I live in a small apartment, which makes it difficult to buy furniture. But it is also an interesting challenge. I’m always looking for ways to maximize my space, and I’m never happier than when I find something that serves multiple purposes – a cabinet with a drop-down desk or an armchair with storage in the base. If that makes me look like the most boring man in the world, well, watch out: it will probably happen to you when you hit 35. I’m giving you this unsolicited insight into my exciting life because that’s why I find Tiny Living, a Sims 4 Stuff Pack, so compelling. I’ve never built a big house in any Sims game. I always do neat little apartments, which is why I feel like Maxis made this DLC especially for me.
Tiny Living challenges you to build a house using just 100 tiles, which is the size of a single room in an average Sims house. You must fit everything a Sim needs to live a comfortable life in this cramped and limited space, including a bed, a bathroom, and a place to cook. If 100 tiles isn’t hard enough, you can try a Tiny Home (max 64 tiles) or a Micro Home (max 32), and that’s where the DLC comes into its own. Suddenly, The Sims 4 becomes a great puzzle game. You have to somehow squeeze all the contents of a house into a space no bigger than a toilet cubicle. It’s not too complicated on its own, but the real challenge is to do it in an aesthetically pleasing way.
You can easily throw a single bed, a microwave and a toilet in the room and that will be enough for the game to recognize it as a working house. If you were a landlord in London, you could even charge a desperate young professional £6,000 a month to live there. But where is the fun in that? My obsession with the Tiny Living DLC culminated when I really wanted to make these tiny houses look pretty. I don’t think I even moved a single Sim into any of them – I just make them for the sake of making them. There’s something incredibly relaxing about furnishing these confined spaces, using lights, colors and careful furniture placement to make them comfortable, livable and not cluttered or claustrophobic.
Maxis provided new space-saving furniture with Tiny Living, including a Murphy bed that folds into a wall and a bookshelf/stereo/TV combination. They’re a welcome addition for the hungry space, but I would have liked to see more. Even so, there’s enough furniture elsewhere in the game to get creative and maximize the potential of those glorified shoeboxes. The DLC’s combination of relaxing interior decorating and space puzzle solving is incredibly fun and rewarding, and honestly, I’d play a whole game that was just that. I don’t really care about playing The Sims 4 “normally” – I just want to build lots of tidy, compact little houses and then sit down, look at them and say “Aaaah”.
For most gamers, a Sims game is a chance to build a dream home. Freed from pesky real-world limitations like time, money, and space, they are able to build any type of colossal, lavish, multi-room mansion they desire. Personally, I don’t see the point. Maybe it’s just because I’ve lived in small apartments all my life, including when I was young, but I much prefer working within boundaries. The genius of Tiny Living is that it makes a game of this constraint, encouraging you to be as economical as possible and rewarding you for it. It’s the most I’ve ever enjoyed The Sims 4, and the only reason I still have the game installed on my PC. I might even let one of my Sims move in a day.
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