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Illustration of plumbob from Tiny Living, a Sims 4 expansion

Just be sure to watch out for those Murphy beds.

On Jan. 21, EA released the newest addition to the Sims 4 stuff packs: Tiny Living. Currently out on PC only (console will see the release on Feb. 4, which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of The Sims), Tiny Living lets your Sims live in the lap of small luxuries.

“Everyone knows tiny living is more than just a trend right now—it’s a movement,” writes EA in its game announcement. “It’s ecological, less expensive, and infinitely cozier than living large.”

And it’s true. The global market for tiny homes will only continue to grow through the next half decade, according to one study. In real life, the benefits of owning a tiny home include cheaper mortgages, smaller bills and decreased energy consumption. The Sims hopes to mimic this in-game.

Players will have a new lot option, “tiny residential,” which includes three lot subcategories, or tiers: small, tiny and micro. Each tier comes with its own building restrictions — namely, the number of tiles you can place in build mode. A small home may not exceed 100 tiles, a tiny home maxes out at 64 tiles and a micro home at 32.

If you can manage to stay within these confinements, you will be rewarded with various lot perks, such as a boost to Sim happiness, more comfortable objects, skill boosts and relationship improvements. Of course, the smaller the home, the more perks your Sims are gifted. Your Sim will also enjoy much cheaper bills, not to mention all that yard space.

In addition, the tile restriction applies only to constructed floor tiles that Sims can walk upon. For example, the second floor of a home counts, but roof tiles do not. That way, if players want to build a flat roof or create a rooftop garden, it doesn’t count as part of the actual house size.

Another interesting exception is found in the backyard. Any floor cover you can “spray on,” so to speak, does not count. So, you can build the world’s biggest patio around the tiny house, as long as you use the terrain tool in lieu of actual floor tiles. Same goes for pools; feel free to recreate one of the Great Lakes directly in your backyard, without penalty.

Aside from the lot-size restrictions, the pack also adds a few new Create-A-Sim options that are on brand with the coziness tiny living has to offer. However, the build mode objects make up most of this stuff pack. The additions feature midcentury modern furniture, the lot of which includes new chairs, decorations and Murphy beds — which many Simmers have been missing since Sims 3: University Life. Be careful though, as a malfunctioning bed can prove fatal to your Sims.

Some other notable objects include new entertainment centers, offered in a both small and large option; maximize your space by placing a bookshelf, radio and TV set all in one object. In addition, there are new bookshelves that can snap against the Murphy beds, creating one cohesive object. And, what’s nice about the bookshelves is they function as actual shelves that can display plants, table lamps and smaller decorations.

The last stuff pack (and expansion, for that matter) came with mixed reviews, so it was hard to be sure what to expect with this newest installment. So far, reviews generally tend to praise the pack; however, like with any new Sims game, they are not without their complaints.

Some of the major criticisms include the lack of variety in Create-A-Sim. Stuff packs feature just that: “stuff,” and usually come with a decent variety of both build mode objects and clothing. However, Tiny Living offers no new clothing for children or toddlers. And the options for adults aren’t anything extravagant. Sticking with the cozy theme of tiny life, most of the options are comfier cold-weather options like sweaters and loungewear. When you’re shelling out $10 on a game that contains mostly objects, you expect to get a bigger selection than what was ultimately presented in the pack.

The other aspect that reviewers are complaining about is the lack of new traits or aspirations. As YouTube Simmer Plumbella exclaims: “The fact that we don’t have a claustrophobic trait is absolutely big fat beyond me!” Again, when the game is presenting a limited selection of additions, adding gameplay variety when you can goes a long way for player enjoyment.

Also, no bunk beds or ladders?! The Sims 3 offered both in their respective Generations and Island Paradise expansion packs, and they seem like obvious accouterments to a space-saving lifestyle. And yet, they’re not present in Tiny Living.

However, the objects that are included in the game have had good reception thus far. The midcentury modern style is one we’ve not yet seen in copious amounts from the build mode catalog, and the new furniture in this pack boasts a solid amount of colors and styles to choose from. Of course, there are exceptions to this as well: Despite overall cohesion amongst the furniture, EA has once again made us pull our hair out by not making all the color swatches match up perfectly — which has been a problem with previous installments.

Overall, players and reviewers seem happy with this pack, and for good reason. For one, Tiny Living is an original concept that draws from a trend in the real world, and its execution was done in an engaging way. Having to build to a specific size is fun and challenging and enhances gameplay rather than distracting from it. The new functions on the various build mode objects are great additions, and the Create-A-Sim items that do exist are stylish and cozy — and ones you would actually have your Sims wear.

So, is The Sims 4: Tiny Living worth it? It seems to be, but if you really want to know for sure, you’ll just have to try it for yourself.

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