Hold onto your broomstick, it’s time for the The Sims 3 Supernatural! This enchanting new add-on has cast a spell on me. Not since World Adventures have I played such a thorough and game-changing Sims expansion.

Based on the Makin’ Magic add-on from the original Sims, Supernatural introduces five new Sims classes, each with their own unique abilities, traits, and interactions: Witch, Ghost, Vampire, Werewolf, and Fairy. The Witch comes with a broomstick and wand and can cast spells and raise Sims from the dead. The Fairy can emit beneficial auras, play pranks and fly. The Werewolf can scratch at the furniture, howl at the moon and hunt for items. The Vampire (expanded upon from Late Night) can intimidate and hypnotize other Sims, while the Ghost is a fully playable specter Sim.

With this expansion comes the return of alchemy, allowing Sims to craft a range of potions to assist with anything from a good night’s rest to turning another Sim into a zombie. A variety of new plants, from Glow Orb mushrooms to Wolfsbane, serve as ingredients. Bee keeping (from the original Makin’ Magic) makes a return, and Sims can use the honey for desserts or alchemy. A lunar cycle is marked on the dashboard, alerting the player to the phase of the moon, each of which affect the Sims emotionally and physically; Fairies will become depressed when the moon is new, Werewolves will automatically transform when it’s full. The full moon also turns the town into a zombie apocalypse, as undead spawn from the ground and attack uninfected Sims.

As with past add-ons, a new town with accompanying theme is included with the expansion. Players can also enjoy new recipes, songs, fish, gemstones, careers, gnomes and Lifetime Wishes and Rewards. Venues of note include the Library of Lore and Vault of Antiquity, where Sims can research magic and the occult, the Gypsy Caravan where they can get their fortune read, and Aleister’s Elixirs and Sundries, where they can buy and sell potions and ingredients.

A lot of the charm of Supernatural lies in its little details; it’s rife with references to a wide range of fantasy stories, from Snow White to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At every turn is a fun little surprise. I bought a seemingly innocuous portrait of an accused witch, only to find that it mysteriously glows during the full moon. The Peashooter, a guest from Plants Vs. Zombies, will kill attacking zombies and play a game of catch. While sleeping, the Vampire snores Vs instead of Zs.

Additional content is also available if other expansions are installed. For example, the Witch’s powers are enhanced if he or she owns a cat; teenaged (but not adult) Witches can transform.

Perhaps my favorite detail is the Magic Jelly Bean Bush, a parody on Jelly Belly Beans. Sims who eat them will suffer a range of effects, each in their own a reference to a Jelly Belly flavor: some will dye your Sim blue, burn their mouth or give them a caffeine buzz. I also like the Magic Mirror, where your Sim can practice being The Most Charismatic Of Them All, and was thrilled to see the return of Bonehilda, the skeleton maid from the original Makin’ Magic expansion.

If I had to sum up this expansion in a single word, it’d be CONTENT. There’s so much to do, it’s overwhelming. I almost feel ungrateful pointing out how weak the Ghost features are. Supernatural could stand alone as its own game.

Unfortunately, with thousands upon thousands of items and interactions, you’re bound to find glitches—and find them, I did. My first file was played pre-release and thus, many of the features were barely functional. For instance I got stuck in the full moon cycle, so my werewolf wouldn’t transform back to human form, and zombies constantly attacked my house. The animations for the alchemy table refused to display. After awhile I had to stop playing and wait for a patch. The glitches were fixed rapidly after the official release day, but a few still remain. One of my Sims earned the points and moodlet for another Sim’s completed goal. A day got skipped in the lunar cycle. Worth noting, though, is that this seems to be the least game-breaking expansion I’ve played in the history of The Sims.

Of the seven expansions that have been released for The Sims 3, Supernatural is among the best: it adds a staggering amount of new content and changes the way the entire game is played. While the last few add-ons, particularly Pets and Late Night, were a bit boring and weak, Supernatural has renewed my interest in The Sims 3. I would recommend it as the first expansion to buy for the new fan.

 

Here’s the Rundown:

+So much new content, it’s almost its own game
+The fantasy references and enchanted items are too delightful to miss
-As with any Sims expansions, there are bugs
-The Ghost class is a bit weak

 9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of the genre, a game that defines what that genre should be about. These scores are for games that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.

The Sims 3 Supernatural was developed by The Sims Studio and published by EA. It was released on September 4, 2012. A copy was provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.