Magic has been a staple element of The Sims franchise from the beginning. Sure, maybe it’s not as ubiquitous as aliens or robots, but every new incarnation of the series has included a pack with a strong magic focus. Even if it's usually introduced as one of the later if not last, expansion packs in the generation. The original The Sims had Makin’ Magic and The Sims 2 had Apartment Life, both as the last expansion packs released respectively. Then, The Sims 3 had Supernatural, as well as a few smaller packs focused on magic themes, like Dragon Valley. So now, what’s in store for The Sims 4 and the newly released game pack Realm of Magic? Let’s take a walk.
Realm of Magic very clearly takes heavy inspiration from the Harry Potter franchise. The fact that it fits so well makes you wonder why it took this long for the two to "crossover." Your Sim can journey to the titular Realm of Magic in order to gain powers, and study up spells in Untamed, Practical and Mischief magics – or all three! The magic mechanics are simple, easy to get the hang of, and fun. The fact that you’re not forced to pick just one type of magic is probably the best part. Not taking too much inspiration, this doesn't take place at a magic school but what appears to be a magical community center. The only difference is that there's cauldrons instead of ping pong tables and dueling instead of Thursday night Bingo.
The Sims 4 And the Realm of Magic (And Possibilities)
The magic realm itself, not to mention the overall aesthetic of the additional décor, hair, and clothes included in the pack, is absolutely gorgeous. While there’s a strong influence from Harry Potter, there’s also a splash of punk-rock The Craft vibes going on, as well as Hollywood medieval Merlin and his ancient alchemy called into play with the potion-making in particular. Punk meets swords and sorcery via hairstyles and outfits that look like they should be in an Ozzy Osbourne music video. There are also silvery magic mirrors on the walls and convenient cauldrons for at-home potion-making.
The Sims 4: Realm of Magic is the newest game pack. For the uninitiated, that’s a pack smaller than an expansion pack but larger than a stuff pack. While the pack has two new worlds, a decent amount of new furniture, clothes and assorted aesthetic changes for your Sim, not to mention adding the ability to do magic and alchemy, its status as a game pack limits it severely. There’s more than enough potential and ideas here for a full-blow expansion pack. Many of these ideas would support significant expansion, and the worlds of Glimmerbrook and the Magic Realm could both stand to be much larger than they are. Glimmerbrook, for one, is far smaller than Strangerville from the eponymous game pack from earlier this year.
The Sims 4 and the Order of Fun
Overall, its own limitations are the greatest downside to Realm of Magic. It’s true that bigger isn’t always better. However, in this case, this smaller experience feels cut off at the knees. The realm itself splits into four smaller pieces, rather than being one big open world. The inability to let your Sims actually live there rather than commuting from Glimmerbrook puts a dampener on the atmosphere.
Realm of Magic is by far the most fun I’ve had with a Sims 4 pack of any kind since the original. It brings back familiar concepts from previous generations of the franchise while still doing its own thing. The pack’s aesthetic and the new worlds it adds are fun and charming, and the new locations are fun to play with. The lack of depth to the pack is disappointing. It will ultimately hinder its replayability, but there's more than enough to keep you occupied and having a blast until the next expansion releases.
TechRaptor reviewed The Sims 4: Realm of Magic on PC via Origin using a copy provided by the publisher. The game will also be available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.