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The Sims FreePlay: Hands-On for the iPhone

By , December 21, 2011 | iPhone
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The Sims franchise has been around for a long time and EA has just released a free to play app version for the iPhone and iPad. Here’s a hands-on review on how this game plays.

 

The Gameplay

When you begin, it comes with lots of customisation but people who has played The Sims on other platforms will probably see it as a trimmed down version. You do need to be connected to the internet either through Wifi or 3G when you start each time. After all the initial setups, you’ll find that the game is pretty simple and straightforward game where you do what normal people do with their lives like working, going to the loo, taking snacks, flirting, decorating your home, etc. The game actually runs in real-time where the day and night syncs with your own day-night cycle. I found that out after wondering how I could speed up their activities which I couldn’t but there’s other ways to do that which I’ll get into later on.

 

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The Controls

Controls are pretty simple for you to navigate around where there’s 3 major types of gestures. First is the one finger slide which will pan the camera across the screen. Second is pinching to zoom in and out. Third would be a 2 finger movement to rotate the screen around. There’s also a map view for you to jump around homes.

 

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The Characters

You can manage up to 16 Sims as you level up and there’s a whole bunch of things you can customise with your Sims. You can change their facial features, skin tone, hairstyles and their dressing. There’s also a personality setting that you can change for your Sims like Rocker, Socialite, Romantic, Sporty, Vigilante, etc. If you’re lazy you can hit the randomise button to give you something different each time.

 

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The Sim’s Needs

There’s 6 basic needs for your Sims that you need to care of which is Hunger, Bladder, Energy, Hygiene, Social and Fun. That’s indicated by the 6 icon indicators at the bottom left of the screen. Keep them in the green level and your Sims will be happy and you earn more XP points.

 

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Managing multiple Sims

Managing 16 Sims can be quite a challenge, so there’s a SimTracker to help you out where you can actually send a Sim back to their home or just tap the Whistle button to send that Sim to you. Socialise your Sims and if you’re interested in that particular neighbour, bond them together by telling jokes or giving hugs and you’ll see their relationship progress further.

 

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The Points and Currency

The currency in the Sims is called Simoleons which you earn from your career or just by completing tasks like play digging with your dog or plant some vegetables. Most tasks gives you XP points as well as Lifestyle Points which is the premium currency. You can actually use Lifestyle Points to speed up the activities and tasks if you’re impatient. Lifestyle Points can also be purchased with real money if you’re really desperate. So with the Simoleons you earn, you can decorate and build your dream home and there’s quite a bit of items available to you ranging from roofing, garden, audio systems, kitchen, etc. As you level up with XP points, more items will be unlocked for you to purchase like new crops for you to plant.

When you reach level 7 or so, you will then be able to build workplaces for your Sims and choose a career for them to earn more Simoleons. You can build a Gallery, Stadium, Fire Station and a Town Hall where you can assign your Sims to be Politicians, Athletes, Fire Fighters or Artists. The more properties you build, the value of your town increases which is indicated by the blue icon on the top right corner. Once you have these workplaces, you will need to check-in to the game at almost the exact time where works starts for that particular place so that you can send your Sims to work. For example, working hours for Town Hall is between 12pm – 7pm and you’ll need to get into the game around that time and you’ll see a briefcase icon visible on the left of the screen to send them to work. I had a hard time waking up at 8am to send one of my Sims who’s an athlete to work at the Stadium(working hours 8am to 12pm) and I normally missed it and will have to make her do something else for the rest of the day. The more diligent you send your Sims to work, the faster they progress and get promoted in their work and you earn more Simoleons along the way.

 

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Conclusion

EA has released a Sims version keeping all the elements that made it popular, engaging and fun to play with awesome graphics and soundtrack. While this is a free app, but it’s not too limiting and lets you take a step back from the rat race and live the life that you want virtually on your mobile. This app should look even better on the iPad. Check out the gameplay on the iPhone:-

Cost: Free
Category: Games
App size: 409 MB
Supported: iPhone & iPad

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