The Sims Social. One of the most anticipated games to hit Facebook, many have been waiting to see how this powerhouse franchise does in the world of fast-paced casual gaming. Well, luckily the Sims franchise is a pro at this genre already. The Sims series pretty much created the genre of casual gaming, so creating a version of the game for Facebook is a match made in heaven.
But in a world dominated by farms, pets, and castles, does it have what it takes?
This is my humble abode. And yes, that’s me down in the corner with my beady little eyes and sharp eyebrows. And I think my little avatar is daydreaming about red berets?
The point of The Sims Social (they could have made a better name) is to have a house that is worth the most. That is how players are ranked. My house is worth $51,000. Not too shabby I guess. I have a relatively small little pad, but it’s packed with electronics and art that boost its value. To help earn money, you complete missions and you upgrade skills. I’m a creative type, so I work away on my typewriter, canvas, guitar, and keyboard, racking up my art and writing skills. I have a little BBQ to boost my cooking skills… but I’ve never used it. Pretty much like real life.
Like in other casual games, you work with a certain amount of energy and you decide if you want to level up skills (leveling up writing for instance opens up new types of computers) or if you want to complete missions which help guide the player. A mission looks like this:
This mission is to boost my self-esteem. This is where my first critique of the game comes in. I’m okay sending individual people messages about this game because I can choose people who actually play this game. I hate when the game forces me to create posts that show up on feeds, as opposed to direct messages. 1.) People rarely see these posts so it takes forever to accomplish these missions, and 2.) it takes forever to specify which individuals I want to see these posts. The three missions I need to complete right now all depend on me posting this to my wall, having the few people that actually play this game see it, and then hoping that they click it. Thank you Alex for “spreading the hype” about me. I appreciate that.
In my past reviews, I try to mention how much the game depends on you having friends that play the game. In The Sims Social, it’s a mixed bag. To complete these missions, it’s necessary to have friends that play the game. And even when you’re leveling up, you sometimes need friends to give you needed supplies.
Leveling up looks like this:
I’m currently working on creating Comic Book Covers but I had to skip the step for creating Comic Book Splash Pages because I didn’t have enough Paint or Pens. These are things I have to request from others, by posting on the feed. Ugh. Luckily, I am still able to progress. So, not knowing a lot of other people on this game isn’t so far a deterent.
Now, all of this so far is solely me. My house and my skills. But this is The Sims Social not The Sims Antisocial. The fun part comes when you visit others, see what kind of house they’ve built, and then interacting with them. Luckily, they don’t get notices for what you do while you’re at their house. Here’s why.
When you visit someone, the easiest thing to do is to talk. Now… I chose the action Reveal a Secret. No idea what “kissing” and “the abominable snowman” have to do with that, but I wish I had a secret that juicy.
To accomplish some missions and to upgrade some skills, sometimes it will ask for Hearts, Goodwill, or Furies. These can be obtained by doing romantic, nice, or mean actions. Sometimes to upgrade requires a great deal of these things. So, when an upgrade requires 20 Hearts, I pretty much have to man whore my way through my Sim neighborhood. I’m actually ashamed of what my poor little Sim has become. He was so innocent at first. I show up to someone’s place, give them flowers, make out, and then stroll to the next house, all for some lousy Hearts so that I can build a bench outside my house. And then the next day, the game requires I have 20 Furies, so I go house to house and get in arguments with all my friends. I call them all names, make fun of their hair, and even bring their mothers into it. All so I can buy a new guitar.
I apologize to any Sims I have hurt in this process.
So, what do I think?
It’s a solid game but it’s a little imbalanced. Its extremely quick nature is a shift from the usual Sims titles, which is fitting for a Facebook version of the game. In Sims 3, you’d work on a novel for a few minutes at a time, as opposed to 3 seconds in this version. This works to its advantage, as it’s easy to hop in for a few minutes and leave.
It is a little dependent on other friends, but since it has “Social” in its name, I understood that this may play a vital role. However, I’d much prefer to send all my gift requests in-game, instead of posting to my wall and creating spam for me and everyone else that plays (or doesn’t play) the game.
The actual house building aspect is also a little weak. The options are just a fraction of what any of the Sims titles actually carried. When you have enough money, you buy this equipment. There’s really no options, very limited color schemes, and only a few routes to upgrade. Every artist will have the same easel. I wish there was a more varied spectrum of how houses might look and how we can customize them. Also, it seems there’s a lack of things to upgrade. I chose to be creative, so I have Art and Writing to work on. Can other Sims upgrade different skills?
Maybe I’m spoiled because I know what is possible with Sims titles. You can be a thief, you can be an athlete, you can be a police officer… If I had no idea that these were even options, I’d be content with Writing, Art, and Cooking.
This game’s biggest failing is that it carries the Sims name. Its parents essentially brought the casual game into the mainstream culture. How could it possibly live up to that? If you can’t run Sims 3 on your computer or you’re content with a pretty restricted version that you can play for a few minutes at a time, The Sims Social is for you. But I consider it’s like living on the moon after knowing what living on Earth is like. You know what colors are possible but you’re living in a world of grayscale.