Free-to-play time management games seem like they won’t be going away any time soon. I’m not sure if it’s because developers feel they can make a ton of money charging players to speed up processes, or if players love how easy free-to-play games are to play, or a combination of both.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out places all of the characters, locales, and humor you’d expect from a Simpsons game, but puts a free-to-play spin on things by having you take control of rebuilding Springfield back to “normal.” Does Tapped Out bring a unique experience to the free-to-play model or is it just another free-to-play game in an already crowded genre?
The Simpsons: Tapped Out starts off with Homer enjoying a free-to-play game on his myPad while at work at the nuclear power plant. Thanks to his neglect, the power plant explodes and completely wipes Springfield off the map. The player is tasked to rebuild Springfield through a number of missions that involve various characters from The Simpsons cast.
One area of the game I was very pleased with was its execution of offering a genuine Simpsons experience as the voice actors, writers, and artists from the TV show have worked on the game. As I played the game, it felt like I was taking part of a very long episode of The Simpsons as everything in the game was true to its original source material.
The further you progress through Tapped Out, the more Simpsons characters will be made available, which can be used to perform tasks that will reward the player with cash and experience points. Cash can be used to purchase various items like buildings, decorations, and other items. Experience points increases the player’s level, which then unlocks more content and buildings.
As with almost all free-to-play time management games, players are given the option of speeding up the process of nearly everything that requires time to complete through the use of special donuts. Thankfully, EA has made it possible to acquire these special donuts without needing to spend real money through in-app purchases. You can easily spend your cash you’ve acquired through the game to purchase donuts, but if you need your donut fix asap, you can always opt-in to spend money on donuts.
What would a free-to-play game be without any social aspects? Tapped Out allows you to add friends through EA’s Origin platform to a mini-map of other Springfields. When you visit a Springfield, you’re allowed to help your neighbor-eeno by completing tasks for them like collecting income tax on houses and businesses. If you’re feeling mischievous, you can spend your time raising hell in town like spray painting your neighbor’s school.
FINAL THOUGHT: I was skeptical of The Simpsons: Tapped Out and was going to pass it off as another free-to-play cash cow, but after spending some time with the game, I was very pleased with the experience and how true it was to The Simpsons experience. Tapped Out is a treat for fans of free-to-play games and will certainly lure fans of The Simpsons into experiencing a free-to-play game with its humorous writing, original voice actors, and artists.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is now available for iOS with an Android release coming soon.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out (FREE) – [iTunes Link]