The Sims 3 Showtime offers your Sims the chance to live out their dreams as performers on stage. The expansion also introduces a host of new online features that you may enjoy, as well as an achievement system to give you something more to work towards. There’s plenty on offer here, most of which has never really been included in any previous Sims expansion pack.
The main focus of this expansion pack is three new performance professions: Singer, Magician and Acrobat. They are basically the same in terms of their mechanics. As it is a profession, you have direct control of your Sim at all times (except when you send him to a friend’s game using SimPort). All three can perform for tips to earn money and increase their job experience, as well as audition for gigs at the various venues in town. Some more exclusive venues might reject your Sim if he isn’t experienced enough yet, but by the time he gets to the top of his career path, they’ll be begging him to perform at their venues.
Beyond that, each type of performer has more specific things that they can do to level up. For wannabe Singers, this includes delivering Sing-a-Grams to Sims around town; for Acrobats, they need to level their athletic skill; and for Magicians, they need to perform illusions. With a little hard work, your Sim will be on his way to stardom in no time. As your Sim levels up, he can perform new tricks or songs, improving his chances of wowing an audience at the next gig.
During gigs, you can choose to set up the stage as you like it, or use the default setup. You also have the option to control your Sim’s every move, or leave him to choose what to do next. The reactions of the audience also help give you an indication of how you’re doing. I found that my interference just made things worse for my performer! Other Sims will perform in your town from time to time, and there’s also the occasional SimFest where many performers can compete for the top honours.
If you have a Sim that doesn’t quite have star potential, they can still watch shows that are happening. They can even react to the show, including chucking a variety of interesting items onto stage. There are also plenty of new outfits and a number of hairstyles for stars and plebs alike. There’s not much for kids, but your adult Sims will look extra stylish or funky in their new outfits. There are even a couple of new traits, like Diva, to make your Sims feel more like starlets. There are plenty of new items, from stage props to fun activity items like karaoke machines, DJ booths, mechanical bulls and more.
As with many other expansion packs, Showtime adds a new playable monster race, the Genie. He or she is blue and comes in a dusty old lamp. The lamp can be obtained in a number of ways, but the easiest is to purchase it as a lifetime reward. However you get it, your Sim can clean the lamp to reveal the Genie and naturally, receive three wishes. These are pretty standard fare, like eternal happiness, youth, resurrecting Sims and even wishing for more wishes. All of these are pretty handy, and the special effects as the Genie grants a wish are rather cool. If you’re feeling sorry for the poor old Genie, you can use one of your wishes to free him/her, at which point he will join your family as a playable Sim. They retain a few magical powers, but can no longer grant wishes. Still, I thought my Genie was a pretty nifty addition to my Sim family.
Showtime works in with other expansion packs fairly well, as your performing stars can also become celebrities, and relevant opportunities do help with this. Unfortunately your Singer Sim won’t be able to join your bands from previous expansions, though they can play guitar and sing when they perform on their own.
Starlight Shores is the new town included with Showtime. It has a decidedly Hollywood-esque feel to it, with entirely new buildings and the sound of seagulls in the air. It also includes all the venues you might want your Sims to perform at (you can also add these to existing towns.) It’s a nice town, with some large, modern houses befitting of your super star Sims.
Several online features have been added to the game with this expansion. You now have the option to login with your Sims account (the same one you use when registering your games or shopping on the store) within the game and share your experiences immediately, or chat to friends through the system. You can also have their updates pop up in the corner of your screen like any other notification (though this might get annoying if you have lots of friends). Specifically for Showtime is the SimPort feature, that lets you send your performer to do a show in a friend’s game, or vice versa. By doing this, you unlock badges in a set that will eventually unlock new items in the game.
When you send your Sim away, they simply vanish from the game for 12 Sim hours (though you can call them back later), and if your friend logs into their game within the next day or so, your Sim does a show there, and you both get the relevant badges. If your friend doesn’t log in, nothing happens except you miss out on your badges. Similarly, you can agree to host Sims, but I have yet to do this successfully – probably because I don’t have any friends in the same timezone as me! (Feel free to add me as a friend: ShesVeryNice).
The console versions of The Sims already feature achievements, making me rather jealous as I played on my otherwise superior PC version. Showtime has added an achievement system, which grant you badges when you achieve them. These range from Bronze badges for simple things like taking your Sim to the grocery store, all the way to Platinum badges, which represent some really challenging goals that will most likely take you quite a while to achieve. At the same time, you’ll have something to work towards, which can sometimes be lacking in an open-ended game like The Sims. There are currently only achievements for Showtime and the base game, but it seems more will be added in the future. I absolutely love this long-overdue new feature – I’m already working towards some of the trickier badges!
There are a few bugs in the game, like my poor Singer Sim that simply refused to actually perform, well, Sing, and the random pauses that seem like the game has hung until it suddenly returns to life several minutes later. SimPort also feels a bit buggy, though having so many expansion packs installed makes it hard to identify just where the glitches might be coming from. Needless to say, I have had nothing game-breaking so far! One thing I do find odd, is that after all the advertising with her, there don’t seem to be any Simlish Katy Perry songs in the game.
Showtime is only available for PC. As with all expansion packs, it requires The Sims 3 base game to play. If you’re perhaps looking for a mouse to enhance your Simming experience, perhaps have a look at the Illuminated Sims mouse from Mad Catz,
If the idea of controlling your Sim as they progress through a career (like in Ambitions) appeals to you, Showtime is a winner. The live shows your Sims can put on can be really entertaining, especially if they fail at a particular trick! Assuming you get no glitches, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The other new items and gameplay add even more depth to this expansion pack.
Design and Presentation: 8/10
The Sims 3 engine still looks and sounds great, and the new stage and magic effects look awesome.
Playing a Sim that is a performer offers you quite a range of things to do, and they will unlock new abilities, items and costumes as they progress. Add to that the new social features and achievements, and you’ve got an expansion with plenty to keep you busy.
A solid expansion, especially if the performance aspect appeals to you. Even if it doesn’t, there’s lots of cool new stuff to play with. The Genie is a winner, as are the achievements!
Last Updated: March 16, 2012