The Sims Bustin' Out

a game by Maxis

Platform: GBA

Genre: Strategy/War

See also: The Sims Games

The Sims: Bustin Out is a fair reproduction of the Sims experience, but it's definitely not the real thing. In the big version of the Sims games, you control a little automaton deciding how they look, dress and act. You can place them on a sort of autopilot and watch them live out their digital lives or take God-like control of them dictating their every move ' but either way it's really sort of an open-ended cyber dollhouse of sorts, which is why the game is so immensely popular.

Bustin' Out is the first GBA port of the Sim phenomenon and while it attempts to recreate the experience, the GBA just doesn't have the horsepower to do it. Instead what you get is a sort of shallow simulation of the full-blown Sims. Sure you can customize your characters looks, but really that just means choosing between a handful of options. You also get to fine-tune the personality, but since there is no autopilot in this version, it doesn't seem to really affect anything. Instead what you get is control of a little Sim plunked down in the middle of rural SimValley.

Bustin? Out really couldn't support a fully open ended game, so you'll find yourself shuttling your Sim back and forth across town accomplishing tasks, taking care of the daily drudgery of life and earning cold, hard Simoleons. The game manages to stay interesting with eight jobs that are actually mini-games, more than a dozen other Sims to befriend, pick-on and talk up and a fairly sizeable city to explore.

But the game just isn't The Sims. You can't just do whatever you want and the mission driven game is just a little too simplistic to be overly fun. While it is kind of neat having a sort of mega Digipet in your pocket, Bustin' Out really doesn't live up to The Sims name.

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