farm, I didn’t realize the Cowplant needed something to keep it alive. This was my first Cowplant.

I felt pretty bad about this, and thought of rolling back the save, but chose to stay the course and play out my mistakes. Maybe one day I’ll get another Cowplant and will know better what to do.

It’s probably better not to have a Cowplant around a future toddler though, to be honest.

Not much time to mourn, though because baby Abbie soon arrived!

And just as I suspected, Ryder was a very attentive and caring father! He took right to Abbie immediately and assisted Estrella with parental duties whenever needed.

I can’t tell at this point if Abbie will be a vampire or not. Still hoping for the best… though in order to carry on the Goth name, I might have to consider a son later on.

Estrella continued to knit toys for the new baby, and slowly they added on to the fairly empty room. Abbie doesn’t mind at all as long as her parents are tending her needs. 😉

This wouldn’t be a haunted cottage post without a little something about Lucas, though! Estrella was finally making connections to Lucas – it took a while because his fame status prevented her from interacting with him normally. But now… friendship is forming.

I wonder if Lucas and Abbie will eventually become friends, or if having a ghost around will scare the child? I guess I’ll have to find out.

For now, Abbie’s parents are loving her the best they can, and slowly adding new toys to the shelf when they can afford it. Toddler-hood won’t be too far away!

Oh, and just a note on the rainbow llama pictured in the header. I was a little disappointed by that. When you feed animals certain snacks, they turn colors – which I knew. I also knew that chickens will lay eggs of that color, so I assumed that’s the color they remain for the rest of their life.

Not so with this llama. The rainbow wool only grew once, and then it turned back into a white llama. Kinda sad.

{– Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & Mysterious Ryder Goth || –}

Posted in Sims 4

Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & Mysterious Ryder Goth

So, last time I wrote about the Haunted Cottage, I noted that Ryder had found the girl of his dreams and they tied the knot. I was – and still am – on the fence about whether to cure his vampirism. But more about that to come!

I also sold off all the excess furniture from the family storage. Then, I used a cheat to drop the household savings to 5,000 simoleons to make it a more challenging game.

Estrella Goth

Ryder’s wife’s name is Estrella and I honestly don’t even remember how they met. It wasn’t an intentional relationship because, again, I’m not looking to further vampire households in this neighborhood. But they got along so well, I couldn’t say no to it.

It seems Estrella was just one of the random townies. She doesn’t have a family tree or any real connections. No job, no household, no boyfriend – just a blank slate. But Ryder fell in love, so that’s how it went.

She enjoys taking care of the animals and I put her in charge of llama grooming – that way, she picks up all the wool. I’ve made her the family crafter, so she’s often knitting away and selling creations on Plopsy to support the family through that means of income.

She arrived in Ryder’s life with those odd glasses and orange and white striped shirt. I felt that set her apart, so I didn’t change her normal outfit when I did a makeover on the rest of her wardrobe.

One day, I had her knit a sweater for Ryder. I thought the blue looked snazzy and that it would be attractive on him. Only thing was, gifting your significant other a sweater apparently can curse the couple!

Well dang! I didn’t know that!

They both earned a cursed moodlet that lasts for 7 Sim days. So far, I’ve kept them from romantic interactions, but they’re under a constant state of fear because of it. They have 3 days left, and this year’s Love Day was a bust for them. 😦

Vampire Secrets

In the meantime, I’m trying to remember how to play a vampire Sim because it’s been a while. I decided to have Ryder research vampire secrets, which isn’t all that easy to keep him focused on. He’s more of an outdoorsy Sim, so he gets bored of sitting inside and reading.

Learning vampire secrets turns out to be a great thing to do for a vampire. You pick up all sorts of skills like making plasma packs from frogs and fish – I’d forgotten about that – to eventually learning how to make a cure for vampirism at the final rank. Not to mention, you skill up as a vampire from it.

Being outdoorsy is a great thing for Ryder because that makes leveling fishing easy. There’s also a pond in the front yard, so I’ve begun to stock it with fish – that way he can just reel stuff in and make plasma packs from it any old time.

During the research process, I had to send Ryder to the library several times to use the computers there since the Haunted Cottage is off-grid. One day, he got a phone call while at the library and it made me squint.

Ryder’s Family Tree

Turns out, it was Ryder’s father calling him to ask to get together sometime.

I really didn’t look into Ryder’s background before I chose him to inherit the Cottage. So when his father called and wanted to see him, I invited the fellow on over the library there and then.

This guy with purple hair is Ryder’s dad.

At least they seem to get along.

But after this, I decided to check out Ryder’s family tree because… his father’s last name wasn’t “Goth.” And I found something peculiar.

There doesn’t appear to be an anyone tracing back to the Goth family in Ryder’s genealogy.

In fact, apparently the game doesn’t know who his mother was. She must have been Goth – which would make sense why Ryder has the last name since he’d likely been raised by his mother. Sadly, she seems to have been a victim of Sims culling.

I wish I could have known more about this family and how this came to be!

Why is it that Ryder has a half-brother? Both his father and his half-brother are vampires, so that’s where he gets that from. But here’s Ryder with his dark Goth hair and everyone on the other half of the family with bright purple!

So mysterious!

More Supernatural Fun

Anyhow!

While fishing, Ryder found a cowplant seed! Now this should be interesting! I played with cowplants in Sims 3, but not Sims 4 yet…

I mean, look at it. Isn’t that the cutest, most innocent thing ever?

For now.

Ryder and Lucas continue to build their friendship, as well. I looked over to see them outside doing this the other day, all on their own. Brings me warm fuzzies.

Though sometimes I still catch Lucas in the kitchen cooking, he overall seems to be a happier ghost now days. He might have just been lonely after all. Ryder doesn’t seem to mind keeping him company, and Lucas has been more helpful with gardening as well.

But now comes the big question. I’m thinking about Ryder and Estrella’s future. I’d have to look and see if Ryder might be the last surviving Goth in this game. If so… once they get out from under the sweater curse, I’m thinking about them having children. But as I said before, I don’t really want to further vampire family lines in this neighborhood.

Ryder is now fully leveled in Vampire Lore and has the ability to make the drink that can cure vampirisms. Still, it’s not been a terrible life for him as a vampire, and he’s starting to figure out how to survive without needing to feed off other Sims.

Still, should I change him back to a normal Sim and give him the normal life he never had?

{–Sims 4: The Time I Failed at Sims || Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & The Goth Family Expansion–}

Posted in Sims 4

Sims 4: The Time I Failed at Sims

A while back, I expressed my disappointment with how the Sims Cottage Living pack would not contain horses. While I’m still disappointed in this (despite the devs answering why), that didn’t stop me from picking up the pack last weekend.

I’d been hearing a lot of very positive things about the pack, including how challenging it can be to use the Simple Living challenge trait. So, having the itch to try something new, I bought it and spent most of the weekend playing it.

This is the first time in all these years playing Sims that I felt like I just completely failed the game.

I’ve been Simming since The Sims 1. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a Sim die to something beyond my control. A few of those were thanks to guinea pig bites in The Sims 1, before I realized what was happening and why people were getting sick.

I’ve always been the kind to make sure fire detectors were set in a Sim house. But for some reason, I completely overlooked that. Maybe because for a long time, Sims 4 didn’t have a fire department that responded to house fires like other Sims – not until the May 2020 update!

Anyhow, I found a cheap broken down cottage on the Sims exchange and picked a random Sim to play this pack. This turned out to be an elderly fellow named Lucas. I’d had some interaction with Lucas before with other Sims, it seems. And I recall him being a fun and good-natured fellow.

So I took Lucas to his new home, where he immediately began to make the best of things by splashing around in the nearby pond.

Not that I could blame him. There wasn’t much else to do in the place until I unboarded the door and fixed it up some.

So I was set to explore this new pack’s content on a very small budget – exactly what I hoped to do. I had Lucas buy a coop and some chickens, which he took proper care of every day, earning new eggs and hatchlings over time.

When he had enough money, I invested in a llama. He used the wool to work on his cross stitch skills and started making money selling on Plopsy – the Sims version of Etsy. I also had him work up relationships with all of his animals, including the wild rabbits who were helping him with gardening.

Most of his income he earned busking at the local bar. He had a decent singing skill and he also was already somewhat of a low-level celebrity. So he could go and start his own little one-man concert and bring in enough to get by on the tips.

Luca was living a lovely, simple, pastoral life. Even if he was mostly broke and just managing to make his bills. That was the fun thing about it.

But then, tragedy struck.

Tragic Tale of Lucas

It was a stormy afternoon. But the llama needed feeding, cleaning and shearing. So I sent Lucas out into the storm to do his daily caretaking. Standing right next to the llama, he got struck by lightning.

That was crummy, but nothing I couldn’t come back from. He was a little dazed, but I had him finish up and send the llama back into the barn for safety from the storm. Then, I sent Lucas in to get cleaned up.

Luca was hungry after that, so he went to cook something to eat. I didn’t think much about it. But likely, his dazed state could have led to the fire that took his life.

A fire started and he instantly caught flame. Because this was a fixer-upper cottage, I never thought to install a smoke detector. Lucas was the only one in his family. All these things led to me being able to do nothing but watch Lucas burn to death.

When the grim reaper showed up – he now has a snazzy new tablet – and took poor Lucas away, I was even rewarded with a Sims 4 game over screen. More like a pop-up. I’d never experienced this before and found it all curious.

I could have exited and rolled back to an earlier save then took more care to see that Lucas didn’t befall such tragedy. Instead, I decided to play through it – now the Cottage was haunted!

Haunted Cottage Life

I did a quick search across random single Sims and found Ryder Goth. Thinking it was ironic that a Goth would be the next to move into this tragic cottage, I did so without looking at any Sims details.

Ryder is not too thrilled by the scene that welcomes him. An urn on the floor and several pieces of furniture that need to be replaced due to fire.

It’s only when I start to play him a bit, getting the place cleaned up, that I discover Ryder is a vampire Sim. I would have likely not have chosen him if I’d known that – I’d rather have played this content without the vampire content overlapping.

But it was what it was. I decided to roll with it and see if I could help a ghost and vampire friendship blossom.

I discovered that somehow, Ryder had come with the trait that allowed him to walk in sunlight unharmed. I’m not sure how that happened, but seeing that was a trait I usually went for early for any vampire I played, it helped out significantly.

I picked up with Ryder where I left off with Lucas. Ryder now had to start all over making connections with the animals around the cottage and learn to garden. He actually adjusted to cottage life quite well, to be honest.

In the meantime, the ghost of Lucas would appear from time to time in the night. Because he died to a cooking fire, it seems his ghost is stuck doing nothing but cooking food over and over. Especially white cakes, which he leaves sitting around the counters if he manages to finish them.

The process of cooking gets him riled up and angry. When his spirit turns red, he then starts to engage in all sorts of more violent activity such as knocking over trash cans and possessing items in the house to break them.

At first, it’s hard for Ryder to befriend Lucas. This is because Lucas was a bit of a celebrity in life. The way celebrity levels work makes it almost impossible for a Sims who is also not some sort of celebrity to introduce themselves successfully.

So, I had Ryder break into the Fame system just a little bit. A few posts to Simstagram bolstered his following, and that seems to have been enough to finally let him introduce himself to Lucas.

Now they are well on their way to becoming friends.

Since then, Lucas has been a little more helpful around the house whenever he appears. He even helps the crops to grow, taking care of gardening just like he did in his living years.

In the meantime, Ryder has found a nice girl to settle down with. They got married and well… this is kinda where I left their story for now.

I need to figure out what I want to do with this household as having all this influx of cash is going against what I was aiming for when I wanted a simple living challenge.

Also, I’m considering reversing Ryder’s vampire curse. On one hand, it makes things super easy since he really doesn’t have as many Sims needs – he can stay up all night and all day without needing to rest if he doesn’t use up any of his vampiric energy.

And on the other hand, if Ryder is going to further the Goth legacy with a family, I’d really rather his kids not be vampires. I don’t have anything against playing vampires in Sims 4 – I even have a vamp family – but I’d rather do it as I choose to do it.

So this is where my Sims fail led me. Certainly not the story I expected when I decided to pick up this pack. But you know what? That’s just fine!

Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & Mysterious Ryder Goth –}

Posted in Sims 4

Sims 4 Announces Cottage Living

-Releases July 22, special preorder items available

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Sims 4. But it’s also been a while since I was excited about the theme of a pack or expansion for the game.

While I don’t think the recent packs/expansions/whatever they’re called are bad, persay, nothing has prompted me to want to preorder or buy day 1 lately. I’ll read up on the forum reviews and usually wait for a sale if nothing in the reviews really wows me.

So when they teased the idea of living in the country, my mind went to one thing only: Horses.

Naturally, as a horse lover, the horses in Sims 3 were one of my favorite features. However, horses were were cut in the Pets expansion for Sims 4. So surely, an expansion about the country life would include the missing horses, right?

I was excited at the possibility! It was the first time I’ve been excited for an announcement in a while.

That was, until, the announcement came and again, horses got cut. For llamas, I guess. (Actually, no. It’s been confirmed the animals are tied to objects and aren’t part of the household, so they don’t act as “pets.” So, double bummer.)

Okay, I don’t want to be that person, but allow me to grieve the loss of my horses yet again. Everything else in this pack looks right up my gameplay alley. I love the idea of cottage living. The cute critters, the almost-farm theme, and the world looks lovely. I’m sure I’ll have fun with it whenever I decide to pick it up.

But I can’t help feel a little disappointed about horses being overlooked again. Had this pack included horses, I would have rushed right out to preorder it instantly. And that says a lot for my non-preorder mentality the past few years.

I’m going to hold out hope for horses in a side pack, maybe? With lots of neat features like stables and gear and racing? But I really kinda doubt it. I have a sinking feeling Sims 4 isn’t going to see horses in the end.

I’m really tempted to reinstall Sims 3 to get my horse fix right now. 🐴

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4 Seasons Fun

I wanted to get a post about Sims 4 Seasons done before this, but ended up completely distracted by computer issues. Thankfully, I’ve gotten those squared away, and the PC is running great again. I still haven’t sat down with Sims again after being so rudely pulled away… but I think the few days I spent with it is enough to spin up a reaction post.

Namely… this expansion changes just about every aspect of the game in such a way that it completely enhances the experience for me. There’s just so much going on here, I know I will never remember all of it to write about.

Weather and Seasons

Of course, Seasons brings seasons… which means changes in weather patterns. But, just like in real life, weather doesn’t always make sense. I saw snow in the middle of spring, for example, which can actually happen IRL. It was a cool little touch (no pun intended).

There’s also changes in temperature that effect your Sims (and can even kill them). This is something you can toggle on and off, but is also easily handled with the right clothing. Below is my Sim on the right, toasty in her warm clothes… while the Sim next to her is turning blue from cold.

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There’s a lot of customization to the seasons — you choose how long they last and set up a full calendar. After running through a full “year” of seasons at the default length of 7 days per season, I quickly doubled that to 14 days. 7 days per season just feels too quick. There’s not enough time for transition and events. 14 days feels like a good middle ground.

For all the fan grumbling about the look of the snow before launch, I actually think that Winter is my favorite season in Sims 4. There’s something really serene about the snow falling and the little blanket of snow that covers all the objects outside. The little touches, like windows frosting up, are very nice.

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My sims went out to eat on a Winter day. Look at that frost on the window!

There’s all sorts of thoughtful touches like this that really impressed me about this expansion. Sometimes it’s the little things that raise immersion.

Sim Events

I really liked the calendar and event features, too. On days with set holidays, you get small goals to achieve that make your Sim happy once completed. These can be things like decorating the house, opening presents, shooting fireworks, etc. Each Sim has different traditions they enjoy and really wish to fulfill… while other Sims might hate those same things and want to avoid them.

I had a really sweet moment when Santa… I mean Father Winter… came to give my Sim a gift on Wintersfest. He gave her an awesome digital camera.

But, she was a broke, single, gardener who was just scraping by on the merits of the plants she harvested. Since the gifts you can give are limited to what you have in your pockets, my Sim rummaged around and could only give him a flower in return.

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Not only did Father Winter sound absolutely delighted with the gift, but he lifted the flower to his nose to smell it! His Sim identified the gift as a flower and interacted with it realistically, rather that just putting it away after accepting it. I was really tickled by that.

Speaking of events… There seem to be three kinds of events. The big normal holidays, like Wintersfest, the custom holidays you create, and holidays that pop up unannounced. I really like that unannounced holidays because they add a quirky twist to the day.

For example, one random event day said that a brand new TV show was premiering that night… and your Sim just HAD to watch it to prevent being spoiled by co-workers and friends the next day (it happens!). Again, just something little and silly, but a really nice touch.

Gardening

Gardening got a pretty big overhaul and is a totally viable way to make a living now. Though it has its own career track, I decided to start a fresh Sim and see if she could survive on just the little garden she tended.

The free patch before the expansion brought glass roofs to everyone with the game, which really makes some neat skylights and greenhouse builds open up. I built my own little greenhouse for my Sim, which you can see below.

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There’s some really nice new selling, watering and weeding options for crops, and the profit you make from selling produce was increased significantly. You can also buy seed packs straight from the buy menu now.

Plants are assigned a specific season to flourish. If left outside, they will go dormant in the off seasons. But they will always produce just fine all year as long as they’re sheltered, such as in a greenhouse.

It took a little investment in building the greenhouse and getting the seeds, but once the produce started improving, my Sim was able to live quite comfortably in her little cottage on what she made.

Final Thoughts

Again, there’s no possible way for me to cover everything this expansion pack does. I know I’ve not seen everything it has to offer yet. I feel like this one’s done something right, though, because every time I turn around, I’m being delighted by something unexpected.

I think that the random nature of the weather and seasons really spices up the normal day-to-day Sims play… which can fall into a rut once you get your Sims to a comfortable space. Weather doesn’t change things so drastically that it distracts from the base game, but rather adds another layer of immersion on top of what was already there.

Events and holidays add nice little social touches and days off that encourage your Sims to enjoy their lives outside of the norm… kinda like what holidays should do IRL as well. When I left off, my little single gardener girl had married the guy of her dreams… and come to find out, he lives in a huge villa in the middle of the Oasis town.

It’s a big upgrade for a small-cottage girl. But hey, that just means she can plant a bigger garden now! She seems pretty happy about that. 🙂

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Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Looking Forward to the Sims 4 Seasons Expansion

The newest expansion for Sims 4 — Seasons, is gearing up to drop at midnight EST on this Friday. I’m trying to temper my feelings for the pack, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t pretty excited by what I’ve seen.

In fact, I decided to officially take a vacation day so I could immerse myself in all the expansion has to offer. I’ve learned in the past that Sims expansions require at least a full day of my time for me to feel like I’ve got a grasp on what all they have to offer. Since this releases on a Friday, that lines me up for a long weekend (of Sims).

Traditionally, Seasons has been one of the most popular and requested of the Sims expansions, right up there with Pets. With this version of Seasons, we’re not just getting weather, but a focus on an in-game calendar and holidays.

In the past, Seasons had holidays, but they were usually something quickly done with. This time around, you can make a calendar, create your own holidays and traditions and deck out the house with decorations (other houses in the neighborhood will also auto decorate I heard).

I think this is something you have to set up in advance, but the house seems to automatically remember what your decoration preferences for holidays are. Or, that’s the impression I get.

Not to mention how the world transitions from one season to the next — winter doesn’t just pop into spring, it slowly changes. Also, there’s a huge overhaul in the gardening system that has to take into consideration seasons. That should be fun to learn.

Not to mention, certain places actually have climates — the jungle and desert shouldn’t get snow, for example. And they have their own specialized seasons, too.

Of course, despite all the good things, some folks had to find things to grumble about, like the lack of snow depth . Sims 4 has always been under fire for one thing or another by disgruntled community members. I can’t completely blame them, though, when we’re seeing more stuff packs pop up now than ever.

As for this expansion, I feel the team put a ton of work and love into it. I just hope that the expansion plays well and lives up to the hopes of the players.

I’m probably a lot easier to please than most, but I’m just here to have some fun.

Now, which family should I play?

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4: Jungle Adventure – Into the Temple

I promised in my last post about Sims 4 that I’d spend a little more time with the new Jungle Adventure game pack, especially exploring a temple. I also said that I’d go back and find the name of the random Sim I chose to inflict this upon adventure with.

Turns out, his name is Javier.

He’d visited the jungle once already, but ran out of vacation time (still a rookie at work, hasn’t built up much time off), so I had to send him home before he got a proper look at the temple. I learned when I brought him back a second time that all the areas you explored before are once again overgrown… so you have to cut your way back through all the vines to re-activate the gates.

This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for those darn random chance events you get opening each gate. These things are trouble… and dangerous. They really do expect you to have a Sim with fairly high skills in order to participate without penalty.

Twice, poor Javier was poisoned by scorpion bites due to these things.

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Poisoned Sims get this green pattern on their skin.

I wasn’t sure what to do about that — I read that if you had high enough cultural knowledge to unlock the secret vendor in town, you could trade for an antidote. I didn’t have any cultural knowledge yet at all, so Javier was stuck having to fend for himself.

If he was going to be a gonner anyhow, I figured he may as well die exploring the temple. Stepping in harm’s way was something he was very good at doing…

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Javier triggered a booby trap that lit him on fire. Thankfully, I had bottles of extinguisher in his inventory!

The major issue I had was that Javier entered the jungle with a low Social meter. I tried to have him talk to the locals to raise it, but my time in the jungle was too limited for me to have him sit around town all day chatting.

That’s when I discovered… he wasn’t alone in the temple…

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-“Jaws” theme plays on a xylophone-

This bony guy is called a Temple Guardian. I was worried that it might attack Javier, but apparently Javier’s social need was so great, he didn’t care about who he befriended at the moment.

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Not something you see everyday…

The skeleton was actually a pretty nice guy. When their conversation got interrupted as Javier was attacked randomly by fire flies… who literally set Javier on fire… the Guardian looked pretty concerned about the situation.

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These random pest attacks happen out of nowhere, for no reason. Kinda annoying.

I mean, check out that expression. I was actually kinda impressed they were able to convey so much worry with just a skull.

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Okay… moving on from the disturbing skull imagery.

So, progressing through the temple requires your Sim to respond to several traps and checkpoints. Basically, you click on something in the temple, and it gives you a multiple choice selection on how to try and disarm the trapped doors. Compared to the Sims 3 Adventure expansion, which required you to search for switches and traps and that sort of thing, these mechanics were fairly watered down.

The only up side is that the multiple choice element means that returning to the temple will require a different answer each time. So… there’s a little bit of RNG in there. But not like a whole randomly created temple layout or anything (as far as I know).

Selecting the wrong thing can have several different effects including bodily harm (set on fire), or emotional/need manipulation. I didn’t know at the time that you could examine things to get hints as to what the right answer was. Because I just progressed with trial and error, poor Javier was so bottomed out in his needs and emotions it wasn’t funny.

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An emotionally suffering Javier unlocks the final chamber of the temple.

The only reason he finished the temple at all, despite his crippling emotional state, was due to the berries I’d picked from the Tree of Emotion outside the temple. Eating a happy berry (whatever it was called) was enough to override Javier’s misery just long enough to make it to the final treasure and back to town.

Oh, and as you can see from the picture above, somewhere in there, Javier was able to fight off the poison. So he didn’t die a horrible, writhing death after all.

The final chamber was surprisingly trap-free and included three different chests to loot from. One of them gave me a couple of special artifacts that apparently can be fused with pieces off other artifacts. Seems like there’s a “top” piece and a “bottom” piece. Don’t know what these do yet because I only got the top pieces.

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I also got a nice artifact that was worth 8K Simoleons. Seeing that Javier is still scrounging to make a living in his apartment, this was a pretty nice find.

Javier was still in pretty bad shape, so I took him back to his rental. You can warp out of the temple automatically using the map feature, just like any other place in town… I’m not sure how I feel about that. But for the moment, I was glad of it.

I got the poor guy fed and rested… then I spent the remaining time letting him socialize around the market to help his bottomed-out social meter. This actually leveled him a point in the local culture. And he met a cute local girl.

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Not too shabby, Javier!

Maybe I’ll send him back again to pursue that friendship. There are still lots of other paths I haven’t uncovered in the jungle yet, and other temples to explore!

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4: Jungle Adventure First Impression

I haven’t been keeping up with Sims 4 releases like I should, so the Jungle Adventure Game Pack snuck past me. When I saw the announcement on a Sim blog I follow yesterday, I jumped over to the forums and Reddit to see what the thoughts were about this game pack.

I really enjoyed the Sims 3 World Adventures expansion pack, and even wrote a series of posts about it a while back. So, it was nice to see a new game pack that was themed towards this sort of thing.

I only got to mess around with it for a few hours, but here’s my experiences so far.

Wobbly Start

Jungle Adventure adds a new vacation location to explore in your Sim world. This builds on to the system they introduced with the Outdoors Retreat game pack a few years back, but doesn’t require that pack to play the new one.

I started by picking a random single Sim from my neighborhood. I’ve become really fond of this particular neighborhood, which houses several of my favorite Sim families. I have the Amanda/Akira family, a family of vampires that I played quite a bit (but never blogged about for some reason), and the family I played around with for the Cats and Dogs release.

I don’t even recall this Sim’s name (poor guy, I’ll have to look it up later), but I selected him, gave him better hair and clothing, and put him on the path to adventure. He started out living in a low-grade apartment in San Myshuno… but I had to move him to a different apartment because the Gremlin trait breaking all his appliances every other day was too much for me.

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And I saw this guy wandering around the local festival… not sure what his story is.

Anyhow. About Jungle Adventures.

So you set up a vacation using your phone. You arrive in Selvadorada, a place inspired by South American jungles, sporting a Latino vibe. You can unlock and level the culture there through interactions, and explore the jungles… if you can figure out how.

When your Sim first arrives, you’re dropped into a map that’s filled with question mark places to explore. The game tells you that you need to pick up some supplies before you head out to the jungle. That makes sense, but it wasn’t very intuitive to figure out.

Jungle Supplies

There’s a little outdoor market next to the bar with three tables and a food vendor. Here’s where the wonkiness comes in.

There are objects you can click on the table to buy — things like a machete (always carry more than one), bug spray and other such objects. But these are only active if there’s someone standing behind the table selling stuff.

Then, there’s a whole different second shop. You can click a shopkeeper Sim and choose to buy adventuring supplies. This opens up things like tents, fire pits, beds, pet supplies (if you brought your pet) and the new archaeology table.

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You can carry the archaeology table around in your inventory and set it up anywhere!

My poor sim was kinda up the creek because he used up his only spider repellent spray the very first morning, and no one ever came to stand behind the table selling sprays while I was in the market. So, I couldn’t replenish it.

Yes, there are spider attacks. And bat attacks… and probably other attacks I don’t even know about yet.

Jungle Jam

So, once I finally got my supplies, I had to figure out how to actually enter the jungle. This is also not intuitive. I ended up having to go to the forum for hints.

So, what you have to do is take your Sim to the National Park lot. There, you will find overgrown archways that you can click on. This allows you to clear the brush with a machete or by hand.

When you finish this, you get a random chance event. Having higher skills seem to help succeed and get a positive outcome on the event. So far, nothing that’s happened during one of these has been too terrible.

Going deeper into the jungle just requires you to continue clearing these passages. They warp you from one area to another in a rabbit-hole type progression.

Archaeology Time

Along the path, I began to find these little dig spots. Here, you can discover artifacts, which have various quality and rarity associated to them.

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Digging up artifacts and authenticating them on the archaeology table increases the archaeology skill, which I was most interested in exploring. You can choose to display the artifacts or sell them once you determine what they really are.

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At the end of your vacation, you can choose to extend the vacation or head back home. My poor little Sim was on the lowest rung of his career ladder, so he didn’t have a lot of vacation time to use.

I gave him a few days out in the jungle, and even discovered the first temple. I haven’t been able to start exploring it yet, so there’s still a whole lot more for me to find.

So far, I give this game pack a pretty positive-average rating. I like that they’ve expanded on the vacation system and are opening up an exploratory area. I’m interested to see what secrets I can find in the temple, and I want to work up the new skill and culture.

However, getting supplies and finding a way into the jungle should have been a little more intuitive from the start. Now that I know how to do these things, it’s fine.

There’s nothing that’s jumped out at me as wow-amazing! so far. Again, though, I haven’t been inside the temple yet. I’m going to assume the meat and potatoes of the game will be there.

I also wonder if clearing treasures and things out with one Sim will leave it like that for others. I believe I read that once you open the path to the temple, all Sims in the neighborhood can go through. But does that mean if you loot stuff, they don’t respawn?

That would be a bummer for replayability. Something I’ll have to check on.

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My first artifact!

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4: A First Look at Cats & Dogs

Though I haven’t written a lot about Sims 4 lately, I’ve spent a good bit of time getting ready for the newest expansion pack that released last week, Cats & Dogs (C&D). In fact, I even gave the landing page of my Custom Content Blog a facelift.

I’ve also been sorting through all my downloads, discarding things that are outdated or that I’m not interested in keeping, putting what I keep into better categories on my blog, and updating links where I can. I spent an evening last week just confirming the state of the mods I use, updating them and the links in my blog, and discarding the ones that don’t work anymore.

I’m making a lot of headway on reorganizing that blog, but I’m not quite done yet. There’s still a lot of content left for me to prune and update. And all of this was to get a cleaner base game in anticipation of C&D.

The Features

So, C&D is pretty self explanatory. It’s a full game expansion that adds… cats and dogs. Note that it’s not named “Pets” like previous iterations in the Sims series. This is because, true to name, we only got cats and dogs. I still mourn the loss of small pets, birds and especially horses.

You also have the ability to become a vet and run your own clinic. I haven’t done this yet, so I’ll have to follow up with a post about that feature when I get there.

While the pets you can bring into your Sims’ households are super cute and expressive, some folks feel as if the expansion is priced too steep, or would have been better suited for a game pack. I’m really not sure where I stand on this —  I haven’t been disappointed in it (aside from lack of pet type variety), but I can certainly see how some people feel this way.

 

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The story of my life: two cats fighting and in a place they shouldn’t be while I’m trying to relax and enjoy my time after work.

I know from keeping up with information and interviews that a lot of things are going on under the hood that may have bumped the development up into making it a full pack. Things that are small to us, but take up technical time — such as making surfaces, like tables and counters, things cats can jump up on (all the time!). Or maybe the completely free-form Create-A-Sim for pets, much like the system we used to have for everything in Sims 3 (they’re opening a can of worms with that). Add to that the 170+ breeds already programed into the CAS – that’s pretty impressive!

For those who just want to play around with pets and genetics, there’s a lot of fun to be had right there. And it answers your burning questions such as… What if The Fox & The Hound had puppies?

Yeah, you know you want to know!

The Bugs

On the down side, this expansion pack is super sensitive, and there are a LOT of bugs.

Due to adding a whole new type of Sim to the game, the patch everyone got before it’s release (Nov 7)  broke a bunch of mods. So, be sure to research which mods might be pitching a fit for your game even if you haven’t picked up this expansion. I wasn’t joking when I said I sorted through and did a major clean-out of my own mods.

But even aside of mods, a number of players have reported all sorts of bugs. I’ve personally had issues trying to adopt strays I’ve befriended on the street — they simply never adopt. I had to resort to inviting them over to my house (which you do by calling them on your cell like a regular Sim — WHAT?) and CHEAT: Shift-Right-Click “Add to Household.” But I shouldn’t have to do that.

I’ve also seen wonkiness in trying to take a sick pet to the vet.

The Pets

On the up side, the pets themselves are a mixture of wonderful and frustrating. The big controversy with pets is that Maxis decided to make them “mysterious” by removing your ability to control them. This is fine, except it also hides important information about your pet — how old they are, when they’re going to age up, what their skills are, what their relationships are.

I don’t mind not being in control of my pet (it feels like I’m never in control of my pets IRL), but at least let me see their age!

Not to worry, though. There’s already a mod that makes pets playable. I’ve installed it but haven’t sat down to play a session with the mod enabled. I’ll see how I like it.

So far, I’ve only taken one of my old custom-made Sims, Amie, changed her traits to make her an uber animal lover, and dropped her in a house next to the beach in the new neighborhood, Brindleton Bay. I’ve put her in the same save as my beloved family of City Living (I also have a family of vampires in this world that I’ve never blogged about, so I’ve become pretty attached to that save).

I then sent Amie out to befriend all manner of stray cats and dogs just to see the variety of pets and personalities. So far, I’ve only brought home cats, but it looks like dogs might be a bit more interesting since you can actually train them. With cats, you just keep scolding them not to do things like jump on counters and knock over trash cans — true to life.

Meet Mayor Whiskers, my first stray adopt. Who can resist this charm?

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Yes, he comes with the top hat and collar.

I was a little disappointed to see that he wasn’t just a randomized stray, but one other people encounter in their game, too. So, essentially, he’s a Townie Cat.

Well, they sucked me in with this stray. He was too friendly and charming. I had to take him home. Then, after I got used to life with one cat, I went about adopting another stray, a female this time, to see what having kittens was like.

Actually getting the cats to mate wasn’t too hard — though you have to wait for the female to go into heat. But of the 4 or so times I tried, only one was actually successful. I guess they don’t want the city flooded with kittens and puppies… but I’ve heard some players who have no luck at all getting offspring.

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Mother cat and kitten

My cats had two male kittens. They both looked very similar to their father, just with a few different traits. I kept one of the kittens with the better personality and adopted off the second (this was so sad!).

I wish I’d seen a little more variety in their kittens. I know from playing around in the CAS that they actually do have a genetic chance at chocolate point kittens, more like their mother. I’ll keep trying and see what happens.

Actually cleaning up and taking care of pets can be really time consuming. Not only do they shed (you can buy a Roomba to help with that!), but they require feeding and brushing and litter box cleaning/bathroom breaks very often. I learned quickly that the automatic feeder and the laser powered litter box (I need one IRL) are my new best friends — having two cats and two kittens was waaaay too much work without a little automaton.

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Once I had that in place, though, cats were pretty self-sufficient. I suppose they’re an option for Sims who are on the go and still want a pet, while dogs may be more for Sims that can dedicate the time for training.

So, this is my first impression of Sims 4 Cats & Dogs. I’ll probably have more to write about as I dive deeper into this pack.

If you’re on the fence about picking it up, you might want to wait until some of the bugs are ironed out or a holiday sale comes around. Pet lovers will find a lot to enjoy in this, so only you know if this is something you need in your Sims life. 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Sims 4

Games I’m Looking Forward To

I’ve mostly been playing FFXIV lately, alternating with a few other MMOs on the side, and a healthy dose of Stardew Valley when I can. Though I have nothing really earthshaking to write about for these games, on the eve of the release of the newest Mario game, I decided to talk about a few of the games I’m really looking forward to.

It’s all kinda hard to beat the hype of Stardew Valley, but I’m excited about the following games, each in their own special way.

Mario Odyssey

I was a huge Nintendo kid growing up, and the Mario series was one of my favorites. I watched all the funky cartoons, collected everything I could on my meager allowance, and played through the games sooooo times. Well, up until Super Mario 64.

I think I beat Mario 64. But I don’t remember beating a Mario game since. While I’m still fond of Mario, in the way someone is fond of a favorite childhood character, RPGs, MMOs and computer games took my attention away from Nintendo for a solid chunk of time.

marioncappy

However, Mario Odyssey might just be the game to rekindle that fun. I’ve heard people say that the game took them back to Mario 64 immediately. It looks like a game that fosters exploration — if Breath of the Wild is any indication of how Odyssey might evolve the Mario series, then I’m completely on board.

I preordered the game months ago, and it’s already in the mail on its way from Amazon. Hopefully I’ll get it tomorrow, in time to explore it some this weekend.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

pocketcamp

Even though the announcement for this came out just yesterday, and it’s a mobile game, I’m still pretty excited for this. One of the major reasons I’m hyped is because hopefully, this game will allow me to connect with friends, family and blogger friends in an Animal Crossing environment.

While Animal Crossing has always allowed you to invite friends in, I’ve never been big on throwing my Nintendo friend code out to the wild. So while it would have been fun inviting folks to my little town, aside from Syn and my sister (who totally just wanted to steal new types of fruit for her town), I didn’t multi-play a whole lot.

Doing it on an app basis seems safer, kinda like Miitomo. So, we’ll see what kind of mischief this game brings. This comes out late November.

Sims 4: Cats and Dogs

catsanddogs

The next Sims expansion is all about cats and dogs… so you know I had to have this one pre-ordered pretty much since I first started seeing information about it. Not only do we get pets in Sims 4, but we also get to open our own Vet clinic! And for a girl who once wanted to be a veterinarian when she was much younger, I know this is going to be good Sims fun.

My one disappointment with this expansion is they cut horses completely. Sims 3 Pets did horses so well! In fact, I rarely played with any of the other pets because the horses were the main highlight for me. I have a sinking feeling we’ll probably never see horses in this game… unless they shockingly decide to make a whole horse-themed game pack. I find that hard to imagine, though.

Despite all of that, I’m still excited for what Cats & Dogs will bring to Sims 4. It’s releasing November 10, so I don’t have too much longer to wait!

Do you have some games you’re waiting for right now? What’s got you hyped?