I’d heard about challenge events happening in The Sims 4, but as I’ve only recently started playing it, I haven’t seen one before. But today I launched the game and got the announcement that the PlantSim Challenge has begun.
Challenges are events where you’re set a particular goal to complete within a timeframe, such as growing a certain number of special fruits or completing a special collection. I like how The Sims 4 isn’t just a static game – it receives regular patches from the developers and sometimes new experiences are patched in to keep things fresh.
I’ve read about previous challenges, such as the Day of the Dead Challenge and the Growfruit Challenge and was intrigued, wondering if I’d get a chance to try them if they were repeated someday. The PlantSim Challenge started on 13 April 2017 and lasts until 4 May 2017, and I believe this is a brand new event that hasn’t happened before.
Tasting the forbidden fruit
While the challenge is active, you can get more information and get started by talking to character called Jasmine Holiday, who acts as the challenge co-ordinator and can be found wandering around the neighbourhood for the duration of the event. I’ve seen her patrolling around my sims’ houses almost like a stalker, so I haven’t had any trouble finding her. But if she’s not there, you can also call her on the phone and she’ll pop over.
For the PlantSim Challenge, Jasmine will give you a magical tree stump, and your goal is to collect six special magic beans. If you place these into the stump, then it will regrow into a portal tree which will take your sim to a magical place (probably Tahiti) where you can find Forbidden Fruit. Eating the Forbidden Fruit will transform your sim temporarily into a PlantSim for five days.
It seems like a supply of Forbidden Fruit may have already entered the local food chain, because PlantSims have already started appearing around the neighbourhood. If you spot a PlantSim, you can ask them for a magic bean. The type of magic bean you get is tied to the emotional state of the PlantSim, and you need to collect either playful, sad, angry, uncomfortable, flirty or confident beans. You need one of each type to complete the collection and grow the magic tree, so you can either look for PlantSims in the corresponding emotional state, or find a PlantSim and try to influence their emotions so they can give you the bean you need.
Once you have the magic portal tree, it stays beyond the end of the event, so if you like becoming a PlantSim, you can continue visiting the magic place and harvesting Forbidden Fruit or plant the ones you get and grow your own fruit tree in your back yard.
Paint the town green
The first time I’d encountered PlantSims was back when I played The Sims 2, where they were implied to be a community of plant-based sims living in Riverblossom Hills. Your sims could be transformed into PlantSims by being exposed to too much pesticide. This time, in the new alternate reality of The Sims 4, it’s the slightly different situation of being a temporary state you enter after eating magic fruit, which I think sounds a lot nicer.
I usually try to downplay the supernatural elements of The Sims, preferring a more mundane world where the regular people are mostly unaware of the hidden secret world around them. I actively avoid sending my sims to a bar on “ghost night” and I’m comfortable with aliens living among them in human form disguises. However, I was excited when I spotted a green-skinned sim wandering around the street for the first time.
When I read about the challenge, and heard that PlantSims would start to appear around town, I wondered if that meant the game would generate some new PlantSim people for my sims to meet. But no, apparently it will transform existing townies into PlantSims temporarily, which is actually more hilarious. It’s amazing to see townies that you know and recognise, but turned into green plant people.
PlantSims are more in tune with nature and have boosted gardening skills. While in a PlantSim state, instead of needing to go to the toilet, a PlantSim instead needs to be watered either by taking a shower, bath, swimming or simply having a glass of water. Instead of eating, their hunger is replaced by the need to stand out in the sun and photosynthesize. Failure to take care of these needs will result in them wilting and returning to a normal human state early.
Beans, beans, the magical fruit
Being the first ever challenge I’m taking part in, I’m quite enjoying myself. I love spotting PlantSims roaming around the neighbourhood and seeing if I recognise them. I really appreciate the game developers, Maxis, providing this kind of seasonal content to players for free and keeping the game fresh and exciting.
I like the collection aspect where the challenge is finding PlantSims in the correct emotional state. The fact that sims have emotions is one of the primary features of The Sims 4 and so incorporating this into the challenge gameplay is very appropriate and adds an interesting twist.
So far, just on my first day, I’ve found three of the six required magic beans, and there’s plenty of time left. I’m going to try growing the magic tree, but I don’t think I’ll actively transform my sims into PlantSims on a regular basis. If I manage to get a Forbidden Fruit though, I might as well give it a try at least once!