As The Sims approaches ten years in a series, it's safe to say that it's gone through some changes. We've seen Sims games focusing on fame and fortune, medieval times, pets and a true plethora of outside-the-box options. So in some ways it's both back to business and refreshing when it comes to The Sims Freeplay. Created with the iPad and iPhone specifically in mind, The Sims Freeplay is based mostly in reality - and a surprisingly expansive one, especially for a free title. PALGN was able to get a heads-up on the game before its release, and here's what we found out.
You start Freeplay with four fully customisable avatars in a bare-bones town, oozing with potential. Starting at the bottom of the social ladder, your characters are unemployed and only have one option available to them as their first job: artists. As you progress other jobs become available. In our sneak peek we also saw options to become firefighters, interns, politicians and more. Having a job isn't the only way to earn money (known in game as simoleons), but it's certainly the one which nets you the most quickly. You can find incremental amounts of money in other ways - at some houses, it naturally comes up over time, in addition to any pet dogs owned digging up the backyard to find dribs and drabs of simoleons
The simoleon is definitely king in Freeplay, as it's needed to buy vital items to furnish both your home and the town you live in. The very first task you must complete is to buy a two-star stereo system which costs 400 simoleons. It might not seem like much at first, but it can take quite a long time to accumulate so many simoleons and finish the task. Not all tasks strictly involve cash, but all tasks eventually add to LP and Pp which, in turn, levels up your Sims and makes more options available to them. In short, it helps them win at life.
At the start of the game, you can barely afford a stereo, let alone extra houses for all the other citizens to live in that you will inevitably come across. Starting at 1000 simoleons, an unfurnished studio is the bottom of the barrel for residence. Down the line, you can buy a bigger house, townhouse and even a mansion if your Sim's career takes off. Outside of the housing sector, there are other vital buildings that you must in time have constructed, such as a firehouse to employ future firefighters and to save the town in case of burning, as well as a town hall and stadium to make your Sims truly happy. None of these things come cheap, however and it can take a long time. Undertaking any action is done in real time, but there are options to speed things up if you use up points.
The touch-screen format for The Sims Freeplay is surprisingly intuitive. We spent our time on the iPad version and the controls were uncomplicated. There are plenty of display buttons for the different options available for tweaking, and moving a Sim around to a particular spot is as simple as tapping the Sim and then pointing out where you want them to go or what object to interact with.
There are some items that can be bought with actual cash, but they're mostly of the variety that can be found in game. You can buy major buildings and truckloads of LP if you're the kind of person that wants to speed the progress of your town up a bit, but they're not essential. Most of what you really need for your Sims and the town to take off can be found or earned in-game. In a sense you can argue that The Sims Freeplay is living up to its moniker because of this, in contrast to a lot of other social and mobile games.