Over a month after the release of the thirteenth expansion pack for the Sims 4, I can’t get enough. For someone who’s been playing God since the Sims Bustin’ Out, I’ve been on quite the ride following probably the most popular EA Games franchise.
For the past decade, dedicated simmers have been asking an awful lot of the developers, and for the most part, they’ve delivered. We waited three years for pets, four years for our Sims to have celebrity status, and nine years for the most endearing addition to the Sims 4 yet: the infant.
The best things really do take time. I pre-ordered Growing Together and patiently awaited its release date. After finally installing the expansion, I immediately dove into Create-A-Sim (CAS) and got my first glimpse of the tiny Sims.
However, once I got into the gameplay, I couldn’t believe how needy they are! During my session, I chuckled at the “First Blowout Milestone,” and gushed at the “First Bath Milestone.” But then my sim’s baby kept having blowouts every other time I let their bladder need deplete itself naturally. It was quite annoying to have to constantly bathe my infant because they seem to wear cheap diapers, but it does add a bit of realism to the game.
Caregivers have the responsibility of initiating “Tummy Time” to develop their baby’s motor skills. I haven’t had the heart to see what would happen if I don’t engage with Tummy Time, but infants are capable of automatically achieving certain milestones without help.
I also noticed smoother-looking newborns with more interactions like changing their clothing. Newborns can’t contribute much, but this small feature won me over because the puke-green onesies were getting annoying to look at. Caregivers are also able to be more affectionate toward their newborns. Instead of placing newborns down after every interaction, caretakers can hold infants close while engaging in additional exchanges. For once, the infants do not resemble lifeless blobs of oblivious pixels. This results in stronger bonds between caregivers and their offspring as they grow up.
Sims can also choose to have a “Science Baby” either with a partner or by themselves. There’s nothing inherently different about science babies other than how quickly they are added to a sim’s household. I couldn’t help but laugh at the sudden poof of confetti after my science baby was “born.” I suppose the feature is quite useful for players who don’t want to go through the hassle of playing as a moody pregnant sim.
Moving on from infants, I am pleased with the milestones, family dynamics, and social compatibility features. These added elements are a lovely touch because they allow for more imaginative storytelling, encourage unique relationships amongst sims, and so on. Sims 4 developers have also taken the game forward with more realistic and random occurrences during gameplay. From trouble on the job to friends asking for a place to crash for a few days, these actions are just another addition that continues to add realism to the game. My sims have yet to experience a layoff or a workplace rival, but burnout is something I had to fend off by forcing my sims to invest in a hobby.
I even had the pleasure of witnessing my Sim’s child lose their first tooth. To add, my Sim’s child brought home a drawing as a “keepsake” for their first day of school. How cute is that?
Teaching my child how to ride a bike? Now that was a first for me. This, along with a slew of new animations, gives my gaming sessions a wholesome vibe that encourages me to keep exploring and discover more. I feel like this expansion was made just for Sims with the Family Oriented trait. There’s so much more to do with my Sims’ offspring. Ultimately, the decisions and interactions you engage in or leave out will affect your Sim’s child in different ways as they age up.
For example, my sim’s toddler received a “Hurt” sentiment after observing her parents spending more time with their younger sibling. My toddler also received a negative moodlet after watching their parents celebrate their younger sibling’s milestone. Seeing the, “So what? I’ve been doing that forever!”, caption surprised me big time. It made me feel a little guilty as well as challenged in making sure all my sim’s children felt loved. Maybe I’m not quite ready for the 100 Baby Challenge if I can’t take care of a newborn, infant, and toddler all at once without accidentally leaving someone out.
There isn’t much I would change with this expansion. Growing Together was a huge step forward in the right direction as the Sims 5 lingers on the horizon. To be frank, there are plenty of features we are still waiting for Sims 4 developers to revive.
If it took this long for us to get our precious babies back with diaper changing stations, I’m honestly not sure what more we can expect before the final expansion for this iteration of the Sims is released, closing the Sims 4 chapter forever.
Nonetheless, Growing Together failed to disappoint. The upcoming summer packs and kits definitely have my attention.