If there’s one thing I know about The Sims series, people either love it or hate it. For many, the idea of simulating life in the form of pixels just isn’t their thing. If you fall into that group, no hard feelings, but you’ll probably want to skip reading this review. If you are a fan like myself, Electronic Arts is sure to please with the latest installment of its smash-hit franchise.
As many of you know, The Sims: FreePlay was released earlier this week for Android. I’ve played the game for the past few days, and I’m quite pleased with the overall experience. Before you run off to install, there are a few things you’ll want to take note of. First and foremost, there is absolutely no charge to play the game, hence the name FreePlay. The game requires a WiFi connection, but 4G connectivity is said to be in the works, so you’ll soon be able to keep up with your Sims wherever you go.
The Sims: FreePlay is slightly different from earlier versions of the game. The first variation you will notice is the implementation of time-based click-and-play goals. Picture a mix of two games, the first being your typical Sims experience and the second being Mafia Wars, Farmville or any similar game where you need to check back periodically to complete goals and earn XP, cash and other in-game trinkets. Again, we tread on thin ice here, as the previously mentioned games also have a love-hate relationship in the community.
Generally speaking, I’m not much for that type of game, but the mixture of the two styles actually sits very well with me. Over the past few days, I’ve found myself compelled repeatedly to check in on my Sims and set them up on goals that need large amounts of time to complete before I go to work or turn in for the night.
FreePlay offers players the chance to fully customize up to 16 Sims with an assortment of variables that can be applied. You can choose to be a wealthy tycoon, or you can play the role of a crazed loon who acts like a clucking chicken occasionally — the choice is all yours. You can build your homes from the ground up, or you can take the easy route and buy them pre-furnished, provided you have enough simoleans to pay the piper.
Simoleans are the familiar in-game currency, used in every installment of the game, including FreePlay. They can be earned by completing tasks, dug up by your trusty dog, or earned simply by signing into the game each day. You can also earn them by tending to your garden, cooking different foods and acquiring jobs. Of course, you can also spend real-life cash and pick them up via in-game purchase, but what fun is that, right?
Players can additionally earn “Life Points”, which can be used to instantly finish objectives or spent on special items that will make your Sims’ lives easier. Spend them wisely though, as you don’t want to find yourself tapped out when an important need for them arises. LP’s can be earned by completing goals and can even be retrieved by your dog on rare occasions.
Another cool thing about FreePlay is the lack of time speed-ups you’re accustomed to in earlier versions. FreePlay operates in real-time, so there are no alternative speeds. If you’re playing in the morning, it’s morning in the game. Same thing at night. As you progress further in the game, objectives require increasingly longer periods of time to complete, so as I previously mentioned, I like to make my Sims all return to their homes for a deep sleep (you get more XP for making your Sims sleep in their own homes).
The Bottom Line
I’m giving this game a 4-out-of-5, strictly for the lack of 4G connectivity. Otherwise, The Sims: FreePlay is a very solid effort from EA, and I’ve truly enjoyed playing it so far on my Asus Transformer. I’m hoping the developers hold true to their word and bring mobile play into the mix so this game can get the 5-star rating it deserves.
If you’d like to give it a spin, make your way to the Android Market via the link below. Make sure you have about 600 MB of free space, as you’ll need to download the required files to make the game function. I hope you’ve enjoyed my review and stay tuned, AndroidSPIN’ers, we’ve got plenty more coming soon!
Application: The Sims FreePlay
Developer: Electronic Arts Inc