In MySims Agents which is set in a charming world of little cartoony simulated people or "Sims", you create your own character to solve mysteries found in a little city and beyond. You start off the game as a hack gumshoe working out of a pizza joint with a dream to someday be a special agent for the Sim Protection Agency (S.P.A.). Your big break comes after you solve a dispute between two people both claiming to be a dog's owner. The person you expose as a liar is none other than Morcubus, the CEO of Morcucorp, a murky company that owns most of the city. Special Agent Walker, who had been watching the shady Morcubus, is so impressed with your work that he hires you to run the new S.P.A. headquarters in the city.
As you are swept into a complicated, evolving mystery with Morcubus at the center, you must solve a series of smaller mysteries, which all shed light on what Morcubus is really up to. The Morcubus mystery is far-reaching and involves the mayor, a mysterious Crown of Nightmares, a mad-scientist's experiments gone wrong, a person accidentally turned into a Yeti, and lots more. This mystery will have you searching in remote locations, like a ski chalet atop a snowy mountain as well as in an ancient temple hidden deep in the jungle.
Kids solve the game's many mysteries by questioning people and uncovering clues. For the latter, you will have to figure out how to navigate challenging terrains, including jumping up to hard to reach places and tight-rope walking across narrow expanses. At your disposal are a variety of high-tech spy devices that let you see footprints on the ground, analyze the chemical makeup of objects, and harvest spare parts from machinery so that you can fix other broken ones. While snooping, some of your activities turn into fun, challenging minigames of hacking into computers, repairing broken items, performing forensics analysis, and picking locks.
In addition to the mysteries that you personally solve, you can also hire extra agents and send them on Dispatch Mysteries. They will check in with you periodically for your help. These Dispatch Mysteries require agents with unique skills, so how you put together a team greatly impacts their success.
MySims Agents is an outstanding mystery game for kids. The structure of having one over-arching mystery that is solved by completing a series of smaller mysteries works well with kids' busy lifestyles. They can solve a mystery in 30-45 minutes and then take a break. Plus, these mysteries are interesting. For example, in one, you must figure out who vandalized a ski chalet. In the process, you will need to figure out how to use the snowy environment to create a path up to the roof so as to access the security cameras. To watch the security camera's film, you play a game about having to use the Wii remote to stay within a maze and navigate through it in a very short time.
Also good is the cheeky dialogue that gets kids reading. These Sims don't talk, they speak expressive gibberish while you read what they are saying. The characters deliver just the right amount of snark (like "Buzz off") to appeal to this age group. Couple that with great background music, lots of fun locations which are never too big, and helpful hints found in your on-screen casebook, and this game stands out as a winner.
The game will appeal to both boys and girls because of the way Electronic Arts built diverse play patterns into the game. The platform puzzling will appeal to some, whereas others will enjoy the many opportunities to change your avatar's look and to decorate the headquarters. The game even ties this decorating into being more successful on the Dispatch Mysteries, because if you decorate agents' offices to their tastes, they perform better in the field. Other kids will love the minigames, most of which are challenging logic puzzles.
We reviewed the Wii game, but there is a DS game of the same name that is different. Parents and grandparents looking to start early holiday shopping for kids ages 8 to 12, put this one on the top of your list.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.