EA Games‘ “The Sims 3” video game continues to be widely popular, and the ‘Barnacle Bay’ mini-expansion in the official store is further proof of the constant demands by players for new, original content. I purchased and installed a copy of the new world, and played around in this coastal area full of pirate and seafarer themes.
Unlike in the “Sims 2” series, the “Sims 3” video game doesn’t allow users to create new worlds; players are limited to the default world, a free downloadable second world from the EA Games store, plus the new areas added in full expansions. “Barnacle Bay” is the first “Sims 3” world available for purchase independently, and it comes with a steep 1650 SimPoints price tag-$16.50 in actual currency. I was able to use some of my bonus SimsPoints accumulated with the purchase of the “World Adventures” and “Ambitions” expansions; unfortunately, I bought a digital copy of the latest release, “Late Night,” which came with bonus items instead of 1,000 SimsPoints.
As a fan of Pirate themes-and the owner of a ridiculous amount of Pirate-oriented items downloaded for the “Sims 2” from TheSimsResource custom content site–I admit I was pretty excited when EA Games announced the “Barnacle Bay” min-expansion. I say ‘mini-expansion’ due to the large amount of included content listed on the store page; the description promises “Enjoy 18 all-new exclusive objects and clothing only available in Barnacle Bay,” plus new community lots, Sims characters and clothing options. That’s quite a boat-load of new content, compared to the other “sets” offered in the “Sims 3” store.
Unfortunately, having installed “Barnacle Bay” and tested the content, I am wholly unimpressed with this mini-expansion for the “Sims 3.” While the content is clever and creative, the world itself is rather ordinary; the coastal line is attractive, but the community lots-which are key in the “Sims 3” video game, unlike in the “Sims 2” set-are very spread out making a lot of travel time. Plus, “Barnacle Bay” was released less than two months prior to “The Sims 3: Late Night” hitting shelves, yet this world leaves very little room for players to add a downtown area. Still, having an extra world does come in handy, especially with so few to choose from. But the $16.50 price tag-nearly half the cost of a true expansion-left a sour taste in my mouth after play-testing the amount of new content.
It is cute, especially for fans of Pirate and seafarer themes, but I felt that a 1,000 SimsPoint price tag would have been much fairer; many of the new items are very close to custom content users could purchase on TheSimsResource for much, much cheaper-a monthly fee gets you unlimited downloads, after all. But, official EA Games content is more secure and reliable, so I acknowledge that not all “Sims 3” fans are keen for non-Maxis creations. But really, having spent a few hours in the coastal world of “Barnacle Bay,” I was eager to return to the shiny new novelty of the “Late Night” neighborhood-and I question how quickly I’d have returned to my other worlds, if “Late Night” wasn’t already installed on my PC. You can read my full review of “The Sims 3: Late Night” expansion here.
If your priority in purchasing “Barnacle Bay” is an additional world, you won’t be disappointed-it does deliver that. But if you are looking for a tremendous amount of exciting new content, best to pick up “Late Night” or wait for the next full expansion-or hope for a sale on “Barnacle Bay” in the EA Games store in the near future!
EA Press, “Barnacle Bay” (screen shots)
EA Store, “The Sims 3 – Barnacle Bay”