Cinderelli Investigates: Backyard Stuff

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Do you know what we need? More outdoor objects so our Sims can enjoy the perpetual sunshine while it lasts! You know it’s only a matter of time before those pesky gurus send the rain and the snow. 😄

Buy Mode Stuff!

I decided that Cinderelli-sim’s house and garden needed a bit of a makeover. The outdoor area was a bit of a dumping ground from the growfruit challenge and it was in desperate need of some landscaping. Luckily, Cinderelli had earned a bit of money from writing books and painting, and so she had enough money to decorate the garden with some of the new items.

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One thing I really like about the objects in this pack is that they work so well with other content. While decorating the house I used filters to use items from Get Together, Romantic Garden Stuff, and Movie Hangout, as well as the new Backyard Stuff. I found that the items complimented each other really well and I could mix and match a little. One thing I would have loved to see was some texture continuity, so items from Backyard Stuff could have had matching patterns from Movie Hangout. But I guess I can look to the CC community for that. Although the textures are really nice on the new items, I did find myself wishing each pattern was available for all the different wood shades, particularly on the garden furniture. I was a bit frustrated I couldn’t have the pattern and wood colour I wanted (the red pattern and the dark wood) and had to settle an alternative colour, but it still looked really nice and I was happy with it in the end.

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The clutter items in this pack are really nice (if a little on the large side) and I love the outdoor lantern, the nicely animated candle, and the glass bowl of fruit. The fruit comes in different colours to represent different types of fruit and looks really nice in kitchens or cafes with a fresh and healthy theme! I also really like the wooden decorative birdhouse and the stepladders. Although I wish the flowers were separate items from the ladders, and I could decorate the ladders with whatever items I liked. There is a slot on the top step though! I think lots of items in this pack will be useful for indoors and outdoors, in a similar way to the furniture from Movie Hangout Stuff. The ladders would look nice in an arty loft, for example.

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A small complaint is that I personally found some of the items in this pack to be a little too bright for my taste. The windmills are very gaudy, and only really feel appropriate for children to me. Other items like the lantern have quite primary colour swatches, and I would have liked a few more muted alternatives. And… wow, that bush is so unnatural! I don’t think I can use that without recolouring it. It wouldn’t look out of place in Sixam though. Another item I wish had a plain option is the water slide, but more on that later.

In general, the objects in this pack are nice and cheerful and I’ll definitely use them a lot! But some of them are a bit too large, and I would have appreciated some more muted colour options.

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GAMEPLAY!!!

I wrote GAMEPLAY in capital letters because there is a lot of it in this pack! The star of the show is the waterslide, but there are other smaller objects that add new functionality too, like the bird feeder and the drinks tray. And the dining table has a little unusual tweak which means that SIX sims can sit around it, more than the usual four, which makes it a bit special. There are also some windchimes which have some customisable features. It feels a bit like some of the development time has been dispersed throughout this pack, rather than focusing on one or two specific objects. The main bulk of the animation goes to the waterslide, but in total there are six objects in this pack that have customised features: the waterslide; the bird feeder; the six-seater dining table; the animated windmills; the windchimes; and the drinks tray. The citronella candle also has a nice smoke animation but I’m not sure if that’s new.

While I like having a lot of features, I feel like maybe they stretched themselves a tiny bit too far. The bird animations are a bit too choppy, for example. But all in all the items are really nice.

– The waterslide:

I have to admit, I like this item more than I thought I would! It’s quite a fun object and there are different animations every time your Sim slides, which makes it enjoyable to watch! Alan the Clown was the first to try out the water slide and he was a bit of a pro! He seemed to enjoy doing trick slides!

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Parker Mouse arrived home from school (still getting straight A’s, the smart little mouse). Parker is cheeky and decided it was more fun to add soap to the water slide and make it all bubbly! Alan agreed, it was much more fun! I thought it was funny that Parker, a ghost, could float straight back to the starting point and Alan could slide right through him!

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Then it was Cinderelli’s turn…

She wasn’t exactly graceful! Later, it made me laugh that she got into bed still covered in bubbles! 😄

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I think the water slide is a really fun item and it will be great on community lots too! I’d be a great object for a pop-up Fun Day at the park, or for beaches if we get a tropical world (or if you’re using the Tropical Getaway Mod Pack). My niggly complaints are that it would have been nice to have a plain option, because the bright designs are a bit childish, and it would have been nice to have a plain version more suitable for teens or young adults. Also, that it would have been nice if it was an inventory object, to make it usable in the big empty area in Newcrest or the beach area in Windenburg. Other than that, it’s a fun item!

– The bird house

This is possibly my favourite item in the pack! It’s just so sweet! And it would be really nice for elders who enjoy gardening. I had Cinderelli feed the birds and luckily she wasn’t attacketed. But one bird did look quite grumpy and aggressive so she backed off. 😄

I would have loved a version that looked more rustic like the decorative birdhouse, and the bird animations are very jumpy! But it’s a nice object anyway and I’m pleased to have it.

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bird watching

– The juice tray

This is a little bit like the drinks tray from Spa Day but with a few notable exceptions. Firstly, there is a new mixing and pouring animation which is much nicer than the magical swipe animation. Then there are three brand new drinks choices: lemonade; iced tea; and a citrus drink (I forgot the name). The sim will pour out six drinks onto the tray and leave the jug half full (or half empty depending on your philosophical outlook on life). A nice feature is that you can drag the drinks off the tray in live mode and then fill up the tray for a second time, giving you a total of twelve servings.

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And when life gives you lemonade you have to SELL IT!!!

If you have Get to Work you can use the retail system to purchase a small empty lot and set up a little lemonade stand! You can either use vanilla content to make a little stall, or you can grab the converted lemonade stand from TS3 by Oh My Sims! The lemonade can be set for sale! It is a little on the expensive side though, so a refreshing glass of sugared lemon water will not come cheaply to your simmies!

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Finally, the wind-chimes are another really nice item. They are customisable, so you can choose what material they are made out of and the length of the bars, which affect the pitch and tone.

Create-A-Sim

I have to admit I wasn’t exactly wowed by the CAS-assets in this pack. They’re just… nice. Usable but nothing too exciting. There are some nice hairstyles, the wavy bob and the dreadlocks are useful, and they have ombre options.

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The clothing is usable and good for everyday wear. There are some skinny jeans that tuck into boots, which is a small detail we’ve not had yet, and for skinny jean fans like me, it’s nice to have this! And there are some shorts, shirts, and new t-shirt designs. I do really like the t-shirt with the knot in the front, and it has some nice metallic details on the different designs. I also like the cute little dungarees and would wear these in real life if it had a t-shirt underneath (I’m hoping I can manage to modify this with Sims4Studio). There is also a nice bodysuit with a lace panel in the back which can double up as a swimsuit.

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While the items are nice, I can’t help thinking this pack was a bit light in the wardrobe department and it could have benefited from a few more options. Maybe a few accessories or even just some more swatch options to bulk it out a bit.

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‘So, what do we think boys?’

The water slide is a lot of fun and it’s nice to have a new activity to do with family and friends. The other gameplay objects are nice to have as well: the bird feeder is sweet; the wind chimes are welcome; and the drinks tray is useful. It’s a great to have a bigger outdoor table that can seat more sims, especially for backyard parties! Most of the furniture and clutter is really pretty and fits in well when combined with existing content. Some of the items are a bit large though, and the items could have had a few muted colour alternatives. The new hair and clothing are nice and useful.

Backyard Stuff is a good pack and I’m happy to have the content in my game. Is it my favourite stuff pack? I’d have to say no. But there’s enough content in there to keep me amused for a while. ^__^

Enjoy! And remember to keep a little birdhouse in your soul!

Cinderelli (sort of) Investigates: Kids’ Room Stuff

As much as I love seeing Cinderelli-sim breaking all the new stuff, I felt like she wasn’t the best sim to review the new stuff pack. Yes, she’s a big kid, but she sadly can’t play with Voidcritters as she is technically an adult. Also, I felt like it would be difficult to show the new CASsets (CAS-assets) using a ghost. >__<

So I grabbed a few of my other Sims to explore the new pack! The family that leaped straight into my mind was The Clausen Family because they have lots of children and would definitely spoil them with the new toys!

CASsets:

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ALL the clothing in this pack is for children. Yep, you heard me. Nothing for Young Adults AGAIN!!! Urgh, when will they stop favouring the child age at the expense of all the other age groups? My young adults have literally NOTHING to wear! (Yes, I’m being silly here.) Honestly, it’s refreshing to have a pack focused on the young ones, especially after TS3 where they were often underrepresented. It reminds me of the popular stuff packs we had for TS2, like Family Fun Stuff, and the way that series had a much more generational gameplay focus.

Since the recent patch, we can now mix and match the clothing between genders, which gives us lots of options! This is particularly nice for children. In real-life I recently bought both my children Batman t-shirts, for example. So, you can give all your Sim kids Space-cat t-shirts if you want (and why wouldn’t you? Space-cat = Life).

There are some nice hairstyles in this pack, I chose a pretty long style with a side plait for Lena, and a cute tomboyish style for Kayla. Before I finally settled on the outfits in the screenshot above I had a look through some of the other options. There are a ton of different swatches for the new meshes! And a lot of them have interesting shiny details on them, like the t-shirt below which has pretty sparkly sleeves (can I have this for adults too please?). You have a good selection of patterned or plain options too, which is great! Like the pretty floral jeans, which also come in the plain option above.

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The more typically boyish styles have a really nice indie/urban feel and I think they are very trendy, but also appropriate for kids. They come in muted colours which I think gives them more of an older-child feel then brighter primary colours which feel younger (more on this age range later).

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Build/Buy:

The buy mode content for this pack is really nice and useful! I love that they included stickered and plain options on the for the furniture, this means you can use the items like the bookshelves in other rooms. I also like how the two bookshelf styles can be placed together to make a bigger unit. Another thing I really like about this pack is that it has an older-child feel, almost pre-teen with the boy-band t-shirts! The decorations mean you can personalise your child’s bedroom more, to show their individual personalities and interests developing as they approach their teenage years. The base-game stuff for children has a younger feel, and I like that we can visualise the transition period from early childhood to a pre-teen age as our sim children develop their skills.

To show you what I mean, here are Lena and Kayla’s bedrooms before and after they had a makeover with the new content. You can see how they become less generic and more themed to their personalities. Lena is interested in nature and science, and Kayla is sociable and sporty.

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I really, really, REALLY like being able to decorate my Sims’ rooms to reflect their interests. So I love decor like the sporty items: the trophies and medals. I’ll use these to decorate the rooms of my teens who love sorts as well! In the Clausen household, my teenager Michelle got to use the pretty photographs with the fairy lights over her desk, as she is interested in photography. Another Sim, Kyra, who loves fashion, will be able to use the Audrey Hepburn style canvasses. So, I like that this decor is adaptable and reflects my Sims interests, not just children but teens and adults too. I hope we get more interest-specific content.

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Voidcritters!!!

Ok… I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Voidcritters! I’ll admit, I was a teeny bit sceptical at first, but now I FLIPPIN LOVE THIS FEATURE!!! It is just perfect for kids, and really represents a common activity that children do between themselves of collecting and trading some popular toy trend. I love that they added a children’s TV channel and radio station, because again this shows the kids’ interests developing, whether it be a mad obsession with Voidcritters or idolising their favourite pop-star. I like that Voidcritters transition between being a TV-show to a collectable toy and game, because this is what happens with any popular kids’ brand! The one thing I wish they had added was individual Voidcritter pushies or toys, but luckily talented modders are on the case!

There are a few ways of obtaining the Voidcritter cards: you can have your children search for them in hollow logs or trash cans (much to my amusement! I hope they bring back dumpster diving for adults). Or you can nag your parents for permission to order a pack of cards off the interwebs (permission not essential but highly recommended). If you are lucky, you might find a rare foil card!!!

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There are 20 types of Voidcritter (plus the additional 20 foil versions) and they all have a unique back-story. They also have an ability class, so choose carefully when entering into battle! I like picking a suitable ‘favourite’ for each child, so they can focus training on their favourite, and decorate their rooms accordingly!

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dicoatl

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Once you have your Voidcritter cards, you can get gather some friends around and start battling on the gaming station! I really appreciate that they updated the Get Together club system to allow us to create Voidcritter clubs! You can also trade cards with other children, which is best done by clicking the specific card you want to trade (I pull my favourite card out of the inventory first to be safe).

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pleased

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Sadly, the Voidcritter options are only for children, which is a huge shame because I would have loved my childish or geeky teens and adults to collect and battle Voidcritters too. :-/

Fortunately though, the cards look GREAT on shelving, and they can be sold using the retail system. I updated my cinema’s retail area with Voidcritter merch (and other collectable bits and bobs from the pack like the robot decor). This way, I can send my teens there to buy a card occasionally, so they can still collect them, even if they can’t actually play.

I’m pleased to see that modders are already unlocking interactions for other age groups!

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Puppet Theatre:

The puppet theatre (yes, I’m spelling that right) is a really adorable item which allows your sim kids to put on a puppet show for their family and friends. It’s quite straightforward to explain really. But it does have some very sweet animations and noises, and I love how sims gather around to watch with interest, even kneeling on the floor if no seats are available, so make sure you pop down a rug!

It will be a nice item to add to parks or libraries, to make those venues more interesting for children. And if you make schools and classrooms for you kids, or run a daycare, it will be a great item for those situations too! I do hope we get active schools and a real theatre added to the game at some point!

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All in all, I think this is a great pack! I think you get a LOT of gameplay value out of it, if you enjoy content for children. You also get a huge amount of cas and buy mode items, with a really good variety of swatches. I love that the stuff pack has a very specific theme, and I like that there is content to support individual Sims’ hobbies and interests (more of that please). It would be nice to get a teen or hobby focused pack, something like TS2 Freetime, at some point too. I’d love soccer or basketball, and ballet or gymnastics, for example! More playground equipment for kids would be fab too, especially if teens can also hang around on the swings.

More stuffz:

The great news is that the community has gone crazy for Voidcritters! And there is already a ton of supportive custom content available!

* Voidcritter plushies by PickyPikachu

* Trade Voidcritter for All Ages Mod by Shimrod101

* Voidcritter T-shirts (adult and kids versions available on site) by Strawberry House

* WIP Voidcritter content by Brazen Lotus (watch this space)

* Buyable Voidcritters by Treelife Creations

* Alternate Puppet Theatre and puppets as toys by Sandy at ATS

* Another one to watch is SNW who is creating wallpapers, furnishings and pjs:

Cinderelli Investigates: Monstahs Under Beds!

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A recent patch added a new feature to The Sims 4 base game: monsters under the beds! Well, technically we had a similar feature in TS3 where children would get paranoid about monsters under the beds and if you looked closely you might see a pair of red glowing eyes. In The Sims 4 the monsters are a bit more curious, and you might find them reaching out a tentacle or two as they try to explore this strange new environment (what will they feed on instead of dust mites, I don’t know, but those ankles sure look tasty!).

If you don’t want your beloved Sim children to be awoken mid-dream by nocturnal bed octopuses (nope, not octopi, I checked), then you can deter or prevent them entirely! Either have an adult spray the room with ‘Monster Repellent’, or install the ‘Coolala, The Defender Wall Light’ which tentacled bed monsters are terrified of, apparently.

Well, I just had to test this out! And since Parker Mouse is an evil ghost child, he seemed like he’d be brave enough for the task! Ummm… he wasn’t. 😄

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It took a little while for the monster to appear. It didn’t show up on the first night. But on the second night Parker woke up autonomously and started freaking out. A notification helpfully informed me that he’d spotted the monster!

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Nope! My little Parker Mouse is not the type to be scared of a few tentacles! These semi-transparent supernatural minorities really should stick together! So I directed him to make friends with the besuckered beast. Several times. To no avail. The monster was stubbornly determined to be anti-social.

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monstah says no

Well… I might as well let events play themselves out then!

I left Parker to his autonomy. He screamed a bit then ran around the lot waking up all the grown ups. First he woke up Cinderelli-sim, but she’s not very functional if woken up early without coffee so she wandered off to the bathroom in confusion. So Parker ran outside to the tent and shouted until Alan the Clown appeared to save the day! Like a hero he strode into the house and taught that monster a lesson with a good repellent spray to the suckers (well, he assumed that’s what he was spraying but it was hard to tell as only children and childish sims can see the monster)! As Alan strode off to finish his sleep, Parker breathed a big sigh of relief!

One day he’d befriend that monster and together they would rule the WOOOOOORLD!!!

One day… O__o

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It’s a nice little feature to have in a patch, and it adds some welcome interactions between children and grown-ups. I like the monster repellent spray, it’s a funny touch. And I like the way children react by running to ask a grown up for help. The night light is a great addition for players who would rather not have the feature, because it stops the monster appearing. It’s a bit large, but can be hidden behind other objects using the ‘bb.moveobjects on’ cheat to make it less conspicuous if it doesn’t match the decor.

Cinderelli Investigates: Owning a Restaurant

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Cinderelli, Cinderelli,
Night and day it’s Cinderelli,
Make the fire, fix the breakfast,
Wash the dishes, do the mopping…

Well… Cinderelli-sim doesn’t need to do any of that because she can hire employees to do all that for her while she has a nap.

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That’s right… the third Sims 4 Game Pack has FINALLY arrived after only ten thousand years since SimGuruNinja first hinted about it in THAT TWEET. Now our Sims can not only visit, but also own and manage their very own restaurants! We might not be able to actually play as a chef or wait staff, and I’ll admit I was a bit miffed about that at first, but the level of customisability is impressive! We can choose individual meals for the menu, hire staff and choose their uniform, and even choose which category of clothing our customers wear! If you want Sims to dine in their swimwear and have them served by employees in bear outfits, you can totally do that! And as a manager your Sim does have an important role to play, they need to chat to customers which improves their mood and their reviews. They also need to manage the employees, offering them encouragement… or criticism. All in all, owning a restaurant is pretty involved.

Now, you might remember Cinderelli’s recent successful leadership of the Happy Clown Club? Well, it only seemed natural for her to staff her restaurant with her new found friends. It worked for Ronald, right?

Oh yeah, and one guy is wearing a hotdog suit. Although The Crusty Pie doesn’t actually serve hotdogs, Cinderelli found the comedy value and the colour scheme of the outfit complementary to the restaurant’s overall theme.

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Now… Cinderelli happens to be a TERRIBLE cook. But she does like cake. And pie. And any kind of sweet savoury dish. So she decided to only serve things like brownies, doughnuts, and other sticky carbohydrate goodness. Oh and coffee. Because coffee = life.

I was really shocked at just how many food and drink options we actually have in the game! There is actually a lot of room for customisability here. Although, I hope we get some more types of food soon. Some different themed food from around the world. And vegan options would be great too!

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The customers began to arrive while Cinderelli was napping, but she thought she should probably get up and set a good example to her new employees. They didn’t seem too enthusiastic to be honest (you need to check out their responses when you ask them how they’re doing, they’re pretty amusing!). Cinderelli grabbed a bowl of cereal (she knew better than to trust anything made by her new chef) and went to check on her first customers. She found that the customers were really unimpressed by the level of service offered by her host and waitress. Cinderelli reassured them that they would recieve only the highest levels of service from that point on. Then she dumped her empty cereal bowl on their table and wandered off.

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Hmmm… Cinderelli’s staff were pretty basic and she couldn’t really be bothered motivating them (maybe the hot Oasis Springs weather was making her feel lethargic?), so she called her new lodger Alan to come and help out. Maybe he could amuse the customers with his amazing comedy skills? Ok, so he was an evil ex-clown, but he was pretty good company now he’d got over that tragic melancholy!

‘Hey there Sausage Boy! You’re doing a great job!’ he said enthusiastically to the host. Sure, he was lying through his teeth but if it motivated Sausage Boy to be a bit less rubbish then it was all for the greater good. The employee was so pleased with this unwarranted praise that he didn’t even care that Alan didn’t know his real name. His performance really did seem to improve after this!

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Meanwhile, the first customers’ meal was ready and… the quality was a bit… questionable.

The customers seemed very unimpressed by their meal, so Cinderelli quickly leapt into action and made the situation slightly less awful.

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Alan continued working his oily charm on some of the other guests. Luckily, they seemed to appreciate his terrible jokes. I’d made a mistake of putting TVs inside and this seemed to upset the seating arrangements (I’d advise taking TVs out of restaurants but other than this the Sims seem to keep to their own tables quite well). Who wants to eat at a table in the sunshine when you can perch your meal on your lap in front of the telly anyway? I know what I’d rather do! 😄

Sadly, these Sims were not too happy with their meal either (although they were pleased with the overall service). So Alan had a quick word with the chef too.

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After Alan had a little chat with the employees to motivate them, the rest of the evening ran quite smoothly. There were no more serious complaints about service and the food was of a steady but satisfying average quality.

It amused me that Cinderelli’s good friend Bjorn Bjergsen arrived for a meal but ate at a different table from his wife Clara! What happened there?! They seemed to enjoy their meals though and left reasonable reviews.

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It was getting a bit late and the employees seemed to be getting a bit tired. There’s a really useful feature that lets you stop any more customers from arriving if you choose the option on the host podium! The last customer was Geoffrey Landgraab. Now… I have a soft spot for Geoffrey because he seems like such a nice Sim! But he annoyed me because he was sooooooooo slow! He was that annoying last customer of the evening that takes his time although the staff are glaring at him like GET OUT! And then he had the cheek to complain that the service was slow! No Geoffrey, just… no.

Finally Geoffrey finished eating and they closed the restaurant for the night. Cinderelli autonomously gave Alan a big hug and they seemed really happy with their first attempt at running a business together! They’d even made a small profit! AND nobody had died!

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Create-a-Sim Assets

From the trailers and official renders I felt kind of ‘meh’ about the new CAS assets (or CASsets, if you will). Apart from the employee outfits which you’d expect from the pack, I’d only really spotted a couple of nice hairstyles and a pretty dress. However, when I poked about with them in-game I was actually really happy with them! The two full body outfits for women with flowery skirts both have plain swatches, this makes them much more flexible as not all my Sims suit that kind of bold flowery pattern. It also makes it easier to create recolours when we have a plain base to work with, so I appreciate that detail. These two outfits are also just really… nice! They work well for normal Sims and are the sort of thing you’ll see normal people wearing (rather than the very revealing or overly-dressy clothing that we so often see in female CAS). I really like these two items!

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And also THAT HAIR!!! It’s so nice! There are other hairstyles available but I think that one is my favourite! It has a bit of a vintage feel, which I really like. In fact, a few of the CAS assets have an old-Hollywood or vintage film feel that really appeals to me. The black dress reminds me of Audrey Hepburn, and the trousers and hairstyle remind me of Katherine Hepburn when paired with a blouse. The male and children’s CAS also has a nice vintage feel (modelled here by Alan and Cinderelli’s adopted ghost child Parker).

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I’ve only shown a few of the CAS items but you can see all of them in more detail in XUrbanSimsX’s Overview and Gameplay video below:

Build/Buy

There are sooooo many really nice build/buy assets in this pack! They don’t seem to have one particular theme, but they are all so nice and useful and contain many different things that you might find in a restaurant! And plants! Lots and lots of plants! Which is great… if like me, you really like plants! 😄

A couple of the stand-out items for me are the booth seating, which is so helpful for creating restaurants and bars! And there are counter-height tables which use bar stools which I think are really clever! I like that there are two chef’s ovens, and that one of them has a service window! There are also customisable signs: blank signs that you can customise with decals. These decals can also be applied to windows, which is a smart touch.

Many of the objects match existing content too. There are some Japanese style objects in the game already, like the items in Spa Day, and I feel like these packs compliment each other really well. And many of the retail items from Get to Work can be mixed and matched with Dine Out content as seen in The Crusty Pie above, which I pre-built before I had access to Dine Out and just updated with some of the new items.

I like this versatility of content! If you have Cool Kitchen, Movie Hangout and Get Together you’ll find ice-cream, popcorn and coffee on the menu! Now I’d just like some more variety of styles, and different types of food, to create more styles of restaurants! I love that in the future I’ll be able to add a new themed restaurant to match all the new worlds we’ll get! One thing I really like about The Sims 4 is that they are creating these really flexible features! Like the club system in Get Together that gives us so much creative freedom to use the feature in our own way, I love that we are not limited to certain styles of restaurants, and we can create whatever we want with the content we are given. I really do feel like they are giving us tools to play in our own way. Yes, there could always be improvements! Nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect, but on the whole I’m really pleased with how the developers are handling The Sims 4.

Cinderelli Investigates: Clowning Around

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*sings badly* TRAGEDY!!! When you see a clown and you start to frown it’s TRAGEDY!!! When you start to cry and you don’t know why, it’s hard to bare, and no one can help you, you’d better beware!

That’s right, that lovable fan favourite is back: the Tragic Clown! We all loved him so much in TS1 that the thoughtful gurus decided he needed to make a comeback in TS4! We’re so happy and thankful, right? ….RIGHT???

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Well… maybe ‘happy’ isn’t quite the appropriate word to use. Wearing the tragic clown clothing actually makes your sim desperately unhappy. And it doesn’t just affect the wearer. All the sims around the tragic sim will also be overwhelmed with sadness. Poor Parker!

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clown

At first, I have to admit, I was not amused to hear this sim was making a comeback. The Tragic Clown really irritated me in TS1! Some players have found his incessant crying annoying, and his self-loathing to be really quite upsetting. The Tragic Clown really brings down the mood and it’s understandable that some people want to avoid him.

(Video credit: SimsVip)

I actually considered just… not patching. Nope. Not doing it! I’ll stick with the egg hunt and growfruit thank you very much! But then… funnily enough… the Tragic Clown started to appeal to me. I guess it appealed to me in a sentimental way… why is the poor clown so sad? Why can’t he be cheered up? Is he suffering from depression?

This made me want to accept the clown and his mopey ways. He can’t help being sad. Like how people with depression in real life can be snappy and emotional, this clown is suffering in the same way, and needs our love and support. Even when he seems to reject it. ❤

And so… it became Cinderelli-sim's mission to, not cheer up the clown, but to befriend him in her own charming and… slightly annoying… fashion. I had Cinderelli-sim look at the tragic clown painting and summon one of these mopey wanderers.

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The first clown that appeared was too smart to stick around to be Cinderelli-sims guinea-pig and immediately vanished into thin air. Okaysies. Maybe it was time for Cinderelli to take off that clown suit?

Attempt number 2 produced a very quirky looking character. I’m not sure why he wasn’t wearing the suit and make-up, but he did have the clown hair, and I kind of liked his unusual look. Maybe this clown was trying to dress ‘normally’ to fit in? Maybe if he acted happy, he would feel happy?

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So, I set about befriending this hapless soul. I knew better than to try the obvious ‘cheer up’ interactions (those never worked well in TS1) but I aimed at getting to know his interests and talking about those. Sadly, everytime I had a small amount of success and started to build up the relationship bar, one of the pair would put their foot in their mouth and the relationship would take a nose-dive. *sigh*

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Cinderelli-sim is not the sort to give up easily when she has set her mind to something! And I really was starting to like this hopeless, awkward character. So it was time for Plan B! I took advantage of the Get Together club system to start a clown club! I set the club rules to encourage friendly and cheerful behaviours and invited the clown, Alan, back to the house. It took a while to convince him to join the club, but eventually the relationship bar was high enough for him to accept. Once he joined Cinderelli’s Happy Clown Cult… *cough*… I mean Club, it didn’t take long to build up their relationship and Alan the Clown really seemed to cheer up! Yippie!

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clowncult

I felt like Alan was now rehabilitated, I really like the shape of his face, so Cinderelli asked him to move in! He’s evil, like Parker, so I figured they would get along well and maybe Alan could act as a role model for the young ghost-child. However, while Cinderelli accepts their evil traits, she wants them to focus on their more positive abilities! Alan is creative, and since he clearly likes music, she thinks he should focus on his DJ and comedy skills. He has now joined the entertainer career! Also, for those who want to know how Parker is getting along, while I was completing the growfruit challenge, Parker has reached level 10 with his violin lessons, and he is an A student! When we get the kids’ themed stuff pack, I’m going to treat him to some new goodies as a reward.

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Cinderelli Investigates: Growthfruit

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So, the Sims team decided to revive the Spring Easter Egg Hunt but threw in an extra (eggstra?) twist. We now have an optional challenge of hunting down a new NPC at the community gardens in Oasis Springs or Willow Creek. Jasmine Holiday will give us a single pack of a new ingredient/plant called ‘growthfruit’ and a pack of fertiliser, she then asks you to return once you have grown 20 of the fruit for a special reward. So, I decided to send Cinderelli-sim over to check this out…

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The initial excitement of having a ghost protégé had worn off and Cinderelli was feeling nervous about her new role as fairy ghost-mother. What was she meant to do with this kid? She didn’t know the first thing about parenting! INTERNAL PANIC!!! Telling the sprog to go and do his homework seemed like the sort of thing a ‘good parent’ would do and a good way of distracting him while she thought about what to do next. FOOD! Kids need food. What kind of food do kids like? Chocolate brownies!!! She might be a terrible cook, but she can do the baking thing!

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Sprog seemed impressed! Cnderelli patted herself on the back for being an awesome parent and chatted to Parker while they ate. He seemed to like her bad impressions and cheesy jokes. However, Cinderelli-sim was still feeling a little concerned. Suddenly the kid jumped up and took his plate to the bathroom. Cinderelli followed him curiously and happily found he was washing his plate! Maybe having this kid around could be a good thing, Cinderelli thought as she absent-mindedly dumped her own plate on the hall table. 😄

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Rosy-fingered Dawn appeared and the new friends went to the community garden at Willow Creek to look for the new NPC. It took a few minutes of awkward standing around before Jasmine Holiday appeared. Cinderelli went over to greet her and they walked together. Jasmine’s expression made me laugh, like she thought Cinderelli-sim was bonkers [she is].

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And… this is where it went a bit wrong for me. I have to admit I really like having this special NPC, and I like the new fruit, and the challenges! Only… I really dislike that this is timed. I had Cinderelli-sim plant the seed and she couldn’t use the special fertiliser to make it grow faster (maybe she needs a higher gardening skill?). So I sent her to look around for wild growthfruit (I’d heard that was a thing but sadly couldn’t find any).

[It did make me laugh that she had this branch in her face as she collected apples]

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So then I had to pass the time waiting for the fruit to grow. This normally wouldn’t be an issue for me. I’d plant the seeds and get on with playing my normal game. But the fact that it is a timed challenge, and the fact that with 2 sick kids and a ton of coursework I’m very short of time at the moment, meant that I felt very rushed. I had Cinderelli paint to pass the time, and was jumping to speed 3 while Parker was at school. I never use speed 3 usually and I found that I really wasn’t enjoying the game, it’s not the way I play. I felt like I was just trying to tick boxes and I wasn’t engaged with the game or my sims’ lives. You can tell, as a result I have hardly any screenshots.

Finally the tree grew and gave me 6 fruit. I replanted one and saved the rest for the challenge. By this point it was late and I’d ran out of time to play. Since my game time is precious, will I be completing this challenge? Probably not. I felt rushed and didn’t enjoy it. If this wasn’t timed, I would have really enjoyed this feature. But now I feel like I’m going to miss out. If not on the content (which I believe will be in debug), on the gameplay.

I’d be happier if they kept Jasmine in the game all year round, and just updated her with the new content each season. So, I’d leave her in the community garden with her growthfruit. Then next time there is a challenge, like Spooky Day, maybe she’d move location to a park and offer a trick or treat themed challenge as well. This way, the content and challenges remain in game for those of us who don’t play seasonally, or who are short on time while the challenges are on. And you still get the new content and holiday-themed challenges.

Anyhoo, I like how the tree glows. It’d be nice if the fruit glowed too. And Cinderelli-sim and Parker seem to be getting along well, Parker improved his grade at school. Plus, Cinderelli made enough money from selling her paintings to be able to buy a computer. She wrote a kid’s story: Caspian the Evil Ghost, a story about a misunderstood ghost child who only wanted to make friends. She thought it would help Parker be able to talk about his feelings about his ghostly condition, and understand that even though the game gave him an evil trait, that he is not a ‘bad’ kid and he can still make friends and have a good life. He seemed really pleased. ^__^

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Cinderelli-sim Investigates: Sims 4 Romantic Garden Stuff

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Is this a review? I’m not quite sure myself. It’s a thing. And things can be good too. Basically, the plan is to make Cinderelli-sim investigate the new stuff pack for the plums and the giggles.

Gameplay

Dressed in her new Romantic Garden clothes, Cinderelli went to check out the new lot that came with the pack. It has plenty of quiet nooks and crannies where you can meet your secret love. Perfect for a romantic date or picturesque wedding!

PYRAMUS
Oh, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!

THISBE
I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.

First Cinderelli tested the features of the fountain… by sitting on it! ‘What do you mean there are no chairs?!’

Then she threw a coin into the fountain and seemed very pleased with herself. Next, it was time to jump in and splash about! I like how they keep their normal clothes on instead of changing into swimwear for this, it makes it feel more spontaneous and impulsive! And don’t worry about Cinderelli’s shoes, they’re only Primark.

Of course, Cinderelli-sim wouldn’t be Cinderelli-sim without getting up to mischief, so she filled the fountain with bubbles! This made splashing around even MORE fun!

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Next Cinderelli wanted to test the wishing well. This took a bit of searching as it was tucked away in a corner of the lot. Cinderelli threw in a tribute of 100 simoleans but the stone fountain head didn’t seem to think much of this (demanding begger isn’t he!?). Cinderelli tried again and threw in an extra 1000 simoleans (as much as she could afford) but this only made old Stone Head super mad! Not taking his dark hooded disposition dissuade her, Cinderelli sim decided to wish for a child!

(In TS3 Cinderelli had used the Lucky Palms wishing well to wish for a child and had been rewarded with an evil child who she loved with all her simulated heart!)

Clearly all the black smoke and glaring was an act, because the kindly Stone head granted Cinderelli’s wish! Sort of. He graced her with an evil little ghost boy called Parker Mouse! Cinderelli is good with kids, so she told him a joke about elephants and he turned green with happiness! ‘Don’t worry,’ she told him, ‘just because you are an evil ghost child from the depths of the putrid well, I still love you!’ ❤

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I’m really happy with the gameplay value of these items. I’ll use the fountain in my parks and regularly send my sims to splash around and generally hang-out there. The wishing well is more of a novelty item for a control freak simmer like me! But I’m impressed with the detail of it: the animations and the intricacy of the mechanics behind granting wishes. There seem to be a good variety of outcomes, and it feels like a well designed object. Simmers who enjoy randomness in their games will enjoy it! Personally, I’ll tuck it away in a secret garden somewhere and if I do use it, I’ll be sure to save first! I’m very happy to have the ‘evil child’ feature back. I dislike the selection process of adoption in the game, so I don’t use it. I’ll use the wishing well as an adoption replacement: you don’t know which child you will get, but your sims will be there for them no matter what! Which is how I think all parenting should be.

CAS

Cinderelli got to dress up in some new clothes. The female clothes have a really nice shape and they are very wearable (no awkwardness inducing navel-plunging-cleavages here)! They are nice for everyday clothing, and work well for ‘date’ or party outfits too. I would have appreciated more pattern-less options though. Also… THAT HAIR!!! It’s gorgeous.

The male clothing is also really nice. I was a bit concerned about the floweriness of the clothing when I saw the trailer, and how wearable the items would be. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the male clothing has plainer options and the items are actually really nice! The hair is great too.

There are even a few items for children! Two full outfits for girls which I REALLY like, the one with the cardigan is so nicely detailed. And there is a cute shirt for boys. There is a very sweet hairstyle for girls, and a shorter unisex hairstyle for both genders.

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Build/Buy

I personally really like the ‘Victorian Garden’ theme of the build/buy items. There are some new flowers which come in a variety of bright colours, including a few ‘alien’ palettes if you enjoy making extra-terrestrial lots. I particularly like the hedgerows, which you line up to make beautiful borders or secluded areas.

There are a number of stone items, some are practical like the benches, climbing frame and picnic table, others are purely decorative like the new fountain piece. I really like the classical statues, which could also be used to decorate an expensive home or a museum. The ‘folly’ is beautiful and versatile, you can place a bench in there, or a statue, or even place two together to make an interesting garden feature or roof decoration! Although the theme is ostensibly ‘Victorian’ it also has a Classical feel, which I appreciate! Another point I noticed was that many items have darker ‘goth’ colour options, you could definitely make a darker style lot with this pack.

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I’m very happy with this pack, and I think I dare say it’s my favourite sp. It’s very much to my taste though, and you may feel differently. If you were on the fence, hopefully Cinderelli’s misadventures will have given you a little bit more information about the pack.

Happy Simming!