The Simpsons Tapped Out
EA Games, iTunes
Free; quality graphics; excellently written; social connectivity
Internet based; time consuming
The Simpsons Tapped Out tasks you to rebuild Springfield after a nuclear explosion destroys Matt Groening’s fictional town in a hilarious, fun-packed new iOS game.
Released today and available free on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, EA Games’ Tapped Out requires users to erect buildings, create an environment and perform tasks in real-time to resurrect the town after Homer, while playing on his ‘myPad’, neglects the nuclear power plant’s safety protocols.
Thankfully none of the lovable characters were hurt in the nuclear explosion.
Rebuilding is a task Homer is not too happy about, delivering laconic lines such as “I wish this was a shooter game” when given duties. Definitely check out the humorous intro video; it is well worth a watch.
Beginning with a tutorial which steps you through the basic features and buttons, Tapped Out leaves the control of the town to your discretion, enabling a unique, adaptable game experience.
Joined by Lisa Simpson, Homer is tasked to clean up and build iconic buildings, each of which creates a character closely associated with it. Each has a list of tasks to compete, drawn from past television episodes. For example, Apu arrives with the construction of the Kwik-E-Mart and can be tasked to work ridiculously long shifts to the amusement of regular Simpson followers.
Characters do not require sleep and therefore can be assigned tasks throughout the 24-hour day. As Tapped Out is a real-time game, it will take minutes to hours to complete daily tasks and will not require more than casual attention.
The game display is easy to navigate, and you are able to move and rotate buildings to create any version of Springfield you wish.
The game is run online and can be left on its own to function in the background, but it requires an internet connection and will drop out occasionally while using Wi-Fi.
The game is beautifully drawn and runs smoothly. The story dialogue is written by the writers of The Simpsons and is voiced by the actors from the hit television show to provide a realistic feel.
You can even arrest Sideshow Bob if he shows up.
A cool feature of Tapped Out is the ability to visit neighbouring towns three times in a 24 hour period, letting you interact with parallel-universe versions of Springfield, each built uniquely. This is explained by the nuclear explosion destroying space and time, an unbelievable explanation – but even the game says as much.
You connect to other players’ towns via Facebook, email, your contact list or on EA’s Origin social network.
Navigating the game is simple and easy, but you are unable to change the viewing angle by rotating, which means the town is always facing in the one direction. This can be annoying, as you cannot clearly view objects behind other objects.
The Simpsons Tapped Out is free to play but as the tasks take time for the characters to complete it can be slow; this can be corrected by the use of ‘Donuts’. The irradiated donuts speed up the gameplay and can be found around the town, gained with the completion of tasks or bought as an in-app purchase.
If you don’t want to pay to advance, checking in daily to collect money and gain experience (XP) will provide users with enough to unlock new characters, buildings and new tasks, according to EA’s public relations rep. Tracey Yong.
“You are given donuts in the game for some completed tasks but the main rewards are XP and money. The main purpose of donuts is to either complete things faster, like build Cletus’ home or purchase special items, like Scorpio’s hideout,” Yong says.
“And one last tip: Tap on Homer 10 times and you’ll receive 10 free donuts.”
The game provides a regular increase in available buildings and those characters who use them, which will hook the avid fan to this, while certainly not unique, well-constructed, entertainment-filled app.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
Regular watchers of The Simpsons will love the idioms, catchphrases, self-criticism and tongue-in check humour that Tapped Out provides, but addiction may result.
The graphics are great, the characters are fun to watch and, since it’s free, the game is definitely worth a trial.