The mark of a good Sims 4 DLC is as much about the smaller details as it is the grand gestures. With Snowy Escape, the next major expansion for The Sims 4, players will be treated to a wonderful new location in Mount Komorebi, as well as dozens of items for building, character customization, and new mechanics to enhance the way the game is played. If Journey to Batuu was the uninvited guest that didn’t have the courtesy to bring good beer, Snowy Escape has the potential to be the next life of the party.
The build I played for this preview appeared to only include the base game and Snowy Escape. After buying a cheap house I immediately went vacationing to the partially snow-covered Mount Komorebi where I rented a home for a few days. I was pleased to find that Mount Komorebi was an in-game location the same way that San Myshuno is, not hidden away like Granite Falls. Once I was settled, I headed out to see what this location had to offer.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that players could actually buy and build homes in Mount Komorebi, not just rent them while on vacation. There are several locations to visit and enjoy, such as the lounge, bar, and even a relaxing bathhouse. There’s also natural rock walls to climb, a park to visit, and a mountain with trails of varying difficulty to either snowboard or ski down.
Snowy Escape comes with new Skills and Aspirations for players to develop. The Skiing and Snowboarding Skills are an obvious addition given the new activities, but players that want to lean into the Snowy Escape life can chase the Extreme Sports or Mount Komorebi Sightseer Aspirations as well.
There’s something satisfying about digging into new locations and gameplay mechanics unleashed with a fresh expansion in The Sims 4, but all vacations must come to an end. As great as snowboarding and skiing are, the real world eventually comes knocking and it’ll be time to return to that regular day-to-day grind. That’s why the true unsung heroes of Snowy Escape are the details.
With this new expansion players can expect to find new clothing and creation options for their character, items to buy for their homes, options for building the perfect space, and new ramen dishes to purchase or cook. New Lifestyles and Sentiments systems have been introduced that impact gameplay even when you’re not barreling down Mount Komorebi on a snowboard.
Lifestyles develop naturally due to a Sim’s behavior in the game over time. As I explored Mount Komorebi, I decided I wanted to climb a high rock face at the top of the ski lift. Because my Rock-Climbing skill was too low, I spent time outdoors on a smaller rock. After an extended period outside, the game notified me that the Outdoorsy Lifestyle was in progress. When this Lifestyle is fully developed it can provide bonuses to a Sim, and there are 16 Lifestyles to explore.
Sentiments focus on a Sim’s relationship with others, reflecting how two Sims can share an experience and feel differently about the outcome. This Sentiment can have a lasting impact on that relationship and change the way these Sims interact socially in the future. Imagine you set your spouse’s favorite raggedy old t-shirt on fire one day. You might look back on that as a fond memory, but your spouse might see it differently. I don’t think you’ll be setting shirts on fire in Snowy Escape, but you get the idea of where this is going.
Throughout my time in Batuu not long ago, I frequently stopped to wonder how it all fit into the world The Sims 4 existed in. It felt out of place, and I didn’t like it one bit. I stopped to ask myself the same thing as I played Snowy Escape. How does this fit into the world of the Sims 4?
Mount Komorebi is a location that feels in line with the world. The new Skills, Aspirations, Lifestyles, and Sentiments all feel like natural progressions instead of a demand for attention. Being able to make Beef Ramen and eat it with chopsticks instead of traditional North American utensils is the subtle kind of immersion that makes the moment-to-moment gameplay better. Leaning into Japanese themes when decorating feels like an enhancement. Snowy Escape doesn’t try to re-invent The Sims 4, it’s a welcome guest that brings value to the party.