- 96 lots (Res 56, Com 40, 18 completely empty)
- Pre-populated with 58 Sims (not counting service/homeless).
- For: The Sims 3 Store
- Price: c.US$21 for the world itself, on sale. c.US$35 for the world with Lucky Simoleon venue, on sale.
Lucky Palms is a lovely world, evoking the desert really well, and giving players some fantastic new assets. It does not introduce a heap of new build/buy objects, but what it does introduce has not appeared before in this iteration of The Sims - cacti are a good example, as are the triangular windows that fit neatly beneath a roof, or the cheap slanted pole that acts as a one or two storey column. Lucky Palms puts more sand in our sandboxes than previous worlds, and what it offers does not feel like a rehash of things we already have.
The world draws some inspiration from California's Salton Sea, a desert basin where lakes had formed that was, for a brief period, built into a resort area. Some parts of the lakes salified and turned mucky, ruining a short tourism boom. Something similar has happened in Lucky Palms, with the world on one half of the highway a beautiful resort, and on the other half a dry basin with a patch of unpleasant looking slime. From map view the dried up basins are very distinct, so the story gets across well. One family's description talks about the "mystery" of the dried up lake beds for good measure. The story telling in this world is particularly good, it doesn't force too much on the player, but it lays out a specific scenery in which to play.
The world's palette is nice, but the painting looks a bit perfunctory in places, especially areas of grass around the town. In other areas a subtle dab of paint is used to great effect, so it's mixed in that regard. The sculpting is brilliant, but sometimes it feels they've prioritised accuracy over a more natural look. This is hardly a cutting criticism, the wireframe for worlds is by necessity very chunky, and it's hard to get smooth, realistic terrain at the best of times. Sadly - if not stupidly - the plentiful windfarm objects presumably powering the town are not animated like the windmills are in Appaloosa Plains. They just sit there looking defunct. The new wishing well should more than make up for such a cosmetic oversight, though, and if you have the "Gold" edition then the blackjack table is also delightful. Both these objects feature wonderful animations, and quite fun gameplay - really solid designs.
There are 96 lots in Lucky Palms, that's an improvement over previous worlds - Lunar Lakes had 87, and Hidden Springs had 84 - meaning it should be easier to fit all the EP content into the world. There are several large lots, although some of these at bizarre sizes just to confuse you. Want to start a legacy on a 63x63 lot? As usual there are very few cribs around town, which matters for some third party story progression mods, but isn't too big a deal. The default library has plenty of skill bookshelves, so your NPCs will skill up a bit that way. There are a host of beige and peach recoloured rabbit holes, some of which look fantastic. The new diner is very retro and funky, the new criminal warehouse much more subdued and probably easier to hide in a town now. There's a new bistro rabbit hole, too. It's lovely - a beautiful model - but we have so many bistros and diners at this point that I'd rather see new models for something else. Still, I say this bistro is beautiful and I mean it.
If you want to make or download a desert-themed world for The Sims 3, this is what you should buy to build it. Combined with the assets from World Adventures, players can make a convincing desert region that is set almost anywhere - although the flora we get in this DLC is distinctly middle-American, with yucca (Joshua tree & two other varieties), prickly pear cacti, and mesquite bushes and trees. The flora, however, widens the scope of worlds we can make for The Sims 3 significantly, and makes this town more valuable than most of the vapid Stuff Packs that come out with a handful of tepid rehashes of things we already have, which is good, because worlds cost as much as Stuff Packs and sometimes more. There is also a nice cattle guard object for hiding changes in road textures, but it's not enabled to show up in CAW.
I cannot imagine anyone regretting their purchase of Lucky Palms while it is still on sale. There are two different packages, the standard package contains the world, and a more expensive package includes the very worthwhile Lucky Simoleon casino venue. I find it difficult to say whether the latter is priced well even on sale, it seems a bit steep at c.$35 and I certainly wouldn't spend that kind of money on this DLC, but I am intensely aware that we are getting better quality objects than we have ever seen from the store, in terms of design and also polish - a lot of players may very well deem that a good price for what they are getting. The world on its own is worth the $21 price tag. The world + casino looks like a rip off except possibly while on sale. Once they are off sale, I doubt any of the Lucky Palms packages will look quite so much like value for money, but it's certainly a world worth owning if you can get it.
Here are the screenshots:
- Terrain - 9.5/10
Nice sculpting here, with only the slightly unnatural, mechanical look in some places holding it back. This may be unavoidable for performance reasons on low end machines, so consider this edging very close towards being a full score.
- Lots - 10/10
The lots are nice, with a modern building style that EA's lot builders are clearly more comfortable with than they are with classic architecture. There's a real charm to the new rabbit holes and the lots they inhabit, and there are plenty of lots for EP content.
- Objects - 9/10
As I said in the body of the review, it's in the objects that this pack shines - new trees, nice "premium content", lovely additions to build mode, and with nice community-aware touches like the mailbox being available with buydebug. There is a lovely cattle guard grate on the roads in the worlds that isn't available in CAW, knocking a point off what should be a perfect score.
- Sims - 7/10
Although they mostly have the freakishly over-large eyes and slightly non-descript face of all EA Sims, these guys manage to convey a dash more personality, a bit more like the EP Sims than previous store ones. Quite a few really do look distinct and unique this time.
- Playability - 9/10
I found one road not connected to an intersection, but otherwise EA has laid great routing on a terrain where the complex sculpting and bright terrain made mistakes more likely than usual.
- Flavour Texts - 8/10
The community lots don't have any flavour texts at all, but all the other texts are excellent. You can get a very good sense of what situation you are going into with a pre-made family by reading their text, and play off of that. House texts give some wry hints about the history of the world itself.
Download & Links
- Lucky Palms at the official Sims 3 Store