For 18 years, The Sims has excelled at being a life simulation. Now they’re tackling the mobile world, but are they trying too hard to be a mobile game and not hard enough to be a Sims game?
The Sims is a franchise that has delighted many a person since its original release in 2000. Over the next 18 years, EA would produce several more The Sims games. These games included The Sims 2, The Sims 3, Sims Medieval, and The Sims 4. With each The Sims came the release of at least 15 expansions as well. All of a Sims lover’s money was dedicated to those expansions. In 2011, the mobile world welcomed The Sims Social, whose life was short-lived. Now, in 2018, EA has decided to start again with…
The Sims Mobile
Upon hearing that this game was released, I immediately set out to download it even as my childhood memories came back to me. Hours on end were dedicated to this franchise and so, so much money. I expected the mobile game to cost at least half of what The Sims 4 cost at full price and was prepared to budget it instead of food. To my surprise, though, it was completely free! I had already found something I loved about the game and I knew that the adventure could only get better.
When you start the game, you are asked to create your character. Because it’s a mobile game, I figured there would only be a few preset looks that you could choose from. To my delight, they kept the feature allowing you to make a custom Sim. I immediately had to decide if I wanted to take this seriously or take it to a silly and weird level. In the end, I decided I wanted to know more about the actual gameplay and so made my character quickly.
After creating your character, you are put into a home and immediately go through a tutorial. Being an avid Sims player, I went through this pretty quickly. Finally, I got into the nitty-gritty of the new features the game has to offer. You are given a job, though not one that you pick, and you must “play the event.” In this case, it’s working until the end of your shift. You have starred areas you can interact with and you must fill the progress bar to complete your shift and earn experience to level your career. While doing these events, you have one or two overarching tasks that you can choose from. The event can be longer or shorter depending on which you choose.
Finding True Love
As you progress through the game, you must create another Sim. This is your roommate. I decided to keep the age-old tradition of making my Sims fall in love. I dedicated a few hours to getting them together. It brought back memories of my original Sims days and I was pleased to find that this aspect of the game was kept very much the same.
As you delve deeper into the game, though, you’re introduced to the society we live in today–a social society. With the introduction of “Parties”, we are given a chance to mingle with other players. You can invite friends to your “Parties” or visit them at theirs. You can even interact with their Sims. With the social world controlling our lives, this new feature seems very important and very interactive. But, I found that this game is far from perfect.
Far From Perfect
With The Sims on PC, the idea of cheating to get by in life was born. How many times have I used the cheat “Motherlode” to afford fancy furniture and get the coolest things for my Sims… I could even afford to travel and go to those far away Sims places. And, of course, I knew the right cheat to keep my Sims from ever being unhappy or unclean by playing with their attributes as much as I wanted. Achieving these goals was a reality and I could get everything I needed with that one cheat. Now, because this game is free in The App Store, you must buy your way in to get ahead.
You still have Simoleons but you must earn those from doing other things. Not even working gives you them. And then there is SimCash, which can be earned in small increments throughout the game or bought with your real, hard earned cash. Hello, mobile game microtransactions! What would I ever do without you?
Of course, what mobile game would be complete without “energy?” This did it for me. The moment I am limited in my playtime because I don’t have enough “energy,” I say screw it. I am not going to spend money to buy SimCash so that I can buy a stupid ass cupcake that will give me a fourth of the energy I need! Everything costs energy! Want to do an event? Well, that costs energy. Want to socialize with your roommate? Costs energy! Eventually, because energy can be earned over time, I quit playing so it would build up. Then, when I remembered that I had the game, I went back and played for another 5 minutes until the energy was gone again!
Of course, in the 5 minutes that I played, the game ate up half my battery life. But all of us who have played the PC Sims on our laptops for hours on end know that no Sims game is complete without the utter destruction of our battery life. Really. I should have been prepared to ruin my phone battery. I suppose I had just hoped that they would have fixed that in the last 18 years. I guess I’ll have to wait another 18; then, it will only ruin a fourth of my battery life.
Overall, I feel that while The Sims Mobile really tried to keep with the original aesthetic of The Sims franchise, they could have spent more time on it. The concept of “energy” ruined the game for me; there is nothing that will make me want to put a game down more than literally making me wait to play the game. While I was able to play with my Sim and its creation, I was not able to build my home or even choose a home for myself. I normally would not be willing to spend money on a mobile game, but if they had done away with the microtransactions and made me spend a small amount of cash on the game itself, I would have.