Review: The Sims 3


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Jul 5, 2008
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The Sims 3 from EA, $9.99
  • The Sims!
  • Decent graphics and game play
  • Game play seems less?involved
  • Attempts to use iPhone controls are lack luster
  • Concerned about in-game purchases
  • Lots of crashing

First, let me explain. I am a Sims fan. Before the Sims, I had a huge array of Sim games ? SimEarth, SimLife, SimFarm, SimCity. When the Sims came out, I bought it. And all the expansion packs. I also bought Sims 2 (although I don?t have any expansion packs). So it is natural that I give the Sims 3 for iPhone a shot.

Most people should be familiar with the concept of the Sims. For those that aren?t, basically you are playing a virtual person, and you guide the person through life trying to let them meet their goals while satisfying their needs. You interact with other Sims, you interact with furniture, you have a job to get money to buy more furniture, etc. I am not going to go through the specific game play, but rather mostly talk about the specifics of this version on the iPhone.

I don?t know how this version differs from Sims 3 for the PC. I haven?t played that, all I can do is compare it to the Sims and the Sims 2. And truthfully, this version seems, well, a little less involved. I can?t put my finger on it, but in this iPhone version is seems like I got much more into a ?rut? with my sim ? wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, watch TV, etc. Maybe the other sims games were like that, but I seem to recall having more variety of interactions. That might be because the furniture and the items in the PC games had multiple uses ? watching TV would increase fun but decrease social skills. Eating would satisfy hunger but also make you need to use the bathroom. These multiple interactions seemed to be missing in the Sims. Watching TV only makes you have fun ? no other effect. In addition, buying ?better? furniture doesn?t seem to have any effect on satisfying your needs. Whether you have the $100 ?cheap TV? or the $1500 ?modern TV? ? they both have the same effect on ?fun?. This is different from the old game, where part of the reason you need to buy better things is to make it easier to satisfy all your needs. (Note, maybe I am wrong about this, but there is no indication when buying an item that the more expensive ones are better and there is no indication when I was watching the effect of the item on my needs).

Another way the game was less involved was the furniture itself. The Sims (PC version) had HUGE options for furniture ? this game is very limited. There are pretty much only three or four ?styles? you can have for any piece of furniture, and a lot of the ?extras? (pictures, for example) were lacking from the game.

The Sims 2 also introduced the passage of time, but this seems to have vanished in this version of the Sims. Yes, you still go through the week, but your sim doesn?t age. So every week is basically a mirror of the week before. This may contribute to the seeming monotony of the game.

There seem to be a lot of little things that don?t make sense. Some activities, for example, don?t have the effect you would expect. I would have though fishing would be fun, but apparently in the Sim world it isn?t. When you get married, you would think the spouse brings some money into the household ? nope. Also, some of the attempts to incorporate the iPhone controls (like shaking the pots when cooking by shaking your iPhone) seem a little forced. The various ways to increase your skills don?t seem that?interesting. They don?t get more difficult as you try to get better, and some of them (like repairing) are just dumb.

I feel like I have harped on and on about the bad things. Now onto the good things. This is the Sims! You have a lot of the same feel from the older game (the graphics seems on par with the original version of the game). You get their language (Simlish), the money (Simoleans), you get the fun icons that appear when talking to another sim. There is a lot about this that seems faithful to the original game. In that sense, I really enjoyed the game, and the touch controls are very easy to master within the game itself. It is still fun to interact with other sims, try to work your way up the corporate ladder (in my case, I was a scientist?of course!), trying to decorate your house and make it your own, all while meeting the needs and goals of your sim. It was fun to play, no doubt about that.

I am a little concerned about the potential ?in-game purchases? that I think are planned. I don?t know why I would want to spend $.99 (or more!?!?) for a piece of Sim furniture. There had better be a very good reason to do so, or I think that people won?t use that option at all.

One last thing ? the game crashed a lot. So be prepared for that. At least two times per ?session? I was booted out, having to restart the game.

I know I have talked a lot about the negatives, and listed more cons that pros, but that mostly is because I haven't talked about the pros of the Sims game itself, which is a big plus. The Sims is a fun game, and The Sims for iPhone is a fun import of that game. What I have attempted to do is look at the specific of the game for the iPhone, rather than the game itself.

All in all, this was a relatively faithful import of the Sims. I felt some features were ?tacked on? to try and use iPhone functionality, and the game itself felt a little less detailed and involved, but it was still fun for me and enjoyable to play. For fans of the Sims, you will still get a lot of the same feel from the original version. If you are a fan, you might want to plunk down the $9.99 - I felt the game itself was just worth it. You may want to wait to see what updates are come out before you purchase. Three and a half out of five stars (almost four stars).

Rating scale:

* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.
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Thomas Woods