Mar 22, 2013
The Simpsons is a national institution. It embodies everything so wrong — and right — with our family units. Long before South Park, The Simpsons made us gasp in horror and rueful self-recognition. Thus, for anyone who grew up in that era, The Simpsons Tapped Out should be a welcome trip to yesteryear.
Homer is definitely Homeric in this game. Inexplicably, he is still the safety inspector at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, and, as we all came to expect, his incompetence (and apparent love of goofing around on a tablet) finally destroyed Springfield. My job was to manage this construction simulation game and rebuild Springfield, as well as find the other eponymous members of the Simpson clan.
The tutorial can best be described as quite thorough. It includes an interesting opening cutscene that I actually enjoyed; it reproduced Homer’s safety console novelty. I then learned how to build and recreate stuff using the resources that I had.
For folks that have played any of EA’s Sims games, a lot of the gameplay will feel familiar. I built properties, found other characters, completed tasks and also spurred cash-garnering activities for the characters. A lot of the activities matched the well-known characterizations of the main players. I liked that Lisa could read a book, or that Apu could go into work extra. There was a lot of personality built into the game engine, and the developers capitalized on the built-in storylines quite effectively. Even allowing Homer to slack off watching endless TV marathons had a ring of believability to it.
Different activities had different payouts, so there were opportunity costs to consider. There were also completion times to consider. The dialogue was funny without being smarmy. The game has in-app purchasing to expedite speed of play, but I was able to play without paying. Donuts were real commodities in this game.
I thought the game ran the risk of becoming monotonous at times; I also think that some tasks could be expedited.
Still, for true fans of the series, the faithful reproduction of the graphics will be especially sweet, especially when viewed with the rest of the package. It looked like the original, down to Homer’s lumbering gait. In this case, familiar is very, very welcome.