The arrival of Sims 3 on the iPhone is a somewhat sad point for humanity. Now, our simulated life is accessible everywhere we are, liberating us from the chains of real life at a moment’s notice. Next time you go to the store, why not buy your Sim something while waiting in line? Need to go to the restroom? So does your Sim! Are you out eating alone? Your Sim isn’t!
This is of course not to poke fun at those who enjoy virtual worlds; often there are many ways to have fun in a simulated environment without just trying to live a second equally realistic life. Unfortunately, Sims 3 for the iPhone does not offer the extent of the zaniness available for the PC version. Granted, the system is smaller, but it would seem that that does not necessitate the lack of variety.
On the iPhone, you cannot create a family but instead have a single lonely Sim. This Sim can be customized, but to a very limited degree (which again, is likely a hardware limitation). Once you have made your Sim, you are thrust into the world and are given a set of mini-objectives. These can range from: “stay rested for three days”, to, “get a job”. These objectives add a more gamelike quality that I found to be missing from previous entries of the franchise. Unfortunately, after the initial rush has worn off one finds themselves feeling severely bored with The Sims 3.
While the game has potential, I found the lack of entertaining things to do eventually wore me down. After about half on hour of play I thought the Sims would have much in store for me, as the game leaves an excellent first impression. Sadly the game was too shallow and frustrating for me to enjoy for longer than that single hour of fun. Do not think that I simply cannot enjoy portable sim-like games. Animal Crossing for the DS had me hooked for weeks on end. There was just something stale about Sims 3 on the iPhone.
I would like to share a little anecdote that illustrates my frustration. You cannot build walls to block your Sim in a room. Sure, it is not what the game was designed to do, but assuredly millions have endeavored before me to kill a Sim. Instead, those who wish to watch their Sims suffer (as I am sure many do) must form a blockade around the general area of the door so that the Sim cannot reach any necessities. Once one has managed to successfully block a Sim in, they do not do anything to protest their confinement. No funny animations, no verbal exclamations, the Sim simply stands in place until they die of starvation. To add annoyance to injury, if the user has the “automation” option turned on a little notice will pop up literally 15 times a minute when the Sim does not have access to something it needs. At the moment of my one successful Sim death, my Sim died from starvation and somehow resurrected, teleported to the bed, rolled over to look at the camera and expressed its wish to “Grow tomato”. It was only after watching my living Sim tell me it wanted to grow a tomato from the comfort of its bed that the game faded to black and informed me once again that my Sim had died.
Sims does not play well with those who simply wish to enjoy their time in the world. Constant needs interrupt gameplay, and one often finds they end up forgoing doing something they wanted to in order to make a beeline for the toilet. I completely understand that this is part of what the game is, but incessantly managing a virtual human’s bowel movements does not seem like something one would like to pull out at the bus stop. The toilet is about as deep as things get, as everything from jobs to relationships are largely shallow affairs in the Sims 3. One must show up for work every day (if one wants money) on time and simply drop their Sim off. Time passes and the Sim walks out of work, leaving the rest of the day to do as the player wishes. Unfortunately the day/night cycle is extremely short and sleeping, using the facilities, taking a shower and planting the odd tomato will take up pretty much every second not spent at work.
While the Sims 3 for iPhone seems at first to hold hours of unbridled entertainment, the player will be surprised at how quickly they come crashing into the wall of broken expectations. This is not to say that nobody will have fun with the game, I fully expect that a good portion of people who purchase this game will feel that they got their money’s worth. I just happen to feel that the experience of Sims 3 feels both limited and tedious. I did have loads of fun messing around with the neighbors, but having to spend time as I wait in line somewhere procuring food for my starving Sim is just not fun.
I would have had monumentally more amounts of fun with this game had it not included so many of the silly needs for your Sim. Understandably, this is part of the series but it does not translate well to a platform where game time is usually limited. Sims fans (and there are literally millions of you out there) will likely have tons of fun with the smaller version of their favorite game, but all others should think before picking this one up.
The Sims 3 is available for $9.99 on the app store. There is an app called the Sims Sampler, but it is only an advertisement and not actually a lite version as one may expect.
While the game certainly looks great, the large amounts of clipping, awkward camera controls and frequent loads detract from its visual splendor. Additionally, there are hundreds of reports of crashes on the App store (yes, even from people that restarted their devices) but I experienced none.
The actual quality of the audio in game is respectable, and the game does allow one to play his/her own music. I just wish some more audio tracks for the Sims’ speech had been recorded… if I hear, “Ahaha Woooo Lardidarg! Ahahaha” once more I may just die.
I came to the Sims looking for a deeper experience on the iPhone, and now feel slighted as if the cook has forgotten to put the meat in my hamburger. Perhaps the most frustrating part about interacting with the Sims is that the developers simplified the wrong parts of the game, putting all of the menial tasks at the tip of your fingers and taking out the bulk of the fun.
Diehard Sims fans will no doubt have their Sims itch scratched while on the go, but I cannot imagine myself becoming very invested in this title. Integration with the PC version would have been nice.