- 87 lots (Res 44, Com 43, 8 completely empty)
- Pre-populated with 52 Sims (not counting service/homeless).
- For: The Sims 3 Store
- Price: c.US$24 Heaps more than is sensible to spend unless on sale.
Lunar Lakes is the first world built by The Sims 3 Store that is worth owning. This a landmark achievement for the store. Mind you, it's still not worth owning at the price they want for it, wait for a massively discounted sale. Personally, I would not have bought this for the price that I did except for multiple requests that I review it. (Sorry it's such a late review, incidentally, but I just didn't have the money until recently.) This a beautifully unique world marred by the usual lack of forethought and effort in terms of the game itself, but if you are willing to treat this as some sort of portal into surrealist fantasy then prepare yourself for a trip to a lovely distant planet where wild horses and deer roam, and the space-age inhabitants are ferried around in New York-esque taxi cabs. This isn't just an awesome world for fans of soft science fiction, it is also one for players who never knew how badly they wanted to start a legacy inside a Dali painting. It's still a high quality world within the creative constraints imposed by the design flaws of The Sims 3 itself.
EA's world-building team has put a good deal of work into creating a really unique, specific environment. Such effort was missing in their previous entries Barnacle Bay and Hidden Springs. This world has a dedicated backstory and a solid theme. A spaceship led by one captain Anthony Cross crash lands on a bizarre landscape covered in mysterious crystals. The crash survivors fashion these crystals into power sources, and start rebuilding their material and social infrastructure. The result is Lunar Lakes as the player encounters it, an entirely "human" population on a bizarre planet. The atmosphere at times echoes Strangetown of The Sims 2, especially thanks to a host of very unique and ooky-looking terrain paints. The road paints are fantastical, giving a real sense of layers and depth to the road surfaces.
The world's ini files are all tuned to complement the terrain colours, and to provide some really odd and spacey shifts in light. Beneath flickering "meteor showers" the world divides into several tiers. At the lowest is a sulphurous lake bed with bright yellows and coppery blues. Here you can find the world's sole beach lot, a basic affair, but beaches aren't the focal point of Lunar Lakes. The town sits on a plateau above the lakes, with weird icons etched into the rock, and a distinctive architectural style. The centrepiece here is an ancient crashed shuttle, the one that brought all the inhabitants to the planet. Above is the final, soaring tier. Fantasy trees blossom - maroon, yellow, and purple/turquoise - in elevated craters. The houses up here are like mushrooms. The scene is something like a '60s sci-fi interpretation of H G Wells's The First Men on the Moon.
I should take a moment to talk about the obvious missed opportunity here: Aliens. On the one hand, if EA started releasing occult sims and major gameplay additions (I'm looking at you "premium content") via The Sims Store I would vomit. No amount of hype can justify the prices charged at the store, but EA has never really come to terms with the concept of microtransactions or competitive pricing. On the other hand, if there was a time in this franchise to introduce aliens, it was around the release of Lunar Lakes - preferably in a nearby expansion pack. As it stands the Sims in Lunar Lakes are a bit underwhelming. The Sims team could certainly learn a lot about how to get the most out of their own sliders and Create-A-Sim content. The Sims of this world still look pudding-faced and slightly clone-like. EA creators are still relying much too heavily on clothing and head wear to bring out the personalities of their Sims, and not enough on facial sculpting.
Lunar Lakes also features some so-called "premium content", that is content that adds new gameplay, the Tree of Prosperity. This is quite a lovely object, a crystalline tree. Like the Fountain of Youth in Hidden Springs it isn't pre-placed in the world, which seems a little sad. The sense of discovery that would come from hunting it down would be cool. Perhaps there is a technical issue with placing this kind of content in an unloaded world?
Lunar Lakes is superb. It is designed well, as you can see from some of the beautiful concept art that EA has released, as well as the many screenshots around the community. It is ridiculous, but mostly in a really good way. It is unique, I think that is important to say - it is really, really unique and provides extremely interesting assets that CAW users will love, albeit most have to be unlocked by mods which is one of EA's biggest blunders with this world. They have, at least, recently released the Lunar Lakes Rocks for free in the store. There is also a distant terrain, not unlocked without the help of mods, but its use is limited beyond space worlds. I recommend this world, something I cannot say for other store worlds. If you like sci-fi or fantasy worlds, this is probably a great world for you to own.
Here are the screenshots:
- Terrain - 9/10
I took a point off on a totally subjective basis. I do not like the giant out of proportion peak in the middle of the craters, and this the world would look better without it. However this is top notch terrain sculpting, and can't really be faulted.
- Lots - 10/10
EA lots are often attacked for looking outlandish and bizarre, but here is a world where they are supposed to be outlandish and bizarre. There's a really consistent, unique architectural style in Lunar Lakes, so much so that I've seen builders imitating "Lunar Lakes-style" houses. There's a touch of Logan's Run about the buildings.
- Objects - 9/10
This is a new category I've included for EA Store worlds, and Lunar Lakes really shines in it. These are some really excellent space-age decorations and build materials, and the fact that several components came in a free patch makes this all more appealing and pleasing.
- Sims - 5/10
The Sims don't really live up to their community's neat backstory. There's a lot of charming flavour text, but all the Sims are very pudding-faced and their costuming - intended to match the architecture - hits an off note.
- Playability - 8/10
Routing is good in Lunar Lakes, despite it featuring a "long handle-like routable area that forces Sims to go around large parts of the world", something that EA engineers have warned us can hurt performance. I've had no problems with this world, although it has danger spots that could potentially cause issues - several large holes in the routing paint on the mountains. A smattering of players may see stuttering and freezes as a result.
- Flavour Texts - 9/10
Pretty great, really, and buoyed by the uniqueness of the theme.
Download & Links
- Lunar Lakes at the official Sims 3 Store