It's a good thing people don't play The Sims for the graphics. The Sims 3 is not a looker on 3DS -- no matter how you adjust the three-dimensional slider. In an unfinsihed build of this launch game, the visuals lacked detail (even compared to versions of the game running on mobile phones) and the framerate was inadequate. Perhaps its saving grace, then, is in how The Sims 3 takes advtage of the 3DS's other unique features, making this particular iteration somewhat novel (especially compared to EA's other 3DS port).

Using the 3DS camera, players can create Sims based on snapshots of their faces -- or anyone's face nearby. Oddly, the feature will only import a close approximation of the source's facial features, leaving aspects such as skin tone, hair and even gender to be manually selected. Though the process is a bit tedious, on the plus side, I now know what I'd look like if I were a rail-thin blond ... girl.
The game also incorporates StreetPass, allowing you to easily and automatically trade Sims with other 3DS players you happen to pass by -- as rare as that may be. In theory, though, it's a great feature for The Sims: Your virtual world is slowly populated with real-life friends, neighbors and strangers.

Not all the system-unique offerings augment the experience. For example, the "Karma Powers" feel like a gimmick that most developers learned to abandon shortly into the original DS's life cycle. The so-called powers let players unleash a variety of effects, both good and bad, on their Sims by blowing into the system's microphone or shaking the 3DS. Considering these effects must first be selected through an in-game menu, the gestures seem like an unnecessary second step to playing god.

While EA has put some effort into tailoring The Sims 3 for 3DS, it's ultimately a fairly pedestrian port. At its core, the game is still about guiding your same old Sim through a variety of careers, climbing the social ladder and building relationships. Or, you place some furniture in front of the bathroom and watch Sim Andrewina die a slow, torturous death. In 3D. If that's what you're into.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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