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Despite loving the Sims 4 and regularly making Sims 4 YouTube videos, I have yet to write any pack reviews on the blog! Shame on me. I have plans for some future pack reviews that involve the older Sims 4 expansions, game packs, stuff packs and kits, but today I’m reviewing the latest expansion pack to hit EA’s website: Cottage Living.
Cottage Living brings some new, shiny features to Simming! Many have begged for it and many have guessed that it was coming: a farming pack complete with farm animals! Some heavy hitters included are: chickens with a chicken coop with the ability to collect eggs, an animal shed that can house different colored cows and llamas, in-game wild foxes, birds, and bunnies, farming plots where you can grow oversized crops and win competitions in the new world’s town square, brand new lot challenges (some added to base game as well), pond tools (also now in base game) and Sim lore which the Sims 4 has been lacking to be perfectly honest. That’s a lot to digest, and we haven’t even talking about some of the coolest items in the pack!
New World: Henford-on-Bagley
Henford-on-Bagley is a gorgeous, English-inspired country side world with tons of rolling hills, ponds, fishing spots, and plenty of hidey holes for the new wild life like foxes, bunnies, birds. There are three neighborhoods in Henford-on-Bagley: Finchwick, Old New Henford, and The Bramblewood. Every week, the village of Finchwick hosts a fair where you can win prizes for your chicken, cow or llama, crops, or cooking. You can also visit local shops and grocers here. Then there’s Old New Henford which has beautiful home lots and a small community garden where your sims can level up their gardening skills. Finally, we have The Bramblewood which is the forested areas outside of Henford, home to most of the new wildlife in Cottage Living. It also has tons of nooks and crannies to explore, including a lake that sims can swim in!
There are several lots in Henford-on-Bagley including about eight residential lots (4 inhabited, 4 uninhabited), one empty lot, one rental lot, and two community lots. As a special treat, all of the pre-built lots were built by Simmers! A favorite of mine, Devon Bumpkin, played a part in building a couple of lots that I just adore. We also got 5 new families, 4 of which already occupy some of the homes in Henford-on-Bagley. We also have a returning family that comes to us as two new NPCs: Agatha and Agnes Crumplebottom! You may recognize Agnes from the Sims 1 or Sims 3.
I think the Create-A-Sim (CAS) items are a really nice mix of cottagecore and granny chic. With puffy sleeves, light floral patterns, overalls, adorable ruffles, and cute plaids, you can curate the cottagecore fashion aesthetic of your dreams. The granny chic moments complement the cottagecore fashion with Peter Pan style collars, cozy sweaters, knitted cardigans, embroidered details, and aprons that adorn full body pieces. Some drawbacks are that the masculine clothing is about half the number of pieces (or less) as the feminine clothing. Also I’m not 100% sold on most of the shoes with this pack. The heels are super cute, but the rainboots can look a tad weird depending on what you pair them with. The other boots just aren’t my thing and drift away from the cottagecore aesthetic that a majority of the feminine clothes tend to favor.
Again, the shoes for masculine Sims get the short end of the stick with only 3 new pairs which are all boots. The kids did get a few items that fit in with the cottagecore and “farmer” aesthetic that I imagined which I am pretty happy with. The hairstyles for feminine Sims came out super cute. I love that they added baby hairs as well to one of the hairstyles. The curly styles are a little questionable but I appreciate the variety we’re able to get. They all fit within the style that the Sims team has created for this pack. The last issue I have found with the CAS items is that while there are 12 feminine hairstyles, there are only 3 new masculine hairstyles, one of which is basically the same as one of the feminine styles. The masc items in this pack are severely lacking.
The items from the build/buy catalog are by far my favorite of all the Sims 4 packs! The textures are so nice, and the colors are perfect for that cozy cottage feeling. I can’t possibly touch on every single item in this review so I’ll mention my most favorites for those like me who love to build! First, this kitchen set pictured above is a D.R.E.A.M! Gorgeous colored swatches, cute details on the cupboards, old timey appliances, AND an apron sink. Someone call Chip and Joanna Gaines because the Sims team is serving up some farmhouse style in this kitchen! Next, the brick and stone wallpapers are everything I have ever wanted in a wall texture. The colors are perfect, and the subtle detail is just right. Then, the thatched roofs with detail pieces and adorable doors and windows bring in that English country charm that Henford-on-Bagley promises (and delivers). Last, but not least, the lights that will put all the others to shame: gorgeous vintage style wall lights with bell-shaped glass-like shades, vintage matching-ish chandeliers, industrial hanging ceiling lights, and even a mason jar wall light really round out the build/buy catalog of this pack.
If the build/buy catalog hasn’t won you over, the gameplay in Cottage Living will! Cottage Living introduces farm plots where sims can grow crops and over-sized crops, an animal shed where you can purchase a cow or llama, a chicken coop that house chickens who can lay eggs, and more! My computer has a bit of a hard time with having an animal shed and multiple chickens so beware that too much on your lot may cause lag.
Become a farmer and live off the land (literally) with two new lot challenges! The Simple Living lot challenge is where sims can only cook recipes that they have all the ingredients for, and the Wild Foxes lot challenge allows foxes to appear on your lot who will mess with your crops, chickens, chicken eggs, and rabbits. Be careful; I found out the hard way that foxes can be fatal to chickens…
We also got some new activities that sims can do like canning food (perfect for getting some of those eggs and milk bottles out of your fridge), going on picnics (amazing for story telling and makes for some romantic dates… finish it off with a romp in an animal shed, but don’t ask me how I know!), and cross stitching (a personal fave) which produces a finished embroidery hoop design in your inventory that sims can hang or place on shelves and tables. There is also the weekly Finchwick Fair that I mentioned above briefly where you enter your cow or llama, chickens, crops, and even cooked dishes into contests to win prizes! While you’re in Finchwick, be a dear and get to know the people in the village. This is the best way to dip your toes back into Sims’ lore which has frankly left us lore whores parched over the Sims 4 legacy. I haven’t made much progress in this department (yet) as I have been living the farmer’s dream with different Sims families, but I’ve seen a few YouTubers begin learning about the people in the village including the mayor and her son. There might be some drama-llama going on here. (Sorry; couldn’t help myself.)
I have gushed over how much I love this pack and have also pushed back a bit with the lack of masc items in CAS as well as the inevitable lag if you try to live out your farming fantasy with too many chickens and cows. At the end of the day, I have to say this is my favorite expansion pack so far. Would I recommend this pack to everyone? If you love farmhouse design, if you love taking gardening to the next level, if you love caring for farm animals, if you love the cottagecore aesthetic… YES. Get this pack. Cottage Living really covers all the bases here with really cute CAS items, phenomenal build/buy items, and gameplay that we could only dream of back when The Sims 4 first came out. My cottagecore dreams that started brewing during 2020 have come true thanks to this expansion pack.
Bottom Line: Cottage Living brings the (pandemic) 2020’s cottagecore phenomenon to life in The Sims 4!
Official Rating: T for Teen
Genre(s): Single Player, Casual, Simulation
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