Game review: The Sims Bustin' Out (GBA)

"Oooh... you're naughty, aren't you?"

Written by ritabuuk and dubiousdisc
Posted on January 31st 2018
Tagged as:
Bustin' Right Out of the Box

The Sims: Bustin' Out is The Sims for the Game Boy Advance -- or, rather, it is two completely different games, one version on consoles and the other version on the Game Boy Advance. Both games share the same name and some of the same characters and ideas, but are otherwise completely different games. It sounds like the development of this game was split to hell, with one original concept of a game eventually made into four completely different games by like four teams, and just, it's a mess that we are going to just sum up as: EA Games and their abusive relationship with Maxis (RIP).

In any case, here, we are talking about the game for Game Boy Advance. Now, you may be wondering how there is The Sims on the Game Boy Advance of all things. The answer is: strangely, and differently. In The Sims on the PC (and we're talking about the first one, since it was the only one at the time), you create your character, build a house, then press play and have all sorts of wacky adventures with your character in the house, possibly including getting married, having children, and removing ladders from pools. In The Sims: Bustin' Out, instead, there is no building mode at all. Rather, you decorate certain houses that you move into along a fixed plot. The main attraction is interacting with the characters in town, which happens by choosing dialogue options and getting their responses. And, excitingly, you do so outside your house, hence the "Bustin' Out". This makes Bustin' Out the first Sims game with a world that you can visit beyond your house - making it more similar to later installments of The Sims series. It's also the first game of The Sims series where you directly control a single Sim character, rather than being a god over your household.

If we had to compare Bustin' Out to a non-Sim game, we'd say it's also a lot like Animal Crossing. In fact, pretty much exactly like Animal Crossing concept-wise. You come into town, you obtain a house, you decorate your house, and there are characters to talk to. Except in Bustin' Out there is 100% less emphasis on mortgage, the cast of characters is static and won't change on you, and the target audience is not children, but rather filthy kinksters. Because this game is full of filthy, kinky dialogue. And, as filthy kinksters, that's why we're here to talk about it.

Rosy first played this game with a friend when she was thirteen, and when she was just starting to blossom into her filthy, kinky self. She recalls that the two of them found the dialogue hilarious, and how they were dating the entire town.

Fifteen years later, Rosy suddenly thought of this game, and checked the beginning to see if it was as good as she remembered. Replaying this as an adult, Rosy can say that it wasn't just because she was thirteen that she liked this game at the time. It's actually genuinely good, and now she can marvel at just how such filthy, kinky dialogue got past the censors, somehow.

Rosy told Denise that we should play it, because the writing is amazing. But even with Rosy's introduction, Denise was unprepared for just how amazing the writing of this game is.

One of the first tasks of the game is delivering a giant chicken sculpture to the local cop, Detective Dan D. Mann. After you deliver the chicken, you can then continue talking with him, and the top dialogue option in our case was... "If I do something naughty, will you use your handcuffs?". Lord. Wow. What the fuck? :D

Player: That black leather of yours makes me wild.<br />Giuseppi: Oooh... you're naughty, aren't you?

We also complimented the leather jacket of Giuseppi, a shady character at the back of the local dive bar. He flashes us an open-mouth grin and says, "Oooh... you're naughty, aren't you?". Yes, yes we are!

We then meet a character named Daschell Swank, and one of our immediate dialogue options was, "I've never kissed a Daschell before. Have you ever kissed a Lucy before?" - Lucy being the name of our Sim. Just. Can you imagine walking up to someone and just saying that? That's amazing.

Basically, this game is the dating sim of our dreams that we didn't know that we wanted. Emphasis on Sim.

We mean, look at any of these guys' face portraits.

The Male Cast
They're not exactly ✨attractive✨
Dialog Option: I know a potato with more charm than you.
And a prettier face.

Even Duane Doldrum, who won Mr. SimValley 1999 (lol) and is apparently the most attractive guy in town still, well... a potato with hair.

But, because they all have well-written dialogue, well-established character, and lots of things to say (more dialogue is added as you progress through the game, helping it stay fresh)... we actually do like these characters.

The plot

But first, let's talk about the premise of this game. You arrive at SimValley to spend the summer with your Uncle Hayseed, who has you clean the junk out of his backyard, repair it, and use it as your furniture in the barn... and you mow his lawn to pay the rent. This makes Uncle Hayseed sound terrible, but he's actually nice and we like him. He just doesn't want to have to share the shower, and... while it is the barn, it's still nice that he gives you basically an entire apartment to yourself.

A roadblock of motorcycles!
Psyducks on Motorcycles!

After some tasks, you end up becoming friends with Dusty Hogg. He gets his biker friends to stop blocking the road with their motorcycles, and he gives you his training scooter to putter around the newly opened part of town. And he sets you up with a job as a bartender at the local dive bar. Sweet.

Uncle Hayseed is aware that your lodging in the barn isn't really acceptable, so he later helps you move into the Clocktower. He tells you to hire Giuseppi as your mover, because he owns the only crate in town, apparently. And probably because he's got a van that is just the right size to carry furniture -- both yours and someone else's...

Later on, we end up doing a favor for the owner of the local souvenir store, Nicki Knack, by renting her vacant beachfront condo. And later later on, we move even further up into a big mansion.

So, this game is about moving up in society and has some subtle commentary on how much you have to compromise your integrity to do so!

Our first friendships

Player: Did you hear the news? Your bike is a classic now! Dusty: Cheers to that!
*clinks root beer mugs*

One of the first tasks of the game is to become friends with Dusty Hogg. We liked him as a character, and he is relatively easy to get along with. He likes jokes, and recounting of daring-do, and confidence, and sticking it to the man! We became friends very quickly, and we helped him with a few things, and he helped us in return.

Player: You dress well - cool casual, I'd say. Giuseppi: Hey man, that means a lot to me. I mean it.

We also became friends with Giuseppi, which is not plot-mandated, but you are required to interact with him whenever you are moving, so you will definitely meet him. As you can tell, we liked him, and so we talked with him enough to become friends with him too. There's even great benefits to being on his good side. He's a thief... and he's less likely to rob you if you are friends enough. It's also good to know where to find him, because at night he sells goods at prices that... are a steal. When you talk with him, he likes rumors and talking about his van. And when you compliment him, his response is very ...honest, hilariously enough. He says things like, "Hey man, that means a lot to me. I mean it." Aw, just, he may be a thief, and he may be up for a fuck in the back of his van, but that doesn't make him a disgusting human being.

So, the first two relationships we forged upon arriving to SimValley for the summer were with a rough-and-tumble biker and a dirty thief. Mother would be proud.

Whoring around

So, it wasn't long before we were sharing root beer floats and bear hugs with Dusty Hogg, playing doctor with (Doctor) Maximillian Moore, providing, shall we say, artistic inspiration to Daschell Swank, and flirting with danger enough to make out with Giuseppi Mezzoalto in the back of his sketchy van.

The best thing is, there is no jealousy.

Okay, so, we also play a lot of The Sims 3. Among the other things, we have created the entire cast of Rosy's comic, The Gifts of Darkness, to watch interact and have them do things. Unfortunately, the jealousy mechanic of The Sims 3 really breaks their canon interactions, and it hinders our enjoyment of this experience. Without spoiling too much of The Gifts of Darkness, here are the problems we face.


We gave Adrien's Sim the Flirty character trait, which means he's perfectly okay with, and in fact prone to, cracking risque jokes. Yes, good, that's in-character. Also, during the course of the game, he earned the Eye Candy perk because, well, look at him, he's gorgeous. However, now he can't as much as turn around without someone getting a crush on him. It's gotten to the point where characters across town might suddenly fall in love with him. We think this might be a bug, but sometimes, in the middle of the night, Random McNPC will suddenly notify us that he wants to get to know Adrien better... creepy...

Creepiness aside, the jealousy problem is, if Adrien flirts with any character, or if any character hits on him, everyone else gets pissed off. What! That's not canonically how it would go, and now Adrien is like a walking time bomb for jealous rage in all directions. Any time he interacts with any random Sim, we have to watch Adrien like a hawk to stop him mid-flirtatious joke - like the voice of his conscience booming in his ear. And that's when we're playing as his household. Whenever we swap household to play with someone else, he's on his own... and when we come back, we find that he's destroyed all his relationships and we need to patch them up again before we can resume regular playing.

The first 100 hours of our game were spent getting every character the No Jealousy and the Above Reproach perks to attempt to get this in check. Theoretically, No Jealousy should make it so that no one will get jealous if the Sim has a romantic interaction with someone else. However, it's kinda broken, because the notoriety system still gives them a "cheater" reputation, which then makes everyone pissed off. So, you also need the Above Reproach perk, which makes it so that other Sims don't react if your character behaves "inappropriately" in public (being "inappropriate" apparently includes just plain old flirting in public). In a few cases, we also needed to use the Clean Slate perk to reset our Sim's reputation. These perks helped matters, but they only partially work, and they don't really fix the entire problem. :/


Then, we also have problems with Val. Val canonically once had some kind of relationship with another character. We played a bit of the Sims game as if it was the past, and we had Val and this other character interact - and yeah, they kissed. Now, there's forever this option to Break Up with this character from the past, and to Admit to Cheating to characters in the future. It's been months and years of game time, hours and hours of gameplay, and that kiss doesn't become any less relevant or damning. What, it's not like in real life, if you kissed someone as a teenager, that you must go find them ten years later and formally break up with them in order to not be considered a cheater on your current relationship. They weren't dating or going steady or anything! They just had some romantic interactions, and now they're so legally bound?? This kind of morality goes beyond being prudish, this has nothing to do with fidelity, this is just absurd.

Before you say just to have the characters break up, know that breaking up is classed as a "Mean" interaction, and the character will be pissed off for days -- for being told, "hey, that kiss we shared ten years ago is not going anywhere further and I am married to someone else now". Yikes. It's more realistic for us to just ignore those options in the menu and carry on as if they weren't there.

Cyrus and Martin
Cyrus and Martin

Then, Cyrus and Martin are canonically polyamorous. You can just imagine the hell this plays with such a beyond-prudish notoriety system.

So this all to say, we've had our runs with jealousy in The Sims and how much it can fuck up a game. Bustin' Out (which, by the way, came out way before) doesn't have any of these problems! Yay! Very refreshing.

Player: How about you study my form? Daschell: Hey! Stop being so filthy provocative.
We've totally adopted this as one of our new favorite phrases.

Besides, it makes perfect sense that there is no jealousy in Bustin' Out. We mean really, is Daschell Swank really going to complain if he's not the first person you've ever kissed? He's obviously not a virginal virgin. In fact, when you say something subtly dirty to him, like, "How about you study my form?", he replies, "Stop being so filthy provocative," said with such a smile that it's indeed flirting back (and his relationship meter goes up, revealing that he likes it). And what, after your impromptu kiss with him, what is he going to do if you later kiss Dusty Hogg? Is he, skinny little art professor, going to confront Dusty Hogg, a giant biker built like a giant biker? Or is he going to give any lip to Giuseppi Mezzoalto, who might guillotine him in his sleep and make off with his art collection?

The only negative we can say is the enforced heteronormativity. As the female player character, you can request a kiss from every man, even your uncle (eek!), but you can't so much as flirt with a woman. The male player character has the opposite predicament.

We can't be too mad at this game for this, because this was before The Sims 2, which famously is like the first game ever for the gays. It was groundbreaking and earth-shattering at the time for it to just have formally recognized unions for homosexual characters in the game, and for it to have these relationships just happen, and for this just to be there, and possible, and accepted, and all is good. This sort of feature was unheard of before The Sims 2. You might have a game with a gay-coded character as a joke, or something, but by the time of The Sims 3, the Sims had complete, wonderful, peaceful marriage equality, present in a video game before there even was marriage equality in the country where the game was developed. We have The Sims games to thank for us even thinking that it is a shame that we can't be bisexual in The Sims: Bustin' Out, because before The Sims 2, it would be beyond our imagination to even expect to see something like that in a AAA game. So, overall, thank you, Maxis, and we understand if you were still fighting that battle (with EA) while The Sims: Bustin' Out was being made. We can just be happy at the arm-twisting you must have done to get so much kink included in this game.

We played as the female character, and we were extra glad that we did, because the male characters that you can date are highly interesting, and you can have intense kinky flirting with them. There's the cop, and the doctor, and the thief, and the biker, and the art teacher, and the paperboy... But we wondered if it would be as interesting if you could only date the female characters, who are unfortunately fewer in number and not quite as varied. Most interesting is probably Vera Vex, the rockstar. But apart from her, there's the poet, and the librarian, and the politician, and the party girl... They're generally more vanilla and normal than dating the cop, the doctor, the thief, and the biker. So we started playing as the male character, and we'll see.

Yet it definitely is a different experience. For comparison, as the female character, within the first few minutes of play, we encountered references to handcuffs, leather, and bear hugs. Starting up a new game as the male character... there's not so much kink. Besides, there's fewer female characters, and you get to meet even fewer of them at the very beginning, so the flirting aspect of the game is a bit less advertised when playing as a male character. Moral: play as a female character.

But, anyway, except for the limitation of compulsory heterosexuality, we are otherwise free to be the town whore for the summer. Whooray!

The minigames

Seriously though, you're not really a whore, because you don't make money at that. The primary way to make money in this game is to work eight jobs. Seriously, that's literally how you do it. Throughout the course of the game, you unlock these minigames that you can play if you go to the right place at the right time.

Riding the tractor dangerously close to the petunias.
Watch out for the petunias!

The first one you gain access to is the lawnmower game, in which you're driving your uncle's tractor and mowing the grass while attempting to avoid the flowers. You earn money per clump of weeds mowed, and lose money per lovely flowerbush shredded away. Simple, but okay. It was fun, and it introduced how to steer a vehicle, which later will become essential once you get the scooter, which pilots exactly the same. From a game design perspective, it's brilliant. It lets you get over the initial frustration of learning a new control scheme in a silly game scenario in which you're even making money, and then, later, when you get the scooter, you don't have to learn, because you already have learned. Which means you are less likely to not get it, and ignore the scooter and run everywhere (which, as Dusty Hogg points out, is simply unfeasible).

Later, you unlock more different kind of games, which you can access at different times of the day and night, so, no matter what time it is, there's always something to do. Some of these minigames are actually pretty in-depth, and even require some strategery.

The bartending job
(Chorus of belches)

Soon, Dusty Hogg sets you up with the bartending gig, and you must serve the whole gang of rowdy bikers their root beer, soft drinks, and sundaes (teehee). But you can't just hand them the drink, no way! You have to do the cool bartender thing of sliding the drink down the length of the wet bar, so that it comes to rest on their coaster. Niiice. The bikers signal their order with the symbol on their coaster, and you aim and decide how powerfully to slide, and let the drink go bouncing down the bar and hopefully have it land close enough to the right coaster to get a tip (and without crashing into the wall at the end). If you have the wrong order stop in front of the wrong biker, sometimes they'll be a good sport and enjoy the wrong-soft-drink anyway. Other times, they'll smash the wrong-soft-drink and once again demand their proper sundae, with the little umbrella and the nuts on top, grr! The mental image this creates is hilarious. Initially, you will be making way less money at this game than at the lawn mowing, but we enjoyed it more because it required a bit more thinking and planning than just crashing through all the plants with the mower and whoops, there go the petunias.

It's also a good thing that these minigames are unlocked progressively through the course of the game. This means that throughout the plot, there will keep being a new game to try, and not that you keep playing the same 8 mini-games over and over from the beginning of the game.

You also can level up at the games, which can add some new twists to the game play and lets you earn more money.

En garde!

The best example for talking about the mini-game levels is with the fishing mini-game. This is another strategery-based one, in which you are given three different types of lures, which can catch fish at three different depths. You aim just like in the bartending game, and determine the strength of your cast just like the strength of slinging a rootbeer down the bar. The main mechanic of this game is to determine which is the best fish to aim for, since you can see their silhouettes and guess which one is the biggest -- and the bigger catches earn you more money. This is not as easy as it sounds, since the deeper fish might be larger than they appear, and the shallower fish might be smaller than they appear -- tricks of the perspective. Also, if you are aiming for a big fish that is right next to a small fish, the small fish can move faster and might get the lure before the big fish, and so you are stuck catching just the small fry. And if you are aiming a large but far away fish, you need to account that it will be harder to reel in successfully. This is how the game basically works. But then it levels.

In the beginning, there are only small fry. Later you will unlock a bigger fish (a bass?) which is worth more. Later on, you will unlock swordfish, which are huge and they stab up toward you as you attempt to reel them in, yikes! But then... you unlock... Great White Sharks. They are not only sharks, but get a unique soundtrack, which is as close as you can legally get without being sued by Jaws. Yes, excellent! So not only is there the entire game with the in-depth set-up, but you are also rewarded with more and cooler fish to catch and even new music. Nice!

Great White Shark
Dun dun dun dun dun...
What in the name of pepperoni is going on here.

The variety of minigames is pretty good. There's even a Game-Boy-Advance-appropriate version of Guitar Hero, a puzzle game of popping matched-colored microbes, a diving game, and a very challenging pizza-building Breakout of whatever the hell is going on in that pizzeria. As a certified Italian, Rosy can testify that making pizza from scratch, as she does, is easier than playing this minigame. We're not even sure what other toppings can be unlocked, since we only got to the mushrooms! It's hard!

It's nice that this minigame also provides insight into all the characters, because absolutely no one in SimValley will tolerate anchovies on a pizza, not even Olde Salty or the fisherman O. Phil McClean -- we guess they like fish, but absolutely not on pizza. Good to know!

There's also a weight-lifting minigame, that we don't like, because we're not good at it.


The cat, pissing
The cat pissing on the floor as we eat over the stove like animals

Another thing you can do in this game is adopt pets. Unlike The Sims for the PC, which have the entire mess of the expansions, features being removed from the main game and put as expansions, and by now you can't even turn on the game without getting bombarded with ads... Bustin' Out features pets, directly in it, without anything extra needed for it. You just go to the pet store, and you can get a dog, a cat, and even a miniature llama. So, seeing that, we did the obvious thing and bought a cat. We brought our new cat to the clocktower, where it lived and pissed. Pissed everywhere. We thought that we needed a litterbox or something, but no, there's no litterbox, so your cat has to piss all over the floor. And you have to clean after it.

We accepted that, because the cat was just so dang cute that we would let him piss on our head. But then, we moved to the waterfront villa, and we started to have problems. While the clocktower apartment is up a story, the waterfront villa is on the ground floor, and has a backyard. While you are inside the villa, you can see a little of the backyard, but what you see is not the actual backyard that you'd see if you walk outside, but a sort of inaccessible limbo backyard, which exists for cosmetic reasons. However, as we all know, cats are able to wander into limbo. So our cat would go into this unreachable area, and piss all over. This would be exactly what we'd want in real life. Yes, go piss outside, kitty. But, in this game, you must clean after it. That puddle is staying until you clean it, and it's going to make your surroundings nastier. Eventually, the situation got so out of hand that, when we'd be home and on the ground floor, our homeliness meter would go down rather than up. We'd rather be anywhere else than there, surrounded by limbo cat piss.

We ended up calling a maid, who has the power to travel into limbo and to mop the grass, somehow. We then had to wait for the cat to wander back into the house, and catch it. At that point, it was clear that this arrangement wasn't going to work, and regrettably, brought the cat back to the store. Sorry, kitty, but we don't have the power to go to limbo or to mop the grass, so, good luck. We'll miss you. That was disappointing.

The things we have to do to get ahead

Later in the game, if you want to get ahead, you have to get on the good side of some less savory characters (as ridiculous as that sounds, us being friends with bikers and thieves).

Player: Anything worth more than 10,000 Simoleons looks good on you. Daddy: An unsolicited compliment from a penniless child! Wonderful, just wonderful!
How low do we have to go...

SimValley's resident bajillionaire is the so-called Daddy Bigbucks. And yep, he goes by Daddy. Yep. Good Lord. When he's not too busy tanning on Paradise Island (which is inaccessible in the single player game), he may deign to visit the overpriced furniture outlet (Cheatum & Howe) and the Polka Club. If you want to finish the game, you have to schmooze him enough to get him to award you a science grant. God, too real.

The only dialogue options that he will react positively to are: praise and out-of-context apologies. He doesn't like rumors, he doesn't like jokes, he doesn't like hearing about you or your life. You just have to tell him how great he is and how small you are, and that is the only way he will like you. He is revolting.

Note that, we did become friends with Dusty and Giuseppi. We could say pretty much anything that wasn't rude, and they would respond reasonably. They both clearly cared about our wellbeing and that we were moving up in the world (possibly with some selfish motives in one case but...) and it just felt... like a friendship.

But we are not friends with Daddy Bigbucks, and he is not friends with us. When we finally get to the point where we can casually ask him for a grant, he doesn't even know what our name is to write on the check.

Trouble with guillotines

Continuing on the theme of what we have to do to move up in the world... (Click to reveal spoilers)

We are asked to recover Vera Vex's stolen guitar. She says Giuseppi stole it, and she wants our help to catch him in the act and end his crime spree once and for all!

In our case, when we move to the mansion, Giuseppi of course noticed, and asked how are we able to afford this. As much as we like him, we know better than to tell him outright things like our salary, so we downplayed our answer -- besides, we are indeed working like 8 jobs, it's not like we are just casually loaded. He took our vague answer to mean that the money must come from our Uncle Hayseed.

Next time that we go to visit Uncle Hayseed, a grim scene awaits us. We find Uncle tied up in a chair, Giuseppi making off with everything, even the toilet, and... a guillotine set up in the bathroom. He's bringing Uncle Hayseed to the guillotine. Uncle Hayseed is screaming. We startle Giuseppi with a flash from our camera, and the police come to take him away.

Giuseppi in jail
We're sorry...

For the rest of the game, Giuseppi is in jail. We can't even visit him. Or, maybe we could, but he doesn't want to come close enough to the bars to talk with us. Maybe he feels that betrayed.

When we saw this questline coming, we first of all had no idea that it would go so grim as attempted decapitation. We were expecting to follow Giuseppi through the sewer, catch him in the act of stealing a couch or something, and get him to give the guitar back and that's it. Or, if he did go to jail, that he would get out eventually, or maybe we could get him out of jail, as a sort of double-agent sort of quest. We were expecting maybe needing to post bail for him, or to sneak him a crowbar hidden inside the Jailhouse Teddybear which is for sale in the junk store. Or maybe to break in through the sewers to free him.

But no. He's in jail the rest of the game, and for us, we can't even talk to him ever again.

Meanwhile, we are licking Daddy's Bigbucks to get ahead. What have we done?

Giuseppi by the van
We miss you!

To be honest, it is good that sending Giuseppi to jail happens so close to the end of the game because, once he is gone, it feels like a major part of the town's soul is missing. There's no more sneaky Giuseppi creeping around, there's no more cutthroat deals, and there's no more banging on the van. :(

It is also good that he ended up getting locked up forever in jail for something as major as attempted decapitation, and not just stealing a couch.

But really, is attempted decapitation something that Giuseppi would really do? Why would he escalate his crimes so much? He's a petty thief, and a salesman, and he even does some honest work as a mover, and we saw him making purchases at the auction once, so maybe some of his goods are indeed honestly purchased at a good price, and not just stolen out of a house.

We mean, his moving business might be just a cover that lets him scope out your belongings so he can know what he wants to steal. We did have a bit of a problem with him early in the game. Right after we moved into the Clocktower, we stepped outside for one moment, and came back, and the bed was gone. We had to rush to the store to buy the cheapest couch so that we would have something to sleep on. We were stuck sleeping on the couch for days while we saved up our earnings at the bar to be able to buy a new bed... and then he stole the couch! We got a new couch to find that he had stolen the bed again! We finally got a discount burglar alarm at the auction, and that was the end of it. But geez!

Later, we were on anal terms, so he stopped even trying to break into our house at all. He can do that for such a good friend. Besides, he's broken into us enough.

But then, after all that we shared... we lock him up in jail. :(

We guess that the developers were fully expecting us to hate him and to want him to get locked up in jail. Often, when playing other games, we complain that the characters are unwritten and unrelatable. In this case, we actually have to complain about the opposite, somehow: they failed to make us hate him by making him too likeable of a character, and now we just feel bad. (We're not actually complaining).

They should have just given us a way to get him out of jail.

Our final dating situation

All through the game, once we got to be enough friends with people, we would get the choice to ask them to move in with us. So we decided to try that. But, considering that we were dating the entire town, we needed some time to deliberate.

In case you were wondering, our first choice was to have Giuseppi come into our house (with an invitation this time), and maybe do it on our third replacement bed (since he stole the others), but we missed our chance because of the aforementioned spoilerific reasons. Anyway, it turns out that he won't ever agree to live with you, even if you ask him at 100% relationship. Although, he will appreciate that you were considering. And take a red rose if you offer it.

Our second choice was Dusty Hogg. But he's too much of a free spirit. He might also be too big for the door. He will, however, accept a Jailhouse Teddy as a Valentine's Day present.

Player: If you're doing any nude painting, I'll volunteer.
Note that in The Sims, nude painting is painting done in the nude.

So, our third choice was Daschell Swank. We worked very hard to get him to like us at all. In the beginning, he was absolutely insufferable, and nothing we said seemed to earn any points with him. In spite of him being an art professor, he didn't like talking about art. Given that our dialogue was very, uh, un-artsy ("I like all art, as long as it's realistic!"), we can understand why he would rather not have us embarrass ourselves. He also didn't care for jokes, because he heard them all before. He didn't care much for gossip, except some select gossip. So it was all uphill. After a while, he got to like us enough that we could flirt with him successfully... and from then on, we realized that he responds very positively to us being filthy provocative, so we were. And so we provided him some nude modeling.

Daschell sleeping on our couch.
Go ahead and make yourself at home.

So we asked him to come live with us, and he did. We hoped that, since the junk shop sometimes sells wedding rings, that you could marry someone, and that it would work, but this game doesn't seem to have anything beyond living with someone, and living with someone doesn't really have much of a point anyway beyond letting you find that character more easily because they'll be in your house. We gave him the wedding ring, and he just took it. It was just a gift of a ring that he took, and that had no meaning. He liked it, but didn't seem to get what we meant.

The good news is that you can invite any character to come live with you, not just male if you're female and female if you're male. But it's just a roommates situation.

The ending

After finally getting Daddy Bigbucks to fund our science experiment... (Click to reveal spoilers)

We set up a mysterious rocketship which we found in Uncle Hayseed's barn. Uncle Hayseed approaches us and tells us that he found us as a baby in his corn field in a crop circle, crash-landed in this rocketship, like Superman. He tells us we should take this opportunity to go back to space, and if we miss our chance, we will regret it. So, the whole town comes to see us off. They even temporarily let Giuseppi out of jail for the send off party. We get in the rocketship, and we blast off... but it turns around and falls right back. So we stay on SimEarth after the end of the game.

Plot twist, we were an alien all along! And it even retroactively explains why we seem to know nothing about our life before now, nor exactly how our family tree with Uncle Hayseed works -- since he's not really our uncle. And it gives a whole new meaning to that dialogue at the very beginning of the game in which we're threatening to make crop circles in his field. It all came back.

Nobody could have seen it coming.

In conclusion

Do you mind?

With regard to the style of Bustin' Out, the look of it is interesting. It's in between sprites and 3D models. Most impressively, everything animates so smoothly. The animation of sitting on the toilet is something else. And you get a better and humorous censor bar than in The Sims for the PC: rather than a TV-style pixel-blur or a black box, in Bustin' Out, you unfold and start reading a giant newspaper such that it blocks the view of your whole body.

We mentioned before that the characters are far from ✨attractive✨. This game has a sort of... ugly 3D model cartoony style, which is definitely ugly, but in an intentional way. We like it.

The soundtrack of this game is surprisingly good. In some places, it's renditions of the soundtrack from The Sims, so it is very good music again. But there is also some music that is unique for this game, and that music is also good. And this game features all kinds of music, including techno-country and heavy metal. Nice!

This game also features some limited voice acting. The characters all speak a few phrases voice-acted in Simlish, which is the fake nonsense language of The Sims universe. The interesting thing about Bustin' Out, is that they managed to convey different accents in Simlish. You can totally hear a Southern twang to Bucki Brock's gibberish, which is pretty amazing (sounding something like "g'day"). The bikers have a hearty laugh ("hahaha!"), Olde Salty sounds like a pirate ("yaharr!"), Giuseppi does a Fonzie-like "eyyyyy!", Daschell makes such snooty nonsense sounds (huhhh)... it's frankly amazing how much character they put into these meaningless utterances, which just really strengthens the presentation of all of these characters.

All in all, this game was wild. And surprisingly good and fun for the port of the port of the game. We've learned that there is a sequel, so we'll be sure to be checking that out, and see if Giuseppi is back and ready for more back-of-the-van action.

Hey! Stop being so filthy provocative.