The Sims 3 Review: A Town in Your Pocket

The name Sims is known to almost all gamers around the world.  The series has been so successful on PC, that it’s the best selling PC game of all time. Now, The Sims 3 for the iPhone comes out at a time where portable horsepower is beginning to catch up to the PC.   But will a portable version of such a popular PC game be able to hold its own?

In this game, there is no storyline to follow. You begin the game by designing your character through some limited options, and then get placed into the town. Here, you go about your life by getting a job and going to work, chatting with neighbours, and performing menial tasks around the house. You can place new items on your house by entering a build mode, but the house itself can’t be remodeled in the same way you would on PC. The only true goals of the game are tasks that are randomly assigned to you to perform, like kicking over a trash can or staying clean for three days.  In short, you’ll be building your own experience.

Likes

Sim interaction: The Sims will always stay fun for the crazy interactions you can make your character do. Walking into houses in the middle of the night and managing multiple relationships kept me having more fun than working through tasks.

Graphics: The game looks just like you’d expect the port to look. It’s fully 3D, and even has the ability to rotate and change the position of the camera. At times it was too intense for the system, because the game crashed trying to load certain interiors. Overall, I was really impressed with the graphics The Sims 3 pulled off and I think it really sets the bar high for other developers creating 3D worlds.

Dislikes

Task system: The entire goal system of the game is a pain to play with. At random times in the game, one of 73 new tasks will pop up that your Sim can choose to complete. Unfortunately, you can only have four tasks to want to complete at a time, and once they are locked in they cannot be removed. For myself, I had two crop growing wishes locked in, but I couldn’t figure out how to plant crops so I was stuck with two useless slots for a while.  A lot of tasks weren’t fun, were too random, and the management of tasks was a miss.

Feels empty: When you start up Sims 3, it’s hard not to feel excited because it looks so close to the PC version. But after spending more time, it begins to feel more and more like an empty shell of the game you should be playing. A lot of features you come to expect from The Sims are missing, like creating your own family and designing your own home. After a couple of hours, I started to feel as if I’ve seen everything.

The Sims 3 is a large, premium release at $9.99 and comes with a lot of expectations. While it looks impressive and has executed the three dimensional world well, the gameplay failed to hold my attention for more than a short period of time. There’s just not enough to do in your little town. If you’re a big Sims fan, buy the game. If not, you should be content with skipping this release and spending your money elsewhere.

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The Sims 3 was published by EA Mobile and is available for $9.99. I played version 1.0.85 for several hours, on an iPod Touch 2G. I did not complete all the unlockable tasks.

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