So many games on the App Store are based on the principle of building something, waiting a few hours for it to finish, and then come back and building something else. These energy-based free-to-play (F2P) games are some of the most popular on the App Store, but for many gamers, the tropes of these games themselves propagate are an annoyance.
It’s admittedly confusing, but the game is actually quite fun in spite of the fact that – at it’s core – it’s the butt of the joke.
Mmm… Free To Play
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is extremely typical of the genre. You place buildings around the map, have the Simpsons characters perform tasks to earn you XP and money, along with all of the other freemium bells and whistles you might expect from a game of this sort. So, with that in mind, how is it featured on our Best iPhone Games Page?
To put it simply, it’s one of the greatest pieces of Simpson’s fan service you will find aside from the show itself. Instead of placing generic houses, you are building recognizable landmarks from the show. All of the characters you are giving tasks to are the ones you know and love from the cartoon. Put aside the standard gameplay, and Tapped Out becomes a fantastic game just for the way it shows Springfield.
As with everything on offer here, the controls are very simple. Choose the next building you want to place, tap the desired location and wait. When you want a character to perform a task, tap them, tap the task, and wait. It’s free-to-play, remember? There are some occasions where there is a little too much going on, and tapping prcecisely what you want proves difficult, but this mostly only a problem when playing on a smartphone.
While Tapped Out is not rewriting the book on what F2P games do, it’s so loaded with Simpsons awesomeness that, for fans of the show, it’s impossible not to get some enjoyment. Couple that with the irony of the game openly mocking free-to-play hooks while peddling the very things it is belittling, and Tapped Out even manages to redeem some of its biggest flaws.
Visuals & Sound
How about this: it looks like The Simpsons. Characters are immediately recognizable, as is every location you are plopping down on the map. The color pallet perfectly matches the show, and it’s just a great-looking game overall. Even when zoomed all the way in to really look at the individual characters, it’s easy to forget that you are playing a game and not watching an episode of the show.
There are also a few original animated scenes in the game (such as the opening that sees Homer playing a free-to-play game on his myPad and blowing up Springfield) which really adds to the charm.
Each characters sounds like the show, and jokes are delivered with the same punch that you’d expect from a cast script reading. Pretty much every action features some kind of dialog or sound, so there’s quite a lot of audio in-game. That being said, many of the sounds repeat, and they do become slightly annoying if this is a game you plan to spend a lot of time with.
The in-app purchases for this game are extremely standard for world-building social games. You can purchase a special currency, aptly called Donuts in this case, which lets you speed up build processes and generally make things in the game happen faster. Prices are also par for the course, with transactions ranging every from $0.99 all the way to $99.99 for the big spenders. Remember: Simpsons or not, this is still EA – a company responsible for a huge number of F2P games on Google Play and the App Store.
As far as F2P games go, nothing here is egregious, and like all of these games, you can play it without spending a penny as long as you are willing to wait a little while for things to get done. Despite the wait times, The Simpsons fans still get their references and tributes to the show, and that’s really what this game is all about.
Pure Fan Service
EA, in spite of being a company that has upset many gamers recently, has made some fantastic decisions here. In their never-ending experiment in ways to suck money out of gamers using F2P mechanics, they have come up with probably the best way of all: mocking the very mechanics they are selling.
If you love The Simpsons, this game is pure fan service, and it’s done with almost flawless execution. While the gameplay might be a little generic, it’s still fun, and adding in the heavy dose of the cartoon only makes it better. It’s definitely worth a look, especially since you can jump in for free.
Have you played The Simpsons: Tapped Out? What did you think? Hit the comments section below and let us know!