The Sims 3 once tried to break away from the tyranny of the "normal" world with The Sims: Medieval, only to find that setting the franchise's signature gameplay in the Middle Ages sacrificed much of its creative freedom. The Sims 3: Supernatural takes you on a similarly wild ride, but it benefits from a decision to remain rooted in the world you've created for your sims over the past three years. Here, the focus is on augmenting the core experience instead of attempting to redefine it. It's an approach that largely works despite some noteworthy flaws, and almost every new feature exudes a creative spark. There's a stranger lurking in the neighborhood, and while he may not always be the most charming of visitors, you should still invite him into your home.
Those noises under the bed weren't just your child's imagination.
The neighborhood in question is Moonlight Falls, a bosky mountainous village where vampires and werewolves rub shoulders much as they would in an episode of True Blood. It's not necessary to limit your experiments to the new ghouls and goblins in Moonlight Falls if you have busier households elsewhere, but the foggy meadows and varied Victorian architecture complement the ambiance of the expansion as a whole. The new lots are particularly nice, such as a supernatural hangout with monster-themed games and an elixir consignment shop, and it's fun to try out the new broomstick-riding skills at the riding course. Elsewhere, Supernatural excels in the little details, such as being able to creep out loved ones by telling them you watch them while they're sleeping, and the way fairies can die like moths if they get too close to a lamp.
The Sims 3 isn't exactly a stranger to spooky stuff--we first saw vampires in the Late Night expansion, for instance, and ghosts have been around since the beginning--but Supernatural allows for greater freedom with the concepts by stripping away a lot of the requirements that once accompanied them. Instead of waiting for a sim to die to make a ghost or get gnawed on to produce a vampire, you can fill your household with vampires and ghosts straight from the create-a-sim screen, along with other options such as fairies, werewolves, witches, and zombies. Even better, the create-a-sim interface now benefits from almost limitless color selections and a wide range of clothing and hairstyle options to complement your imagination.
Take that, Harry Potter!
The new additions enhance the Sims experience as a whole, to the point that your more realistic sims may seem outdated and mundane after a few hours with Supernatural. To count but a few of the new abilities, fairies can fly about and bless other sims with auras that calm or grant boosts to skills; witches can conjure valuable items with enough practice and dish out hexes and fire and frost spells; and werewolves can travel in packs and (much like dogs in the Pets expansion) can hunt down expensive hidden items. The only issue with the latter--apart from their annoying tendency to scratch up the furniture--is that their transformations get to be a pain, particularly since they abandon any activities in the queue they were doing the moment they feel the tug of the full moon.