The Sims 3: Hidden Springs Review

Hidden Springs is finally available and we got hands on right away! Check out our first impressions of the new world with loads of screenshots!

After a few hours of Sims fans anxiously jabbing their refresh buttons, Hidden Springs finally hit The Sims Store. Thanks to The Sims UK team, we got in right away and had a look around the new town.

My first thought as the town loaded was… “WOW that’s green!”. I mean this town is so green and lush … it’s just amazing. But the fact that it’s broken up with three different types of roads – two colours of tarmac and also a dirt road in the wooded area – makes it a little less overwhelming, and really quite beautiful.

Hidden Springs is extremely green and lush!

As an avid Legacy Challenge player, the first thing I did was check out the prices of all the empty lots. Unfortunately, there are none that fit the rules of the challenge in this neighbourhood, so Legacy Challengers will need to cheat their money down before they can start the game.

The first house to catch my eye was a pink house sitting just above the town centre, in the suburbs, so I hopped into the game as Anna Menon, who is described in her bio as the “Queen of Fashion”. On loading the lot, I was immediately excited over a brand new style of mail box. I’m pretty sure Her Pinkness is also wearing a new style of dress… though I’m not sure about wearing red shoes with it. Check it out!

Anna Menon and her pink house... and mail box!Next, I checked out the town itself in more detail. No new rabbit holes except for the beautiful spa we’ve seen in all the screenshots, so I figured my Sim deserved a facial or something. The lot is just as gorgeous as it looked from the screenshots, and I think my other towns may be getting a facelift soon with this new spa.

The spa is as spectacular as it looked in the screenshots

Walking along outside the spa I saw my first green Sim, Emmaline Rhoen. Unable to contain my curiosity, I switched families to check her out. While searching for her family on the neighbourhood screen, I spotted Bert Alto, presumably related to the Sunset Valley Altos as he looks a lot like Nick, but his family tree and bio don’t give any clues as to how he’s related, but sww told me that a recent chat confirmed he’s Nick’s brother.

Bert Alto looks a lot like Nick Alto from Sunset Valley, maybe he's his brother?Continuing my search for little green men (and women), I noticed an interesting split in the town. Away from the town centre, near the waterfalls, and on mostly dirt roads, there are several families with green people, and a couple of non-green singletons. The bios of these families hint that recently more people have moved to this area of town to live in a quieter area, but that the green-skinned locals weren’t all too happy about the new arrivals.

The "other" side of the mountain is hippie heaven

Emmaline Rhoen, the green lady I spotted outside the spa, is a single lady living in a small shack in this area of town. Her bio describes her as “the best healer this side of the mountain”. Her career? She’s in the medical career of course.

Emmaline Rhoen and Anna Menon just hanging out

I knew the story of this neighbourhood was that the green-ness was caused by the spring itself, and the secrets it holds about aging. So time to switch Sims again to see how much of that is true and how much is just a story. This time I couldn’t resist selecting Liam O’Dourke. Remember this guy?

Liam O'Dourke appeared in many of the early renders of The Sims 3

For reasons beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as myself, the fountain of youth isn’t already placed on a lot in the neighbourhood. I opened up edit town mode and chose the waterfall lot to place my fountain down on, then made Liam head over there.

It’s a pretty neat looking object that gently emits sparkles as the water flows over the rocks, and it feels very mystical. Though, I still felt that my amateurish placement of the fountain ruined it a little. Drinking from the water made Liam go sparkly momentarily, but nothing else happened. Moza told me that her Sim got one day younger from it, and this gave them a positive moodlet.

Liam O'Dourke drinks from the fountain of youthA second interaction on the fountain, “wish for youth”, lets a Sim throw 25 Simoleons into the fountain and wish for youth. If successful, it can set them back to the beginning of their current life stage. If unsuccesful, it could do nothing (with a variety of random dialogs), or it could give them the childish trait. There may be more possible outcomes from the fountain but these are the ones I found. An oddity is that the dialog always says that they’re back in the prime of young adulthood on a successful wish, but it always just puts them at the start of the current stage.

So a couple of disappointments on the fountain… one is that the dialogs don’t match up to what it does, and another is that it doesn’t actually turn your Sims green. I think that would have been neat, and a nice trade-off for eternal youth. Plus of course, there is the fact that it’s not already placed for you. I can’t help feeling a world designer at EA would have placed it much more beautifully than I did.

But what else is new? Well, all the lots seem to be totally original, and there’s a little cabin on the wooded side of town which actually has a bed, despite being a community lot, which is pretty cool. There’s a mountain lodge up in the mountains too, which has a few bedrooms, so you could definitely take your Sims from the town area on a little “holiday” up to the mountain or woods area. It is like a little home away from home for your Sims. There’s also a new huge fountain for Sims with more Simoleons than sense.

A pretty cool new fountain is included with the worldMy favourite lot on the whole neighbourhood is right at the top of the mountain. But wait, this doesn’t look too special does it?

The community lot at the top of the mountains doesn't look too special from this angleBut head into that building on the left and you’ll find yourself on a large observation deck, overlooking the entire town. The view is spectacular, and there is an easel and two telescopes for Sims wanting to enjoy it.

The observation deck offers a spectacular view over the town

From my new vantage point, the Winterly lot caught my eye, so I switched households again. It is a really beautiful lot, and their garden houses two death flower plants.

The Winterly LotIn front of the lake, there’s a public swimming pool that is very pretty and in keeping with the style of the spa. It features a semi-covered indoor pool, and an outdoor pool on some decking, as well as plenty of sun loungers, seating, and two sets of showers and toilets.

The lakefront swimming poolTime for a quick tour of some other new lots. The graveyard is rather rustic in appearance, and a little spooky. Notable graves are Daisy and Daniel Romero, who died in a fire, Ruth Chrysanthemum, who drowned, and Elias Nathanial, whose slightly overgrown grave shows that he also died in a fire. All the other graves appear to have been placed from buy mode.

The graveyard is pretty spooky!The art gallery is also pretty weird. It seems to just be a bunch of very ordinary buy mode objects behind ropes. it includes a row of televisions, a row of computers, and a row of different coloured guitars. On the top floor there is a balcony with a blue telescope looking out into the woods.

The art galleryAcross the road, there is a lot labelled as “Han’s Tavern and Cafe”. In actuality, this just contains a bunch of tables and a coffee maker. Although it’s not as functional as I’d like, it is a very pretty lot and I think storytellers will like it.

Han's Tavern and CaféIn the wooded area of town there are several fishing spots and small parks. This is my favourite one, which delicately blends into the surrounding woodland:

Hidden GardensBy complete contrast, the town centre is entirely paved over, with just a few dead-looking trees allowed their own area of green to live on.

The town centreThe final lot I’ll show you is next to the town square. Because I was a little disappointed at the lack of buildings that lend themselves to being converted to be Late Night bars and clubs, here’s one that does. It’s called Lars’ Disco-tech.

Lars' Disco-techOverall, the new world is very beautiful, and I will definitely play with it a lot – but only once I’ve added some Late Night bars and clubs, and made the Ambitions lots fit in better. I promise I’ll share a save file on here when I’ve done that so you can all do the same!

I can only think of a few negative points, mostly regarding the fountain of youth. It would be much better if it actually did set you back to the beginning of the young adult stage, rather than the current stage, and of course I would really prefer it to have been placed prettily by EA, waiting to be discovered, than unceremoniously plonked next to a waterfall by myself.

There are some genuinely lovely lots, and the town is naturally but not rigidly divided into four distinct areas: the mountain, the woodland, the town centre, and the suburbs. There are three or four quite stylish new clothing items that come with the town, which is nice because combined with the whole new town I’d say this is just as good value for money as a stuff pack. The new spa rabbit hole is stunning, but it is a shame it is the only new rabbit hole.

If your pennies are tight this month and you’re wondering whether to buy this or save for Pirates and Nobles next week, I would definitely save those pennies for Pirates and Nobles instead. But if you’ve got the cash to spare, I do think this is worth the £17.50 price tag, when taken together with all the content that comes with it – and in my opinion it’s a much better hood than Barnacle Bay. So I would definitely recommend Hidden Springs if you want something new to play with before Pets comes out. Plus I can imagine it being a really great town to play in with Pets as well, with the wooded area being a wonderful place to live with horses.

Welcome to Hidden Springs