At last, The Sims 4 is bringing out a cool family-focused pack called Growing Together. People have wanted a pack like this for ages. Today, we’ll cover my honest thoughts of the new pack’s stuff after playing it a bit.
I started playing the game part just last week. So, let’s talk openly about what’s in this pack.
Sims 4 Growing Together is all about growing up
It has milestones in Sims’ lives, getting along with others, and family stuff. Some might wonder what’s the point of this pack compared to others like City Living or Cats and Dogs. The main purpose isn’t as clear since there isn’t one big new thing like pets or a city. Instead, it has a bunch of things that make the growing up part more fun.
I’ll tell you right now: I really love this pack.
The pack’s game part is just right for me because it’s how I like playing The Sims. I’m a big fan of family-focused games that go on for generations. So, this pack has everything I love about the game.
What’s Inside Sims 4 Growing Together
So, what’s inside this pack? First, there’s a brand new milestones feature, probably the most important part of the pack. All ages of Sims will have milestones that keep track of big events in their lives.
For grown-ups, it’s all about big life moments like first woohoo, marriage, having a child, and gettin’ a job. But for the little ones, there’s loads more gameplay. Babies and toddlers have milestones that shape their skills.
As babies grow and learn, they unlock new abilities, like sittin’ up, tryin’ new foods, and grabbing things. They start off just laying about but eventually learn to scoot and crawl.
Almost a Completely New Infant Expansion Pack
What they’ve done with babies is fantastic. Usually, it feels like Sims are stuck at a certain age, but now, with milestones, babies progress from being newborns to babbling and moving. It’s like they’re genuinely growin’ up, which is new for The Sims. Plus, everyone has milestones throughout life, so you can look back on their achievements when they’re older.
This pack also adds a lot to the youngsters.
Milestones are for all ages, but toddlers and infants get special quirks. Each toddler and infant get three unique quirks, like bonus traits. There are 18 different ones for each age group, assigned randomly. Some quirks might be linked to traits, while others are purely random.
For instance, my fussy toddler was a light sleeper (probably ’cause of the fussy trait) but also loved books (random, that). Toddlers and infants reveal their quirks as they do different things, like playin’ in the toilet or wakin’ up at night. Some quirks are funny, and some make things tougher, but it’s all a good laugh.
These quirks make every baby unique. You could have triplets, and they’d each act differently based on their random traits. And there’s loads more features that change how your Sims grow up in this pack.
So, you better get ready for some fun twists that can affect family dynamics with The Sims 4: Growing Together!
New Interactions & Personality Traits at Each Life Stage
Loads of special milestones await kids, like learning to ride bikes and losin’ their first tooth. The Tooth Fairy stuff is adorable! Your Sim might have a loose tooth, and you can decide to wiggle it or yank it out. If they place it under their pillow, the Tooth Fairy rewards ’em with 80 Simoleons, a certificate, and a sticker for their wall.
This pack comes with many keepsakes like that.
Finally, in Sims 4 Growing Together, children get four new aspirations, unlike the base game where they had to max out one skill. Instead, they do things like throwin’ slumber parties and making friendship bracelets. Kids in this pack have a new confidence level too, shown in their traits panel as low, medium, or high. Confidence can be gained through encouragement, and a high-confidence kid becomes a teen with a high self-esteem bonus trait.
Bonus traits are a theme in this pack, even for infants who age up well into toddlers. Along with growin’ up, compatibility is a key feature of this pack.
Family Dynamic Gets More Depth with Compatibility System
Sims 4 Growing Together adds a new compatibility system impacts how well Sims get along, based on preferences and traits. This is purely platonic, not romantic, and applies to all Sims relationships.
Two new preference categories in Create-A-Sim affect compatibility.
The first one is Sim characteristics, which determines the types of Sims your Sim gets along with. For example, if your Sim dislikes argumentative Sims, they won’t get along with mean Sims. But, they might like hard-working Sims, gettin’ along better with perfectionist or ambitious Sims.
With 18 different Sim characteristics, you can create complex Sims with interesting personalities and family bonds.
‘Conversion Topics’ an Unexpected Improvement from Sims 4 Growing Together
We’ve also got another category of likes and dislikes, called conversation topics, which determine what social interactions work best on your Sim.
If they don’t like flirting, they’ll react poorly to it, but if they enjoy jokes, they’ll respond well to humour. With 18 conversation topics to choose from, you’ve got loads of options to deepen your Sim’s personality, affecting how they interact with others (and family members). You must learn about other Sims to interact with them effectively, making it a massive improvement from The Sims 3, where you could high five someone ten times and become best mates.
In the relationship panel, you can now see if you’ve got awful to amazing compatibility with someone. Amazing compatibility makes it easy to build relationships, while awful compatibility requires more effort. This makes challenge gameplay more grindy, but it brings more lifelike qualities to the Sims and their relationships. You have to work to see which Sims are socially compatible – just like in real life.
Sims 4 Growing Together – Deeper Family Interactions
The next main aspect of this pack is family dynamics, which also impact how Sims interact with family members. You can set this in Create-A-Sim, choosing if two Sims are close, distant, or jokesters.
Impressively, you can set it for extended family too. To clarify, there isn’t a new relationship status setting in Create-A-Sim, but you can set the dynamic. In-game pop-ups suggest family dynamics based on interactions, and these dynamics affect how Sims interact. For example, a close relationship with a mum might mean more calls and time spent together, while a distant dynamic might cause awkwardness.
I must say, the attention to detail in these relationships is incredibly impressive, making the game feel more real and interactive.
In the past, I’d create Sims and attempt to tell a story, maybe being close to me grandma but distant with me parents. However, in the game, I had to pretend by not seeing me parents and spending loads of time with me grandma.
But now, we can actually have bad compatibility with Dad and be distant. The game behaves accordingly, and it’s fantastic!
3 New Traits added with the Expansion pack
This pack introduces a game-changing feature we’ve all been wanting – more than three traits! With the new self-discovery traits, you can have up to six traits, three chosen in Create-A-Sim and three earned in-game.
Initially, I got scared when I saw the first one, the ambitious trait, offered immediately after cheating to promote my sim. But later, it didn’t seem too extreme.
The next trait offered was the lazy trait, after my sim skipped work three days in a row. You can choose yes or no to these bonus traits, or even change personality traits if the game notices your behaviour doesn’t match your traits. For example, if your Sim had the hot-headed trait but stayed happy, it might suggest swapping to the cheerful trait.
I find this opportunity for character development quite interesting and can’t wait to explore it further.
Speaking of making my Sims miserable, I tried to see the midlife crisis gameplay by making her hot-headed and angry. I didn’t get fired or have a work rival, but had a midlife crisis. It’s more likely to start if your Sim is in a bad mood, so I had her listen to music she hated for days.
After that, the midlife crisis began with a desire for excitement moodlet and turned into a full crisis, adding new tasks to your aspiration panel. She wanted expensive stuff, to win games, and to brag. You don’t have to do these tasks, but it makes the crisis shorter.
True to Life, Sims 4 Growing Together Adds Burnout
Less funny is the new burnout feature. Sims can experience burnout by doing the same thing repeatedly. My miserable Sim painted for days straight, and eventually, she became burned out. Burnout affects work performance and mood, making it hard to succeed.
To fix burnout, Sims need to do different activities, but I didn’t try to help her. I’m worried about how burnout will affect challenges like rags to riches.
Besides main gameplay features, we got new items adding gameplay.
New Items Added in This Expansion pack
Kids can ride bikes now, with six new variants of kids bikes and one adult bike. Kids can practice riding with an adult, building their motor skill.
The main theme of this pack is how things that happen when you’re young impact you when you’re older. My favourite new item is the treehouse. You build it and upgrade it like the rocket ship. Kids can play pretend, and adults can use handiness skill to upgrade the treehouse.
You can slot toys onto the treehouse, like Blarffy, the activity table, and the new telescopes. It’s also a new woohoo spot for adults, though there’s no new death in this pack.
We also got Tooth Fairy certificates, which are new keepsake items. Elder Sims can pass down keepsake boxes to others, and it’s really cute.
One of the most adorable items is a baby print keepsake – a cute little footprint from your infant Sim to hang on your wall.
Lively Rec Center – Now With Water
There’s a fantastic public splash pad outside the rec centre, but you can also build one on your own lot. All ages – even dogs – can have a splashin’ good time! Although I’ve only tested it with the base game and Sims 4 Growing Together, I’m excited to see dogs frolicking about.
The rec centre is a new lot type, offering everything from music and art rooms to a games room, complete with a new game table and two new games. It adds more social events.
Your Sims can play Simbols (like Scrabble) or do puzzles, which are my personal favourite. Puzzles come in varying difficulty levels and can be done alone or with other Sims. Once finished, they can be framed and displayed. I’ll definitely be using this puzzle feature often.
New Features, like Movie Theatre Adds More to Sims Lives, But Not Detailed
A new feature is the movie theatre, reminiscent of The Sims 3. Despite not being able to actually see your Sims inside, there’s plenty of movies to choose from and your Sims’ reactions will vary based on their traits. My child Sim and her dad went to see a kids’ film, but they both hated it! What a waste of 30 simoleons, but it was quite amusing.
One of the best new features in the pack is the extended stay option. Different from a casual visit, extended stays last for several days. You can invite guests or they can invite themselves.
Extended stays can be planned through your Sim’s calendar, with durations ranging from one to six days. Sometimes, random blokes might call to crash at your place!
This feature is brilliant because it allows family requests, provides help with babies, and can lead to amusing situations. For example, one visitor refused to sleep during his stay until he eventually dozed off in my only bathtub, hogging the bathroom and causing my Sim to wet himself! This game packs feature provided loads of enjoyment.
Three new event types have emerged: baby shower event, family reunions, and slumber parties are now possible.
San Sequoia is the new world with 12 lots, more features quiet suburbs, including nine built and three empty ones. Most of them are residential, but there’s also a rental lot, library, and a new rec centre lot type.
Create-a-Sim Improves with this Expansion Pack
Create a Sim is well-done in this pack, with many cute items for infants, child Sims and adult Sims and new hairstyles. Clothing is provided for all age groups, from infants to elders, and feels cozy and comfortable. Even masculine-framed Sims received a good amount of content. Matching outfits across age groups are a nice touch for family photos.
The build mode is one of my favourites ever, featuring windows, doors, and columns in my all-time favourite Craftsman style. Other items I like include cute photo frames, tile wallpapers, clutter like puzzle and board game boxes, new bookshelves, and an upright piano we’ve long desired.
Pros & Cons of this Expansion pack
Perfect for us who adore family, generational and related Sims gameplay. Grandmas, parents, kids, even dogs most times! So it’s brill to have more bits affecting their relationships. This pack makes Sims feel more alive, more lifelike. It changes growing up completely, into a lifelong journey, and I love how upbringing affects them later.
When reviewing packs, I consider replayability and how a pack fits into regular gameplay. I can’t imagine going back after playing this. Adds so much to experience life, and like Sims 4 Seasons, and other expansion packs, it integrates naturally. No need to go out of your way to play with milestones; they just happen.
Things like werewolf pack or Island Living need effort, but Growing Together happens naturally in all corners of your Sim’s life as they pursue self discovery.
However, there are a few cons.
First, no teen content. Weird for a growing up pack, but we did just get a teen-focused pack. Second, a lot of infant stuff is locked behind this pack. Base game infants are fine, but it feels like the second half of infants are behind a paywall.
Overall, I really like this pack. Might be one of my top two faves ever. It adds heaps to the game, and if you enjoy family gameplay, it’s well worth it. Wait for a sale, but it’s worth the money.
I’m not scared to give negative reviews, but I truly think many will have fun with this one. So there you have it, my review of The Sims 4 Growing Together.