The downloadable world of Aurora Skies for The Sims 3 is set in a Nordic-inspired landscape that features scenic waterfalls, geo-thermal lakes, brightly-colored buildings, and most noticeable, nighttime skies that resemble the aurora borealis or northern lights. New to the world of Sims games is the introduction of hot air balloons in Aurora Skies, which serve as an alternative mean of traversing through town.
The landscape of Aurora Skies is quite a contrast from past Sims worlds in that everything from the ground to houses share a bold color contrast. The majority of the land available to players is located within a flat valley that's surrounded by coastlines. The centerpiece landmark that separates the town from open land is a series of large geo-thermal lakes, which are complete with waterfalls and dense fog that hovers above the water. While the landscape's hues, geo-thermal lakes, and waterfalls all make for a pleasant experience, it always felt that the world was flat no matter which house was selected. The overall flat nature of the landscape resulted in less-than-stellar vistas when playing within the city.
As the world's title mentions, the skies at night will randomly transform into the northern lights creating for a spectacular scene. The Sims 3 Seasons expansion pack is recommended with this world as both the added weather and season types result in truly an unique atmospheric experience. The only downside with the northern lights is that they're simply a new sky texture, which might be a limitation of the aging engine, but still a disappointment none-the-less. As most Sims likely sleep through the night using the game's ultra-speed toggle, the northern lights are more a minor detail than anything else.
The other major component of Aurora Skies, or as the promotion material would have individuals believe, is the addition of hot air balloons. The hot hair balloon functions solely as an individual lot object, which doesn't actually allow Sims to use them to float about the general world. The transportation aspect of the hot hair balloon instantly transports the player and the object itself to the lot of their choosing with the actual process replaced by a loading screen. There are other uses of the hot hair balloon from sightseeing or drinking champagne with another Sim, but unfortunately none of them justify the object's real estate it requires when placed on a lot.
In addition to the standard version of Aurora Skies is a gold version that includes the Tiny Prodigies Early Learning Center venue, which is complete with a playpen and walker for toddler Sims. Both of the added toddler objects make the experience of raising toddler Sims an overall less stressful and more enjoyable experience. For those individuals that lack any interest for toddler Sims can skip the gold version as nearly all of the objects are focused on toddlers. While some of the added objects like new shelves and rugs work well in any house, they don't solely justify the gold version's price.
The standard version of Aurora Skies is recommended to those simply interested in a new world that offers a contrast from previous downloadable content, while the gold version is better suggested to individuals seeking new activities and objects for toddler Sims. Ultimately, the world of Aurora Skies and its various included objects such as the hot air balloon are lacking in quality when compared to past downloadable content.
The Sims 3 Aurora Skies is available now on The Sims 3 Store in both standard and gold versions.
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