The Sims: Vacation Review

The Sims franchise keeps rolling along.  Originally released over two years ago, the game's popularity has shown no signs of waning, and the game has spawned four expansion packs.  The latest of these is The Sims: Vacation, which allows players to take their sims away from the drudgery of daily life and let them relax and play for a while.

ScreenshotsOnce installed, Vacation works a lot like the Hot Date expansion pack.  Players call a cab from their phone and when it arrives their sim is whisked away, although instead of being taken downtown he/she is taken to Vacation Island.  Vacation Island, as the name suggests, is a vacation escape for sims.  It is divided into three major sections along three vacation themes: winter resorts, campgrounds, and beaches.  Each of these themed areas include three resorts, each geared to a different budget level.  The smaller resorts feature fewer activities and provide very basic sleeping accommodations in the form of tents and igloos, but the price is nice.  The high-end resorts feature nicely appointed rooms and a wealth of activities, but budget-conscious sims may find their funds quickly evaporating.

HalfpipeEach resort theme comes with its own set of new activities for sims to enjoy.  For example, in the winter resorts sims can enjoy snowboard halfpipes, making snowmen, and getting into snowball fights.  Most of these activities are great for boosting your sims fun and social factors, but some can also be rewarding.  Carnival games reward sims with prize tickets that can be cashed in for souvenirs.  Sims who'd rather not spend a lot of money on games to accumulate a lot of tickets can instead rent fishing rods or metal detectors and dig up their own prizes.  Of course, the wealthy and well-to-do sims can avoid such tiresome pursuits by simply visiting the resort's gift shop and buying a memento of their own.  Once they return home, sims can display their souvenirs in one of the new curio cabinet objects to remind them of their trip and to share their memories with friends, or give them away as gifts.  Curiously, there is no "My friend went to Vacation Island and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" souvenir to give to friends, but maybe someone will create such an object in the future.

Speaking of friends, Vacation provides sims with plenty of opportunities to meet new people and work on their social skills.  Lest their friends back home begin to feel forgotten, sims can purchase postcards and mail them to friends back home.  This allows your sims to maintain their current relationships while they are off forging new ones.  The focus of Vacation is fun and not so much dating as it was in Hot Date, but your sim can meet someone downtown and then call them later and invite them to join your sim on a little getaway.