The Simpsons have not been the greatest of luck when it comes to video games. Inspite of the cartoon family’s uncontrolled televisual success, the series’s brand of humor has not quite worked in an interactive setting.
So that it’s no surprise to see EA hedging its bets with The Simpsons: Tapped Out, a FarmVille clone built around a freemium model that is with its licence just as far as its own gameplay to drag in the punters.
The result isn’t terrible, though nagging time-sinks are the bag, but it continues the ribbon of underwhelming games assembled around among the greatest names in the entertainment market tapped out cheats.
The match starts with Homer in the office, jabbing at an iPad-like apparatus and fretting about how boring that the FarmVille clone he’s playing is. There are a number of jokes, after which the nuclear burst wipes Springfield by the face of the Earth. It’s the endeavor to reconstruct the acceptable city but you see fit.
A tutorial walks you through the ins and outs of all town planning, teaching you how to purchase houses, complete quests, and also earn the game’s two currencies: cash and donuts. Donuts are rather rare as a witty turn of phrase, however, you can buy them for reallife currencies.
Cash buys bog-standard items – that the sort of stuff you’ll want to make a thriving community full of second-rate characters that aren’t that interesting. If you’d like the series’s big guns, you will have to devote donuts.
Quests appear as exclamation marks hanging over characters’ heads.
Tap on a single and you will find just a little snatch of not-too-pithy dialogue before that character sets off on his merry way to do whatever type task you’ve set for him.
Completing these activities can take hours, however – unsurprisingly – adding that a liberal dollop of donuts into the combination will speed up things. The same goes for building new structures, which get you cash and XP in the form of taxation.
One time a day you can visit alternative Springfields – either the one the game provides, or one that the buddy has created. You get to get cash there, too, as well as friends and family may do the same in your variant of their town. You will have to have an Origin account to get the internet options, though.
Gameplay is punctuated by occasional jokes by the throw of the show. The majority of those are poking fun at you for being scammed out of one’s hard earned money by the freemium version, and more frequently than not they feel mean-spirited as opposed to satirical.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out wants to allow you to create and take care of your very own little Springfield, filling this up with characters that you love and know. In the end, though, it all seems just a bit overly cloying. It disturbs at you for focus, and rewarding consistent play but charging one to reap the benefits if you miss a day.
And when it comes to the gameplay, there simply isn’t enough variety to keep you amused. Much like Homer at the onset of the match, all you’re doing is tapping on the screen, and deciding whether or not to devote your hard-earned snacks on speeding things up.
Everything you’re left with is really a parody which is way too close to the real thing for relaxation.