The Simpsons: Tapped Out

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As some of you may know, The Simpsons Tapped Out has recently re-launched on all iOS devices. If you were one of the lucky few to get it when it was originally launched at the start of the year before it was suddenly taken down, you will be rewarded with 60 doughnuts (alongside any other doughnuts you may have purchased in the time between than and now). Check out the release trailer:

So, as you can probably tell from the trailer, the artwork and voices are done by all the real cast and crew of the Simpsons. I should really start by saying that I am a HUGE Simpsons fan. I have been watching them (over and over) since I was incredibly young, and I love every last episode. As a huge fan, I LOVE this game. I love all the references to episodes and I adore all the typical Simpsons jokes that I have grown up with. 

The basic story is that you are tasked with rebuilding the town of Springfield after Homer accidentally destroys it in a nuclear meltdown. The game is almost a parody of games like this. Planting crops and waiting for jobs to be complete is funnier through the Simpsons typical attitude and jokes which accompany you throughout the game. The character library isn't that big, but it still has enough familiar faces to please any Simpsons fan. Although it does lack some of the faces you see in most episodes, like Barney Gumble. But it makes up for it with Flanders, Krusty and even Comic Book Guy. There is an even greater selection if you're good at managing your doughnuts, or simply just purchase some (some = TONNES).

Basically, this title has two forms of currency: good ol' fashioned American dollars, which you earn frequently by completing tasks and collecting from your many houses and shops; and Donuts, which you earn in small amounts as you level-up.

This is part of EA's new FREEmium gaming initiative. The game itself is free, however, the in game purchases cost so so so so much. If you want people like Hank Scorpio, Professor Frink or even Hans Moleman, you will need to either save the 2 doughnuts you get every time you level up and occasionally you receive as a gift, OR, you will need to spend money. Professor Frink will set you back 150 doughnuts. Below is a price guide:

A Dozen Donuts (12) costs $1.99 (or €1.59)

A Stack of 60 Donuts costs $4.99. (or €3.99)

A Tray of 132 Donuts costs $9.99. (or €7.99)

A Truckload of 300 Donuts costs $19.99. (or €15.99)

A Store Full of 900 Donuts costs $49.99. (or €39.99)

A Boatload of 2,400 Donuts costs $99.99. (or €79.99)

You will be given a few free Donuts while cleaning up Springfield in the opening stages of the game with Lisa, as well as one from reaching your first level. This is primarily to get players hooked on the idea of the Donuts, and to encourage them to spend money on more! Some players have reported getting another Donut after the initial, first run of cleaning, but certainly they are incredibly rare after the first stages. You can also find some from the Mystery Prize boxes, if you're lucky. This is an aspect of the game which seems to be glitched as a lot of players report getting the same item each time from these.

Every time you collect revenue from your various homes and businesses or complete a task in The Simpsons: Tapped Out, you'll receive XP as a reward. Like in almost every other game ever, XP is needed to level-up, which allows you to purchase additional content from the in-game store. You also have to think about your conform-o-meter, which ranks you out of five stars and grants you permanent Money and XP bonuses, so long as you can keep the stars up. To increase your star rating, you have to boost your indolence, consumerism, tree-hugging, vanity, obedience, gluttony, righteousness, and socialism stats.

This is a lot easier than it sounds. Simply tap your star rating, which is located in the bottom-left of your device's screen, and you'll be able to tap on each stat for tips on how to improve it. You can boost your tree-hugging stat, for example, by planting more and more trees, and increase your gluttony stat by constructing restaurants. While you shouldn't focus solely on boosting these stats, I suggest you keep an eye on them as you play and improve them when you think you can do so without any real effort. You're likely to enhance a few of them through general play, anyway.

Each character you unlock can be given a job. Homer, for example, can be instructed to spend a couple of minutes playing with his myPad tablet, or told to break into the neighbour's house and watch their TV. Jobs take varying amounts of time to complete, and award varying amounts of Money and XP. Naturally, the longer a job takes, the bigger the rewards you'll receive. With that being said, if you don't think you'll be playingThe Simpsons: Tapped Outfor the next four hours, don't give Homer a job that only takes 12 seconds to complete. The rewards will be minimal and he'll be standing around doing absolutely nothing for a few hours until you return to the game. Put simply, it's a waste. If, however, you're going to be inside the app until your iPad's battery runs dry, quick jobs are the way to go. You'll earn more rewards from constantly doing 12-second jobs than you will from a single 24 hour job. 

Realistically, this game has only a few flaws. There is not enough characters. Once you reach a certain level, you won't be able to level up further and you will just have characters doing quests with no real goal. The game just needs a few updates to become a little more impressive, but it is clear that they are working on it. Yesterday, for example, I received a free car simply for playing when the new season is about to premiere. They also added some small things (including characters) last week, however, one of those costs a lot of doughnuts. I think that they desperatelyneed to include a bakery where you get 1 or 2 doughnuts a day for playing. It encourages daily playing and routine, and it rewards the player fairly.

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As it stands you get daily rewards now, but they aren't super awesome. Day 1 - $150, Day 2 - $250, Day 3 - $500, Day 4 - $1000, Day 5 - Mystery Box. A mystery box can give you one item from the game. It could be an awesome premium item or it could just be a fence or newspaper dispenser (which is far more likely). It CAN even give you doughnuts, but I have yet to see it happen in person (beyond the first time it happens as part of the story). There is also a Homer Buddha which costs 15 doughnuts, but PROMISES a premium item. It is still a risk, though, as there are many premium items worth less than 15. I did it 3 times yesterday with all the doughnuts I had saved up and I got the Squeaky Voiced Teen, an apple tree and a bench. The tree and bench do add to my overall rating, and their worth was more than I spent, so it does work out most of the time. 

The game itself is a lot of fun, it just needs updates. I would highly recommend trying it if you're a Simpsons fan, and probably even if you're not but you're a Farmville fan or something. It's a great time waster and it's a game you can take at your own pace. You can play it all day, or once a day. It truly is a work of art, and when it updates it will be even better. As it stands, however, I will have to judge it as it is. D'oh! 

Overall Score: 8/10

Edit: With recent additions to the game and a complete overhaul to the glitchy system, I have changed my review. The have fixed and issues I once had with the game. 

Overall Score: 10/10

- Ken Seiler