Previews

Hands-on with The Sims Medieval for iPhone

Upwardly mobile

Hands-on with The Sims Medieval for iPhone
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| The Sims Medieval

The life of a peasant in the Middle Ages is not the first place I’d think the primarily consumer culture-driven The Sims franchise would explore, but in a strange way it makes some sort of sense.

Much like its modern counterparts, The Sims Medieval is about trying to push your little virtual person up the social ladder. But, rather than do this through the acquisition of bigger TVs and nicer bathroom suites, you’ll be moving up the social classes in an effort to be king or queen of the realm.

While earlier The Sims experiences on iPhone have only witnessed incremental adjustments to the mobile versions of the series, Medieval promises far more sweeping changes - not just to how the game looks, but also to the day-to-day life functions of your little Sim.

He who would be king

The big changes in The Sims Medieval are the addition of quests (replacing the previous missions of previous games) and the removal of jobs.

No longer will you have to seek employment at the local lab in order to fund all the more enjoyable escapades across town. Instead, you can tackle mini-games like fishing - to sell to the market traders - or garner a king’s bounty by completing the various multi-tiered quests.

These quests vary between The Sims staples (apparently, they had bins you can kick over in the Middle Ages) and new pursuits, e.g. duelling with other characters.

The outcome of these duels is reliant on the weapons your Sim carries, as well as their mood. Go into a fight with a Sim who's half-awake and you’ll find they don’t strike quite so swiftly or as truly as before.

The fighting is simplistic in truth, with most of the time spent waiting for the ability to strike. Any hired hands you add to your party bestow special moves, like a buff to your damage, that can turn the tide of battle.

Past times

This amalgamation of the traditional and new will be The Sims Medieval’s biggest draw for fans of the series.

You’ll still be upgrading your house, for example, popping down such items as dartboards or torture devices (the medieval equivalent of watching Jersey Shore), but you’ll also have fellow inhabitants of your hovel milling about - peasants rarely had a house to call their own.

As with before, the characteristics you give your Sim - like orphan or simple-minded - dictates the kind of quests you’re awarded: a nasty, hateful Sim will receive more nasty, hateful requests like pickpocketing an innocent blacksmith.

Should you elect to assume that darker, more menacing role, though, be aware that certain quest-givers only relinquish their tasks if you befriend them first.

Having seen a few new Sims games fall well short of the mark in recent years, we’re cautiously optimistic that this latest attempt will inject some fresh ideas into the franchise. We’ll find out if The Sims Medieval is born to rule when it launches on iPhone in the autumn.