Our Sims 4 worlds already have the possibility of being inhabited by all manner of creepy residents; vampires can come and drink your blood at night, aliens exist and are definitely among us, spellcasters are flying around on brooms, and when people or pets die their ghosts can linger on in the material plane. The newest addition, the Paranormal Stuff Pack, adds even more spooky delights, this time in the form of haunted houses, mediums, and paranormal investigations.
Meet Annie and Ellis. They’ve been decked out in some of the new clothes on offer; lots of loose fabrics, bold patterns, and contrasting colours that have a distinctly 70’s feel to them. Annie and Ellis have just moved into a new house which, unfortunately for them, I’ve made sure is haunted.
Haunted lots are a bit different than what you may have experienced with ghosts previously in The Sims 4; rather than taking on the form of a sim, spectres are little red or green blobs, depending on how malevolent they are. Along with spectres, living in a haunted lot also means cursed items popping up—creepy dolls, occult symbols, and slime monsters. All these things can cause the new moodlets that the Paranormal Stuff Pack brings with it, making your sims scared. This can range from your sim having goosebumps or feeling something isn’t right to becoming completely terrified. This comes with the difficulties of stopping them sleeping or functioning properly at all, and making them prone to “screaming incoherently” at each other, which only makes things worse.
Luckily, help arrives before long in the form of Guidry the Ghost. He is the traditional ghost you expect to see in The Sims, one that you can interact with like others sims, only he’s dead and you can see through him. He can answer all your questions about your haunted lot, how to deal with spectres, and will even help sort out your needs if you get too tired or hungry from being scared all the time. He’s also your ticket into the paranormal investigator career, a new option for the freelance career mode that the Paranormal Stuff Pack brings with it.
So, how did Annie and Ellis fare in their new haunted abode? Not well, at first. It’s easy to get in a cycle where they’re too scared to deal with any of things happening, which just makes them more scared and unable to do anything. But after taking them off to a friend’s house to sort out their needs and spending some reward points on sacred candles (which can also be made from a wax that some spectres drop), things started to get back on track. Annie even began developing her medium skill at the seance table, putting her on the path to get her paranormal investigator’s license.
Once Annie had maxed out her medium skill (it’s only five levels, rather than the usual ten), she set off on her ghost hunting business. The investigations consist of going to another sim’s lot, getting rid of all cursed objects, and appeasing any spectres hanging around. You can just ask them to leave, but offering them a gift means you might get a gift in return, which can be food or drink that will give you different moodlets or the wraith wax that you can use to make sacred candles that stop your sims from being scared. You can also choose from beginner, medium, or hard investigations to give yourself more of a challenge once you’ve got the hang of it.
So, Annie and Ellis were finally finding their footing in their creepy new house, and Annie’s just as creepy new career (in hindsight, having your paranormal investigator themselves living on a haunted lot is a bit much), and the money was rolling in. Only then they experienced as bad a haunting can get—the arrival of Temperance.
Like Guidry, Temperance is another ghost that can be interacted with normally; although unlike Guidry, she’s not there to help. Rather, she likes to possess your furniture, break things, and cause your sims to have a complete meltdown. There is an easy way to deal with her, however, and that’s to summon Bonehilda. That’s right, the skeleton maid’s long awaited return to The Sims is finally here.
Having been in the sims universe since the original game, missing out on The Sims 2, and then returning in The Sims 3, Bonehilda has been a fan favourite for a long time. In The Sims 4, the skeleton can be summoned and she will physically fight Temperance to get rid of her, as well as repairing things and tidying up your home as she has done in previous games. She even hangs around after she’s done so your sims can get to know her.
Lastly, the pack adds some new furniture, all of which has a distinct vibe that matches the clothing; lots of bright and clashing colours, antique-feeling clutter, and objects that will help develop your medium skill. It feels like a style that hasn’t been explored much previously in the game, allowing you to give your homes a style that feels new and different.
For a small addition to the game compared to the bigger expansion packs, the Paranormal Stuff Pack feels like it’s one worth getting. I managed to sink hours into exploring all the options, and it provides lots of chances for varying your sims’ lives; if you get bored of them, just move them into a haunted house and see how they cope! With a new career option that you can experience along with your sim, as well as the haunted lots, clothing, furniture and moodlets, this pack actually feels like it adds something unique to the game.
And how are Annie and Ellis now? Well, I ended up turning the lot back into a normal house, and Ellis is now pursuing a career in teaching. Annie, on the other hand, is still spending her nights cleansing people’s houses of spirits. She also nearly burnt the house down and a vampire keeps trying to drink her blood, but you know, that’s The Sims.