Micromanage Lives With The Sims FreePlay

Since the release of The Sims back in 2000, the franchise has gone from strength to strength, becoming arguably the most successful simulation game of all time. However, with Electronic Arts’ latest offering, The Sims FreePlay, the usual format has been jettisoned in favor of a freemium revenue model.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past 13 years, The Sims is a popular life simulation video game series in which you, the player, must create and take care of virtual people throughout the duration of their lives, from birth until death. Let’s find out more, shall we?

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In a Nutshell

Social, Energy, Hunger, Hygiene, Bladder and Fun: the key to a happy, fulfilled Sim. These tiny, virtual people have no free will and therefore it is your responsibility to ensure that these needs are met — after all, you created them!

When the majority of your Sim’s needs are full, they become Inspired. Inspired Sims earn significantly more XP and Simoleons for completing tasks, but more on those in just a second.

Sims with a Romantic personality fall in love quicker.

Sims with a Romantic personality fall in love quicker.

Unlike every other game in the franchise, The Sims FreePlay is set in real time and requires an Internet connection to play. Yes, unfortunately this does mean that when a Sim is tired and takes a nap, you are left with nothing to do but sit and watch unless, of course, you switch to a different Sim. Personally, I found this a little tedious and much preferred it when you could fast-forward each action.

Points Make Prizes

For every completed action, your Sim will earn a certain amount of Experience Points (XP) which are used to Level Up. Each time you advance a level, new features such as furniture, recipes and the ability to add more Sims are unlocked.

Lifestyle Points (LP) are acquired by completing goals and can be used to skip non-tutorial tasks, finish any action or complete construction instantly. They may also be used to buy Cupcakes which will instantly satisfy a Sim’s needs and Inspire once eaten.

Creating a Sim

Creating a Sim is a rather entertaining process where you can let your imagination run wild. Tweak everything from clothing, skin tone and eye color to name, gender and even their personality! Choose wisely, though — a Sim with a Romantic personality will fall in love a lot quicker than your average Sim, while a Geek would rather spend most of their time tinkering with technology than socializing with others.

Creating a Sim.

Creating a Sim.

If you are having difficulty deciding how you’d like your Sim to look, tap the Random button. This will create a Sim at random, automatically choosing a name, look and personality.

Home Sweet Home

Unfortunately, just like in real life, purchasing and furnishing a house is a costly affair. Thankfully, the game includes a free Unfurnished Studio to get you started, along with a limited amount of furniture. Every property bought thereafter will take time to build, although this can be speeded up with Lifestyle Points if you are in a hurry.

Purchasing and placing furniture.

Purchasing and placing furniture.

Access the Home Store to make changes to your property such as buying and placing furniture, or modifying wallpaper and flooring. Houses can also be built from scratch if you prefer — money permitting!

Getting Around

Navigating around the game is intuitively easy, and achievable by dragging your finger along the screen to pan the camera, using two fingers to rotate. Zoom in and out on your Sims by pinching the screen, or through tapping the magnifying glass icon in the top right-hand corner.

Look carefully and you will see a green diamond hovering above your Sim’s head. This is called a Plumbomb and indicates the Sim you are controlling. To switch between Sims, open the Simtracker located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and simply tap on their portrait to visit a Sim, or select the whistle to call them to you.

Making Money

The Sims FreePlay uses a currency called Simoleons. Simoleons can be earned through an honest day’s work, or by pursuing hobbies such as gardening and baking. Pets may also earn their keep by digging for treasure, and pouncing on pieces of fluff around the house.

Earn Simoleons by growing food.

Earn Simoleons by growing food.

Unlike in a lot of other freemium games, I found that Simoleons built up quite quickly, although if you are running low, more can be bought via an in-app purchase from as little as $4.99.

Sim About Town

Navigate around town using the Town Map. From here you can choose to build houses, workplaces or businesses. There is a catch, however. Before you are able to build on the Map, certain conditions must be met, such as reaching a specific level, or having the required number of Sims.

Access houses and workplaces via the Town Map.

Access houses and workplaces via the Town Map.

A percentage of your town value will be delivered to your mailbox every day. This, along with XP and Simoleon revenue from constructed buildings, will earn you a tidy profit, enabling even more houses to be built over time.

Workin’ 9 to 5

Once they are old enough, your Sims are able to work for a living. Before they can apply for a job, however, you will need to build a place of work on the Town Map. When choosing an occupation, don’t forget to select one to suit your lifestyle as it’s up to you to send them to and from their place of work.

XP is earned through working which will accumulate so that your Sim will receive a promotion. This will take time, although faster promotions can be obtained by visiting Promotions ‘R’ Us and purchasing a career object relevant to your Sims line of work. Doing this will enable your Sim to work overtime from home.

Once Sims are old enough, they are able to work for a living.

Once Sims are old enough, they are able to work for a living.

Younger Sims may be enrolled in a program that will allow them to attend school at different times throughout the day, earning pocket money and XP upon return. I much preferred this option as it worked around my schedule better.

The Party Boat

On the Town Map you will find The Party Boat docked upon the riverbank. Tapping on The Party Boat will present you with a menu screen where you can connect with friends and family via Facebook and Game Center.

A gift in the form of Simoleons is available to collect every day on board the boat, with more gifts available depending on the amount of people you have connected with.

Conclusion

Electronic Arts has made significant changes to this latest offering, making The Sims FreePlay more than just a straight iOS port — though this innovation itself may dishearten longtime fans of the franchise. The freemium revenue model is a mixed bag — the advertising isn’t too obnoxious, but an option to purchase a full version would have been a welcome addition. Real-time gameplay is certainly novel, and makes the playing experience far more true to life. However, sometimes this can be irritating, and take up too much of your time.

Overall, The Sims FreePlay is an excellent addition to The Sims franchise and will provide hours upon hours of entertainment for players of all ages.


Summary

Create and take care of virtual people throughout their lives.

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