Like people, and Sims (including evil Sims), no game is ever all bad. Even that slipshod tie-in to the movie, The Golden Compass, had a polar bear. You could ride it. What is Showtime’s one redeeming feature? It ships with a sensationally funny stage name generator. Apple Sell Out. Fox the Resplendent. Vulgar Coterie. Baptiste the Hyperbolic. Cranstan the Flaming Minx. Iolo Levitate Things. Sinful the Zany.
Not that funny? After many hours of playing this sixth “expansion” to The Sims 3, silly names will become blessed, hysterical relief. Why is “expansion” in inverted commas? Despite the $40 price tag, it’s really more of what your Sims might call, “drab korko glay bo,” or “a big Stuff Pack.” There are new clothes, items, professions, hidden skills, traits, community lots, even a neighbourhood, none of which is actually “new” conceptually, except for SimPort, which we’ll come back to.
The three new professions are Acrobat, Magician and Singer. Unlike in Ambitions, in which professions were actually introduced, there is nothing complex, challenging or diverse about progression. Literally every level of promotion involves endlessly repeating the same three responsibilities; performing for tips, doing gigs (at inconvenient times) and one unique endeavour per profession, like performing sing-a-grams, for Singer.
Bizarrely, the Magician and Singer professions require the development of exactly no overt skills. Acrobat requires one; athletic. There are a small collection of new hidden skills, from DJ to golf, but with no bearing outside their object/activity. Given the way skills are usually integrated into all aspects of The Sims 3, it’s a little odd, frankly. Also peculiar is the way singers begin at Level One of their profession with an absolutely engaging and gorgeous voice, exactly as it will remain at Level Ten.
Although you are, ostensibly, becoming famous, you don’t have to foster or manage your fame level, actually introduced in Late Night, at all. Instead, you manage Sim performers who visit from other people’s games, via SimPort, for collectible stamps, along with other social functions like in-game messaging/overall game achievements. Oh, and micro-transactions now made more blatant. Fun? Not beyond learning new hilarious stage names. Well, unless your friends have named their Sims themselves, of course.
Nonetheless, the game may suit someone who plays a lot of Sims 3, has a lot of friends who play a lot of Sims 3, has a lot of established Sims/households he or she is very bored with, or who is prepared to jump through a lot of hoops just to unlock some themed items for a stage. Otherwise, it’s a lot of effort for little reward, pricey for barely any innovation, and a lot of sparkly fuss for something that Katy Perry may have had a hand in designing? It’s kind of hard to tell.