EA has been trying and failing to put The Sims on mobile. First of all, because the whole idea of The Sims is not really meant for mobile play it’s more of a sit-down and obsessively stare at your Sim as you plan their life and forget your own. But with the new mobile version, released this month, it finally seems that developer Maxis has streamlined the experience into something that feels perfectly at home on mobile.
The Sims Mobile is not a difficult game, but there are a lot of elements such as home building, the decorating and social simulation that require certain maneuverability and time investment that may not work well on mobile. So we can expect this handheld version to have a few tweaks in the traditional Sims settings. The first thing to go has to be the clunky UI that doesn’t do well on mobile, in fact, there’s a fair bit of mousing around in The Sims when you want to place a chair down, change its colours etc. In The Sims Mobile, the options are displayed on a wheel allowing you to just tap and touch as needed. As someone who spent several hours sighing and grumbling while trying to master playing with a console controller, the touch controls felt like a gift. The same goes for seeking out conversations with Sims, directing your Sim to eat or sleep, and so on. It’s all done with an easy swipe or tap.
The Sims Mobile gives you access to one Sim to start and slowly allows you to create additional custom characters. A daily checklist gives you some basic goals to achieve, like cleaning up your house, while quests offer harder challenges, like advancing in your career. The game is free-to-play but does include a timing system that goads you to make in-game purchases as a result. If you send your Sim off to work, it’ll take a few hours to complete; however, you do have the option to “help out” by directing them, therefore cutting down on the time they’d usually spend.
For every action you direct your Sim to do takes a little bit of their stock energy. Although you can recoup energy through showers, naps, and more, you’re bound to run out if you spend a lot of time tapping around. If you find your Sim dragging and you don’t want to fork over the cash to feed them a cupcake to pump up their energy, you can always leave them to complete tasks at their own pace. It’s similar to the structure that was used in previous spinoffs like The Sims Freeplay and The Sims Social.
Maxis has successfully pared down a very full series into an accessible, easy-to-play game for your commute or bedtime routine. What it sacrifices in terms of the series’s sandbox play, it makes up for with a more focused experience. The game is out now on iOS and Google Play. Check it.