A timely seasoning.
The Sims 3 universe is a virtual Pleasantville. Everyone in town can be easily approached for a friendly chat, Sims go about their daily routine with a jaunty attitude, and every day is perfect for golf: sunny, no wind, blue skies, and a level of comfort found only by dipping in a bath that's at just the right temperature. In this digital world, Mother Nature never gets menstrual cramps.
The Sims 3: Seasons changes all this. Similar to The Sims 2: Seasons before it, this latest and eighth expansion for The Sims 3 builds upon the passing of time by wrapping the world in a temperate climate with the occasional weather change. Depending on the season and a dose of random chance, it will suddenly start to rain, snow, fog, or hail. Players can control how many in-game days spring, summer, autumn, and winter last and whether each season even exists at all. Want a town where only summer and winter exist? Have at it! (With global warming, that's how it's gonna be anyway.)
This realistic simulation of weather, however, sometimes interrupts outdoor errands and activities. Though a little light rain doesn't do much harm, staying in extremely bad weather for too long causes negative moodlets that become progressively more severe. This includes becoming too sweaty and potentially sunburned during summer and getting frostbite during winter. Even if a Sim wears suitable clothing for either season, this effectively shortens any foray outside of the house.
Fortunately, this does not extend to the variety of seasonal events, which any player will want to experience to their fullest extent. The spring festival takes over central park with kissing booths, horseshoe shootouts, and a dancing competition. Beach gatherings during the summer are great for grilling barbecue meat and for Sims to dip into the ocean to cool off. In autumn, Sims can bob for apples and dress in costumes for trick or treating. If you match this day on a full moon while running The Sims 3: Supernatural, you can watch the insanity ensue. Then in the winter, Sims can build snowmen, make snow angels, and go snowboarding on a half-pipe.
Seasons contains a wealth of new purchasable items, plus several sports like soccer, snowboarding, roller skating, and ice skating. The latter three sports build passive skills that eventually let Sims perform tricks for show and for lifetime rewards, and all of them can be played at any time regardless of the season. Romantic options have been expanded to include love letters and online profiles.
Sims can also befriend aliens, and though players can't create aliens from the character generator, they can potentially marry them into their family and force them to take a part-time job at the Science Facility as a Test Subject. Hey, that's what they get for abducting you and probing you in who knows what places.
While the Seasons expansion dynamically alters both time and weather, it doesn't impact much of the core gameplay and most of the seasonal activities are one-time affairs. Attending each festival once is enough. The same goes for the majority of the seasonal items added to the buy catalogue.
In short, this expansion falls slightly short of how interesting and deeply embedded the Supernatural expansion was. That said, Seasons supplies a depth to what can feel like an endless sunny crawl of hours and minutes in The Sims 3. For that, the change of pace is well worth the price of admission.