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Yet another game in the ever expanding The Sims Franchise, this time a version for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. As the name, very obviously, suggests it is free to play, there are however in-app purchases and advertising for other EA games more on that later in this review. This game was reviewed on the iPad 2 using the iPad version.
Let’s start at the beginning; you start in Create-A-Sim. There are many many options for hair/clothes and different traits. The different traits give funny animations; the following screenshot shows a sim with the crazy trait. I liked how I can scroll through the menus with the typical iOS sweeping movement instead of having to press a button like with the previous mobile versions of The Sims games.
Your sim immediately gets a house, it starts off with a tutorial – how to move the camera, how to interact with other sims, etc. One unexpected thing is, there is a dog! You can do social actions with him and he runs around the house to find locations to dig for treasure and money. We have the usual need bars, hunger, bladder, sleep, hygiene, social and fun. Throughout the game you are guided by goals, have two sims become friends, grow plants, etc. You can choose to do your own thing however and ignore the goals.
Two things that differ from any other Sims games, including The Sims Social. Every action is in real-time, like a Power Snooze on the bed takes 4 real minutes, Deep Sleep is 7 hours and you cannot line up several actions at once, your Sim can only do one at a time. After 4 minutes you have to remember to click the next action.
The concept of games in real-time is not new to those who play iPad/iPod/facebook games. However the Sims-Only fans will have a learning curve, it is not a fast paced game you can play this in the morning before work and with good timing skills an action can be done at the end of the day when you get home. Once you choose an action, you cannot cancel it so even if the mood bar is full they are going to finish the full time of the action.
Every action earns you experience points but actions like farming and baking also earn you money. With the experience points you level your Sims, allowing more Sims to live there, every Sim in the town give experience points to the same experience bar so it can go fast if you are good at multitasking. Money helps you buy furniture and new houses for the new Sims to live in. You also have to buy workplaces! So far I could could build the gallery, Town Hall and Stadium. The Sims then can get jobs at these locations and spend 4-7 hours there.
As mentioned before you can have several Sims, every level adds a Sim. There is a handy Sims tracker that helps you keep track of what each Sim is doing, so when one is done you can go to them immediately. Sims can also visit each other on one Sims’ lot go to the Sims tracker and select the whistle icon of the other (idle!) Sim and he is transported to that lot, you can then do social interactions with him.
Another concept not unknown to iPad/iPhone/etc players is the in-app purchases, with The Sims Freeplay you can buy two different kind of things, one is more Simoleons (no motherlode in this game!) and the other is lifestyle points, lifestyle points allow you to finish actions fast, get the sim inspired instantly, buy special furnishing, similar to SimCash in The Sims Social.
Farther into the game there will also be a hobby shop, pet shop, Caryard and a supermarket for the Sims to buy stuff at.
Overall it is not a bad game, it is very pretty and best of all, I think it is going to entertain me for a while. On my iPad 2 it runs amazingly fast, it is probably my favourite mobile version of The Sims. The game can very easily played without purchasing Simoleons/Lifestyle points, it is a choice if you want those furnitures or want the action to be done asap.
PS. One quirk I found, you can buy an unfurnished studio for new Sims… and it has 2 rooms and a bathroom. Eh… definition of a Studio is that it is only 1 room and a bathroom. Whoops?