After five years, magic has finally come to The Sims 4 in the Realm of Magic game pack. This new content adds an occult life state of spellcaster, the world of Glimmerbrook, and a magical realm to explore, with new spells to master and potions to brew. There are also new build and buy items, as well as clothing, all themed around magic. In short, Realm of Magic brings some spellbinding additions to the game... with a catch.
A Whole New World
The world of Glimmerbrook is a new addition and contains a bar, three houses, and a blank lot. It’s similar in size and feel to Forgotten Hollow, but much prettier. You can explore the entire world without loading screens, although you cannot visit other lots without them.
In the corner of the world, you’ll find a mysterious portal that you can use to enter the magical realm. Once in the realm, you can freely explore several areas, including a magic HQ, a small town square type area with some stores in it, a garden for collecting ingredients, and a dueling area.
Extra portals will allow you to travel between the different areas with no loading screens as you begin to master your magic. The realm has everything you need to keep your needs up as you explore spellcasting, assuming you’re happy to nap on a couch.
Build A Stained Glass Masterpiece
Build and buy mode has a solid selection of items. Builders will be delighted to see new windows and doors, which are modular and have a range of beautiful stained glass and plain options. There are also some new bricks, floor, and wall tiles, new wallpaper, and a wooden floor. We also have a new arch, although it requires a medium wall height to place.
Alongside this, there are some expected magical items including two cauldrons, bookcases, display cabinets, and even a new kitchen.
The items fit well together and fit in nicely with other objects in-game. The only issue with build and buy is that the swatches for the tiles are incorrect; one pattern is duplicated twice with the other option missing. There are also no wall units for the kitchen which is incredibly annoying.
Creating A Spellcaster
You can choose to create a spellcaster in Create-A-Sim, and there is a range of new clothes allowing you to use either an earthy bohemian style or a more gothic style.
You’ll see that there are new tops, bottoms, and full-body outfits for both men and women. There are also a couple of bits of new makeup, as well as new hairstyles and jewelry.
Sadly, there are no capes, leading me to assume that Edna Mode designed the wardrobe. There are also no items for children or toddlers, and some of the swatches don't match as expected. They do sit well in the catalog, though, and work well with other pieces of clothing.
A Magical Journey
If you want to change a normal sim into a spellcaster you can venture to the magical realm and hunt out some sages inside the HQ. There are three in total, one for each branch of magic, and you can identify them by the runes above their heads.
Building up a relationship with them will allow you to transform into a spellcaster and later be taught by them. You can also experiment with mixing potions, practicing magic, and dueling other Sims in order to advance your spellcasting prowess.
Spellcasters have a talent point system that works similarly to the vampire one. The only difference is that your points-buy benefits and negatives instead come from random curses. These are sparked by different events, in a similar way to the quirks system in Get Famous.
You can also learn to ride a broom simply by purchasing one from the store. It can then be used anywhere you like, leading to some interesting moments of randomness when you ride a broom through Sulani.
Magic And Mayhem
Overall the pack does an amazing job of introducing magic into The Sims 4. Spellcasters are enjoyable to play as, the spells vary, and the effects are fun. There’s also an element of unpredictability that really adds to the experience.
You can choose to put your focus on one or all the three branches of magic: practical, mischief, and untamed. Each area has spells that reflect the school's name, and mastering one over another will give you different boosts. As you progress through the skill tree you can learn new things and unlock some new actions. There are also two new aspirations: spellcasting-based and potion-based.
Unfortunately, not all is magical and wonderful with this pack, as I’ve already encountered a few pretty major glitches.
A Magical Mess
The gameplay in this pack is engaging, the build and buy, and the clothing mixes well with what is in-game already. However, what is not so magical is the sheer volume of glitches in this pack.
The first I noticed was that the sage mentoring me did so by waving her arms through me. Even when I was mentored by someone who didn’t do this, they were talking to the wall next to me as I faced the other way and cast my spells.
There’s also major clipping on one of the sages, in which his long hair appears from inside his hood. I’ve also seen people read a book by opening it literally into my Sim's face, as well as Sims walking through banisters.
While they aren’t game-breaking, I had some other issues that were. When venturing to the bottom floor of HQ, I got stuck in the wall more than once. I've also had my Sim bug out and get stuck in a loop or freeze up.
There's also the issue with well-known townies, such as the Pancakes, showing up in the Magical Realm. I also saw the occupants of HQ deciding to change into swimwear after I briefly visited Sulani to see if my broom worked.
These things have diminished my immersion and enjoyment of what is otherwise a well thought out and well put together pack. I’d love to give this five stars, but sadly, the amount of issues means that’s not happening. I hope we see an update for these, as they are spoiling what would otherwise be a truly spellbinding pack.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
A copy of Realm of Magic was provided to TheGamer for this review. Realm of Magic is available now for PC and Mac, and October 14th for consoles.