DISCLAIMER: I totally forgot about the Northern Lights! I will add them whenever I get the chance.
I'll add screenshots of that later.
AznSensei here reviewing the recent release of the newest world by The Sims 3 Store: Aurora Skies.
Also, here are the two collection folders for the Learning Center and the World:
Learning Center: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?hncr4hqxhu8y599
Part One: The World
For some who may not know what this world is, it's more of a world that is based off of Iceland or any northern country. If one googles "Iceland homes" or something along the lines, you will see colorful homes and roofs, which is what this world looks like.
While some people may refer to it as "Lego Houses" or the homes in the game: Monopoly. In actuality, it is what the homes of Iceland look like, so I hope this brings some new cultural perspectives to simmers who never looked into Iceland before.
First off, this world has two versions: The Standard Edition and the Gold Edition. The Standard Edition is just the world, which is 2450 Simpoints, while the Gold Edition is on sale for 3900/4350 and includes the Tiny Prodigies Early Learning Center.
I want to emphasis that throughout this guide, the venue is NOT actually part of the world and that the Early Learning Center is extra content, which will be standalone as a set in the near future. It is just an extra venue to add to ANY world for more gameplay to the world, and like all the past worlds, you do NOT need to buy the venue to enjoy the world. For players who would enjoy the world as a whole, you can just buy the Standard Edition. However, because of the craze of simmers wanting brand new toddler content, the venue is a definite plus and recommended to get the Gold Edition, should you desire both the world and venue.
The main drawback is that the venue is only sold via the Gold Edition, meaning players will not be able to get the venue at any time in the future, unless the Simgurus plan on releasing it like in the past with the Serenity Retreat. Unfortunately, there is no ETA when this venue is released so if you plan on getting the world and venue, I'd recommend getting the Gold Edition, even though it is a steep price.
Later on this or next week, I will be adding a Map Guide of Aurora Skies for any player who wants to know more information of this world. Until then, here are some images of the rabbitholes and areas of Aurora Skies I find enjoyable of this world:
Personally, I find the world pretty much almost realistic and close to what you see in Iceland, especially the homes. I do love the "Modern Minimalistic" feel to the world too, so it works well with the Ultra Lounge Sets, Collection Stancke, and the Mid-Century sets also. I definitely like all of the space in this world and give it a definite plus on empty lots. There are a total of 21 empty lots of various sizes.
Part Two: Featured Rabbithole
Like all other worlds, Aurora Skies features one main rabbithole that the Store Team decides to put more effort in than all of the other rabbitholes. The rabbithole building that was focused in Aurora Skies was the Cure-All Collective Hospital/Science Facility. I remember hearing one of the reasons why they chose this rabbithole was because this world was themed based off of the Geothermal Lakes, and the Science Facility would be testing the geothermal lakes and help promote an eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle to the residents.
Personally, I do like the looks of this brand new rabbithole, but like all other themed rabbitholes, this one is particular large to place in any other worlds. So it's best to just leave it in Aurora Skies, but the look of it is breathtakingly modern and I do like the new sleek look, especially the touch of the glass windows and all.
Part Three: Tiny Prodigies Early Learning Center
Included in the Gold Edition of Aurora Skies is the Tiny Prodigies Early Learning Center. This 40x40 lot includes two additional brand new premium content to the store: the Local Motion Toddler Walker and the Head Start Playpen. Please take note that this is NOT a Daycare, nor will NPC's spawn into this lot. It is just a "themed" community lot designed to accommodate the main items featured: The Premium Content and the build/buy objects that come with it.
Local Motion Toddler Walker
After that, the toddler has the option to play in the walker or to walk anywhere (faster than crawling) in the walker itself. By playing with the walker, it increases the handiness skill for the toddler, up to level 3.
Unfortunately, that is all to this walker for the toddler, so it does seem a tad disappointing with the interactions for this particular object. The "Learn to Walk" interaction will only occur if your toddler has not yet learned how to walk (of course). It is NOT the trait that affects it though. Otherwise, they can only play with it. Thankfully, I don't play the toddler life state much sooooo. Other than that, the parent who sees the toddler gain a skill will receive the "Proud Parent" moodlet.
Head Start Playpen
The Head Start Playpen is another toddler-themed object that helps a toddler gain other skills before they become a child. Again, the child has to be put in the playpen before interactions can occur, but after the child is placed, the parent can either pick up the child or play with them. By playing with the toddler, it boosts their charisma skill. After playing with the toddler, the parent gets the "Proud Parent" moodlet.
The toddler can also either Learn to Talk, which involves talking to itself in the mirror and increase their charisma skill, or Play With Abacus, which increases their logic skill.
Other than that, the playpen has more value in terms of interactions more than the walker and I like the playpen more than the walker itself.
Remaining Venue Content
Other than those two objects, there are tons of more new objects that are tied to this particular venue that can be used in any players home, especially adding more creativity to the design of your daycare! There is a lovely arch with a small gate to put your toddler sims in, almost like one of those playhouses you see at the toy store. There are also new wallpaper designs, rugs, and other objects, INCLUDING a rocking chair (which finally it was released after seeing the hint with the diaper changing station and baby monitor). Unfortunately, the rocking chair has been claimed to only work if someone owns Supernatural, so if you do not own Supernatural, this rocking chair is entirely useless. Hopefully, it will be fixed in the near future. Anyways, here are the screenshots of the remaining content. I find many of them quite adorable and a must-have to get.
Part Four: The Hot Air Balloon
Exclusive to only Aurora Skies is the Hot Air Balloon.
This Hot Air Balloon is a huge object occupying a 10x10 space of the lot. You can also initially find the Hot Air Balloon in the Perspective Place, which is in the downtown area of the world.
It can hold a maximum of two people and in order to initiate any interactions, you must send the two sims into the balloon, then take off. After that, you will have multiple options for interactions.
What you see above is the highest the balloon can go in any given lot. Sadly, it was disappointing that after seeing supposed screenshots of the balloon flying higher in the background on the site (obviously doesn't look staged whatsoever), I come to find out the balloon doesn't go higher.
The first interaction (Land) just puts the balloon back onto ground level.
The second interaction (WooHoo) initiates a woohoo between the sims if they are romantic enough to woohoo. Of course, anyone can catch them in action based on how high the balloon is. A=
The third interaction (Drink) is where one of the sims opens a bottle of champagne, pour it, and they both toast and drink, which also increases their relationship.
The fourth interaction (Sightsee) is an interaction that both will just use his binoculars and view the outside area. The sim will also gain a "Glorious View" moodlet.
The fifth interaction (Proposal) is of course proposing in the hot air balloon. After proposing, the Grand Romantic Gesture Moodlet will appear.
The final interaction (Fly to) just teleports the balloon to a designated lot your sim wants to travel to. Sadly this Hot Air Balloon isn't as all hyped up as I thought it'd be. Instead of seeing your sim fly from one lotto the other, you actually just see the hot air balloon teleport to the lot. Meaning, there is no "gameplay footage" of a sim traveling from one lot to another. It was sadly disappointing to see and I feel like they could have tried to do more with this balloon, maybe even hopefully overcoming their technical difficulties.
Another issue with the Hot Air Balloon is that it will land anywhere when there is sufficient space. Meaning the balloon will just land at a random spot on a lot and it looks really out of place. I have tried making "special" spots for the balloon to land on and I have found out the following:
1) It will not land on a platform or any spot that is higher than ground level.
2) It will still land in an off spot even if there is a spot on the ground for it.
Therefore, it just makes travel via balloon aesthetically limited and disappointing to no end. I
Anyways, I do like the interactions of this balloon, and I feel like it was lacking and more could have been done with it, including where it would land and height-wise. Other than that it was a nice object, along with the options of different designs for this balloon!
Hot Air Balloon Designs
Part Five: Build/Buy and CAS Content
Below are the pictures of the Build/Buy Objects and CAS options for Aurora Skies. For the CAS options, most of the clothing are just "other age" categories of past store content. Aka: The one with the scarf is a teen outfit in the Everyday Teens Collection, but now made for Young Adults and older, etc.
A definite plus to the clothing options in this world is that it includes ELDER clothing (well for females) also. Meaning, not only did they make clothing for the YA/Adult life stage, but they also included elder stages too. I appreciate the fact that they added something for elders once in a while now. The pigtail for the girl's hairstyle is found in a previous simpoint bundle for the Halloween holiday.
Here are the CAS pictures:
Included are a whole bunch of a decor objects, furniture, wallpapers, a BRAND NEW staircase (finally!), and also 6 BRAND NEW roof designs. See below for all the pictures of Build/Buy Content. (I did not include the rabbithole or world objects)
Part Six: Overall Review
Overall, Aurora Skies has its ups and downs, and I personally find more positives than negatives, but that's just me. I'm mostly a builder, so most of the content that is introduced in both the venue and the world itself are a definite plus to expand my building options. I do love the different types of decor they actually use, so thank you to the store team for creating some brand new build/buy objects.
Price: 3/10 - Like all other worlds, Aurora Skies is a pretty steep price with the standard being 2450 Simpoints and the Gold being 3900/4350 Simpoints. With the venue being locked to only the Gold Edition only, it does put my views on the pricing a tad bit lower than normal. While I do love the premium content in the Learning Center, it made the world worth getting to me. Although, not everyone can afford the Gold Edition, so I gave the price of this world a drop dead 3 because of that.
Theme: 8/10 - I do like the theme of this world, which is based of Scandinavia and Iceland, or any other northern countries. The Modern Minimalistic theme was used to fill this world with new homes and architecture, including brand new roof designs, makings this world "colorful" instead of a typical bland city. I find the theme refreshing and something new, especially a world not based off of somewhere in the United States. *Thumbs up*
Design: 8/10 - I love the look of all of the build/buy options the team has introduced, including a spiral staircase, which has been well over a year and a half since Generations was released. Also included is the Rocking Chair from the venue, which is normally only tied to Supernatural. I do like the new decor options, especially the shelves (which I will use quite frequently). The new roof patterns are also a nice touch, adding more flare and color to future creative designs.
Hot Air Balloon: 5/10 - This was my least favorite of all of the three premium content items. Although I do like the new interactions introduced, the main draw was the the concept of transportation. It would have been nice to just see the hot air balloon fly above the lot, and then teleport the sim to the appropriate lot. Then, the balloon would slowly land into the lot itself. Taking note, I'd rather have that than see my sim spend 3 hours trying to travel from their home to their designated lot. Also, it would be so much better than just teleporting from one lot to another.
Local Motion Toddler Walker: 6/10 - This object only serves the role of helping the toddler learn to walk, and also get some playtime interaction with the walker. It's a cute addition for toddlers, but other than that, I find it very aesthetically-pleasing rather than funcitonality.
Head Start Playpen: 8/10 - This is my FAVORITE of all of the three premium content objects introduced in the Gold Edition of Aurora Skies. Not only are there more interactions for toddlers, especially between parent and child, it also provides some cute interactions and skill boosts to a toddler's Logic and Charisma. This is my favorite and I do love using this. Sadly, I wish more than 2 toddlers can be in a playpen.
CAS Options: 4/10 - While I am glad there are two new outfits for Elder females, the men yet again were still being ignored in terms of clothing and hair. Also, most of the clothing is just remeshed clothing of other age stages, and it would have been nice to see something *NEW* rather than another option to wear certain clothing. While I do love the new hairstyles for the women, especially the little girl's hairstyle, I find the CAS options in Aurora Skies really lacking. It does look like they spent the least amount of time on it.
Overall Rating: 6/10