The Sims 4 Mermaids are one of the major new additions to Island Living, the 2019 expansion pack for the ever-popular life simulation game.
Themed around life on the tropical island of Sulani, the expansion focuses on beach holiday activities from sunbathing to snorkelling, as well as on the conservation of the natural environment, and the aforementioned new occult creature type - mermaids!
This page explains explains the various ways on how to become a Mermaid in The Sims 4 with a complete Mermaid guide, as well as giving you advice on how to renounce your mermaid-dom for good if you decide you prefer life as a regular human.
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What are Mermaids in The Sims 4 and how do they work?
The Sims games are all about living out your fantasy life, and who hasn't at some point fantasised about being a mermaid? Imagine a life of basking on rocks and swishing your beautiful rainbow-coloured tail around in the water! Befriending dolphins and learning the secret language of the fish! Luring unwary land-dwellers to their deaths with your irresistible siren song!
Well, good news: you can do literally all of those things in Island Living! That's right: mermaid powers in this game include everything you could ask for, including two different methods to straight-up murder unsuspecting swimmers, because apparently the developers know what Sims players like! Or, if underwater homicide doesn't float your boat for some reason, you can instead choose to... be nice, I guess?
The best part: unlike the poor Little Mermaid, you don't have to make a punishing binary choice between sea and shore. As a mermaid in The Sims 4 you're part of both worlds, and the transition between your human and mermaid forms is as simple as entering or exiting the water.
Wherever they roam, mermaids in The Sims 4 have one major difference that marks them out from their human counterparts: their hygiene need is replaced with the new hydration need, and while its depletion isn't fatal, you will need to attend to it regularly if you want to make use of your mermaid powers (most of which only work in the ocean anyway).
A bath-tub will do the job when it comes to keeping hydrated - so technically, you can have your mermaid Sim live in a 38th floor apartment in downtown San Myshuno if that's what your heart desires. (The Sims meets Splash, anyone?)
But Sulani, the tropical location added in Island Living, is the obvious destination for your mermaid Sims: it's the first world in The Sims 4 to allow wild swimming, free from the artificial restrictions of swimming pools; and the ocean is where mermaids really come into their own.
Aside from the hydration need, mermaids function much like regular Sims while on land. Get them in the sea, however, and you have access to a myriad of unique powers and abilities: from replenishing needs in the water to summoning sea creatures; and, of course, their powerful siren voices, which can be put to all sorts of uses - for good or for evil.
How to become a Mermaid in The Sims 4 by finding Mermadic Kelp
If you're looking to make one of your playable characters into a mermaid, there are a few different methods you can follow: an in-game method; a character creation method; and - it almost goes without saying in a Sims game - a cheating method.
Let's start with the in-game method first, and if you're planning on having your Sim become a mermaid through officially sanctioned in-game methods, be prepared for the horrors of canonical mermaid transformation.
How do you become a Mermaid? One quick nibble of Mermadic Kelp, a simple in-game food item, is all it takes to turn you into a mermaid. There are two main ways to get your hands on some. The first is reliable, but slightly underwhelming if you want to experience everything the Island Living pack has to offer.
The second depends on the fickle mercy of a random number generator, and therefore can be far more time-consuming; but it does give you an excuse to explore Sulani along the way.
Method 1: Buy Mermadic Kelp from the rewards store
This is the easier way to acquire mermadic kelp in-game. Every time a Sim completes a Whim (shown in the thought bubbles that hover around their character portrait) or an Aspiration Goal (found under the Aspiration tab), they'll gain a number of Satisfaction Points.
These Satisfaction Points can be spent in the Rewards Store (also found under the Aspiration tab) in exchange for various perks.
The Mermadic Kelp reward costs 500 Satisfaction Points. For reference, most Whims and Goals yield an average of 25 or 50 Satisfaction Points. Therefore, if you're attentive to what your Sim wants and are sure to keep them in a good mood, you'll probably only need a couple of in-game days to accrue enough Satisfaction Points to buy yourself a ticket to the life aquatic.
You don't even need to glance at the ocean once while you work towards your goal, if you so choose; indeed, depending on your Sim's Aspiration, you might find it easier to earn Satisfaction Points while visiting the library, wandering the desert, or just cooking dinner at home.
Method 2: Seek Mermadic Kelp in the world of Sulani - alone or with a friend
Mermadic Kelp doesn't work like a regular plant in The Sims 4, in that it doesn't spawn out in the open and can't be harvested or grown at home. However, that's not to say that there's no Mermadic Kelp out there in Sulani; you just need to know where and how to look.
Befriending a dolphin is one fun way to get hold of the kelp you crave. Dolphins spawn randomly around orange buoys out in the ocean; approach the group, and one will swim over to greet you.
Once you've become sufficiently chummy with a dolphin it can be asked to do tricks; ask it to 'Fetch' and it will bring you back an item from the seabed. There's a small chance that a piece of mermadic kelp will be the gift your friend retrieves for you.
If you prefer to go it alone (or just aren't comfortable exploiting your dolphin buddy for personal gain), there are a few other ways you can find kelp:
- Exploring the cave near the Admiral's Wreckage lot in the Mua Pel'am neighbourhood
- Angling from one of the many fishing spots on Sulani's shoreline
- Deep sea diving from a red-topped orange buoy.
All of these activities have a small chance of yielding up a piece of Mermadic Kelp as 'treasure'.
How to use Mermadic Kelp in The Sims 4
However you get hold of it, the item will be found in your Sim's inventory; simply click on it and select the 'Eat' option.
Once you've chowed down, your Sim will get a new Energised moodlet called 'Strange Sensations', with the accompanying text suggesting that they might like to find themselves a large body of water.
Follow that prompt and enter the ocean, and voila! Once your Sim is up to their waist in the water, their new mermaid form will be revealed! Cosmetic details, such as fin colour, will be randomised, but this isn't permanent: you can edit their mermaid appearance using the 'Change Sim' option on a mirror or dresser.
How to turn a Mermaid back into a human in The Sims 4
After the transformation, Mermadic Kelp can still be consumed, and in fact is now an extremely satisfying meal: eating just one restores 50% of a mermaid's hunger meter.
But beware! Eating two Mermadic Kelp in a row will turn your mermaid back into a human! Of course, if for some reason you want to turn back into a human, you might regard the rapid ingestion of two pieces of mermadic kelp as the 'cure' for your aquatic affliction... it's all a matter of perspective really.
Other ways to get Mermaids in The Sims 4
For those players who want to dive right in and play with a mermaid character quickly, The Sims 4 has you covered in two other ways.
Create a Mermaid using Create-A-Sim
You can, if you prefer, simply create a mermaid in Create-A-Sim, either by starting a new game, or creating a new household to move in within an existing save file.
Upon entering Create-A-Sim, the randomly generated starting character will be a vanilla human. (Unless you're using the game's new Story Mode, which might assign you a mermaid character based on your answers to the quiz questions.)
To create a mermaid, you need to click the 'Add Character' icon next to the current character's portrait on the lower left hand corner of the screen, and select 'Add Occult Sim > Add Mermaid' from the pop-up menu.
This will create a second randomly generated character, but this one will be very unambiguously a mermaid: the Create-A-Sim background takes on a watery effect, a shoal of fishes will briefly swim around the new character, and - most tellingly - they'll have a fish tail instead of legs.
(You can delete the original human character by clicking the little cross on their character portrait, assuming you want this to be a mermaid-only household.) From here on in, the character creation process is much the same as always, except that you have both human and mermaid forms to customise.
There is one potentially major downside to making a mermaid in Create-A-Sim: you have to start from scratch. There's no way to import an existing human (or vampire/alien/ghost) character and change them into a mermaid during character creation.
This means that, even if your favourite Sim is safely stored in your library, ready to be re-added to your game as many times as you please, you can't turn them into a mermaid with a few simple clicks; you'll need to try something else. Which brings us rather neatly to...
Using Mermaid cheats
Let's be honest, cheating is a staple of The Sims series, and has been throughout the franchise's twenty-year history. You know it, I know it, and the developers know it - and no-one's judging anybody for it! That's why, to this day, the makers of The Sims go out of their way to make their cheat codes readily accessible and easy to use.
To become a mermaid using cheats, follow these steps:
- Open the cheats console. (See our The Sims 4 cheats page for details on how to do this.) The console appears on the upper left hand of the screen
- Type and enter testingcheats on or testingcheats true (either will work) to enable debugging cheat.
- With your mermaid-to-be as your active character, enter the following cheat: Traits.Equip_Trait Trait_OccultMermaid
A chime will sound to indicate that you have entered the cheat correctly. The hidden 'Mermaid' trait is then activated on your character, and you should be able to proceed the same as if you had followed Method 1. (However, your Sim will not receive the 'Strange Sensations' moodlet that indicates the acquisition of the trait in normal gameplay.)
Be aware, however, that using debugging cheats to alter a Sim in-game carries a risk of causing glitches and corruption, so always save your game first.
If you encounter any errors and want to undo the harm - or if you simply want to reverse the process and have a mermaid become a human - follow Steps 1 and 2 as above, then for Step 3 substitute the cheat code Traits.Remove_Trait Trait_OccultMermaid.
Now you know how mermaids are made in The Sims 4, and you're ready to begin devoting full time to floating off the coast of Sulani!