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The Sims Social Review by CriCri & Paperpin PDF Print
Written by CriCri & Paperpin Friday, 26 August 2011 00:00
Casual games are definitely spreading. From Facebook to smartphone apps, everyday a newgame comes out. Social networks are spreading too, and each one has its own special apps like Petville, Cityville, Farmville.. after so many -ville, The Sims gets “social” too, and on popular demand lands on Facebook. In the Sims history, everything has been experimented. After the 3D (The Sims 2), the open world (The Sims 3), after traveling in the past (The Sims Medieval) and trying the online multiplayer (The Sims Online), years of gaming evolutions have been raided ehm, revised and adapted for the so-called Facebook platform. After a couple of months of closed beta testing and a few days of open beta testing, The Sims Social is finally available to all users who want to play.

If you haven’t tried the game yet, you can do it on this Facebook page.

Warning: we inform our readers that this game is strongly addictive. Clicking on the above link is not recommended if you tend on getting easily addicted to games. If you’ve just came off Farmville and stuff, be aware that if you start playing The Sims Social, you may easily become addicted again.

Now that we’ve warned you and eased our conscience, we can start reviewing this game.

sims-social review casAt the very beginning, basically everything reminds us of the traditional Sims games. When you launch the game for the first time, you are taken into the CAS and asked to choose a name, skintone, gender and personality for your Sim. After that, you’ll have to choose the hairstyle (color and shape), eyes, clothing and so on. If you don’t feel creative, you can generate a random Sim. Be careful, especially about the gender. You will not be able to create a new Sim later!
As for the name, personality, hair and clothing, you can get back to the CAS and edit anytime - but here it comes the “rule of the Facebook platform”: getting new clothes or hairstyle will cost a certain amount of money, so choose wisely when you create your Sim! We’ll talk about the different currencies later.

You can choose among 9 personalities: Socialite, Geek, Introvert, Rocker, Villain, Romantic, Tycoon, Athlete, Creative. A note about personality: the “move” your Sim makes when you set a personality, will be repeated when idle. As for the rest, you can add up to 6 traits during the game.

Once you’ve made your Sim, you will be taken to your lot, which is made up of a main room and a bathroom. In the main room, there’s a bed, a small kitchen and a computer, while the bathroom is pretty essential with a toilet, a sink and a shower. Plus, you garden is full of grass and crap. Your house value at this point is 28k. By purchasing new items and evolving in the game, your house rating will increase, and it’s on this value that your neighbors list is ordered.

Fun fact: no matter the number of your neighbors, you'll always have a special friend who is always ready to help you: Bella! She certainly couldn't miss The Sims Social, as she's been around since the very beginning of the Sims saga!

sims-social review missioniAfter a short tutorial that introduces you to the gameplay (interactions with items and other Sims), the game will present you several achievements about different topics. They’re much fun, like that achievement that asks you to visit your friends’ houses to clean up. Achievements are introduced by different characters, like the good looking guy in the top row or the miss-i-know-it-all on the third one.

Each achievement requires certain interactions, objects or “elements”. Every Sim’s action, in fact, can have a cost (in money or energy) and always has a reward. You can receive money, energy points, social points etc. The Sims Social has no careers (even though your Sim can talk about his job with other people!) and your character can earn money only through interactions (gardening, tidying up the room, writing an article, a song and much more). You can check
Simoleanscreenyour amount of Simoleons in the top bar.
Also, many interactions give you “elements” (like love or goodwill) that you can collect and use as ingredients for potions (to restore energy or get a good mood), for achievements (like collecting 5 plans to finish a quest) or to unlock recipes, build item, unlock articles and much more.

energyfullThe game’s engine are the Energy Points, needed to make most of the interactions (except for the basics like sleeping, eating and going to the toilet that require no “effort”) and that obviously go away ridiculously fast and restore very slowly (1 point every 5 minutes, for a total amount of 15 points). As you may have guessed, it’s not the “physical” energy that you can restore by sleeping, it’s a completely different bar on its own.

You can also create potions to gain energy with the elements above, or you can ask an energy bar to your friends/neighbors (each snack = 1 energy point) or simply wait a few minutes. If you’re lucky enough, you can receive bonus energy after some interactions and when you visit a friend, you often get bonus points. If you Sim gets to a higher level, your energy is completely restored. As we’ll explain later, you can also purchase potions to restore your energy with SimCash.

Let’s get back to achievements. The game is based on these “quests”, that make you grow as a character and earn money and points. They can also unlock items. There are quests about your garden, your writing ability, gossips and much more. You’re generally asked to make some interactions, interact with other Sims and collect a given number of elements - nothing really hard to do, but sometimes the achievement’s description can be a little poor or unclear (but this may apply to the Italian translation only). You can also choose not to follow them, but the game may become a little tiring.
Luckily, they’re not timed, so you can also spend as much time as you want socializing with other people or taking care of your house.

SocialPointsThe interactions between Sims look totally like The Sims 3’s. You can make friends, fight, fall in love and woohoo, but without having babies or move in your fiancee’s lot. As we said before, each interaction has its own energy cost. Social interactions always give you social points, that are collected in their own bar. You can use these points to buy items. You can also earn elements. With friendly interactions, you will easily receive Goodwill. Evil interactions will give you Fury, romantic interactions will give you Love and so on. On the official PlayFish forum, you can find a list of how to get them
As for interactions with your friends, don’t think about synchronical interactions. It’s not an online multiplayer, you can interact with your friends/neighbors but they cannot control their Sims while you visit them. Depending on your interactions, you can leave some “tags” at your friend’s, who will be noticed of your visit when s/he launches the game. The only thing you can do “simultaneously” is changing your relationship with your friends. You can go to “good friends” to “BFF”, but only if your mate approves that. You’ll have to send him/her a notification and wait for his/her response. Here's a list of the available relationships, from the official forum.

SimsCashLike many other Facebook games, The Sims Social has its own currency too, the SimCash. You can purchase it with real money via credit card. The items you can get this way are clearly prettier and better than regular ones, and they also give you much higher house rating. Whether to use this currency or not, it’s up to you. The game provides you 20 SimCash at the beginning.
This money can be also used to buy items from the CAS or to skip some steps during a quest. For example, if you need 5 hammers to reach the achievements and can’t get them, you can bypass this request with a given amount of SimCash.

As for the home decor, there is the Shop Mode where you can get all the items you need, from beds to bookcases, from sinks to rugs. There are some limitations actually: when building, you cannot place a wall wherever you want, but can only purchase a room and ask your friends to help you building. In the Buy Mode, the limitations are about the currency you can use. There are items you can purchase with Simoleons, items you have to unlock and then purchase, items you can buy with Social Points and “pay” items you can get with real money.
Also, for some items, buying isn’t enough. Those objects, marked with a little hammer on the top right corner, require some “building” steps. You may need the help of some friends or some elements. Again, the official board has a list for them too.

When decoring your house, don’t buy everything in first place! Some achievements require you to buy certain items, like:

  • Grill Yosemithe Portable
  • Merryweather Bench
  • Arcade game Quarterback arcade
Also, as for any other Facebook game, there are items updates for The Sims Social too. Today, for example, have been introduced a new kitchen, a new bathroom and other nice stuff.

Having many friends in the game is good. It’s not granted they will be your friends in real life though, due to the many notifications the game generates. Be kind and fair in asking and giving. It would be much appreciated to have some kind of filter, especially when you have many friends or many friends that don’t play. It’s quite hard to select them. For example, one of our accounts has contacts divided into groups, which don’t appear in the game. You can’t even filter those friends who play Social from those who don’t.

Tip: create yourself a file with the name of those who play, those who made you a favor, etc. Try to vary and ask different people, even because there’s a daily limit for notifications and requests.

Another bad ting about this kind of games is that your game notifications are sent to every friend, and if you share everything happens in your game, you may become annoying.
We suggest to avoid notifications for things you can easy handle on your own. For example, once you know how to get an element, don't go asking your friends but try to get them yourself! Share and ask, instead, for all those things that depend on your friends only, like getting paintings, objects etc (you will recognize them as there are small frames with the picture of your helping friends).

Notifications are generated for basically everything, if a friend pays a visit, if you build an item, if you earn a new skill, if you reach an achievement and so on. You’ll understand this can get quite tiring, even though each notification can get you money or elements. You can also send a gift to your neighbors, like money, energy, furnishing, elements etc.
Again, if you have played Farmville, Restaurant City and stuff, you know how this very addictive online game works!

Final tip: the game saves automatically, so you don't have to click on a Save button. However, it's likely to save earlier if you go to the Shop mode or visit a friend before closing.

Pros

  • Playing The Sims on Facebook is quite natural and it’s fun to share the game with your friends.
  • It can help your friends understanding that you’re not hopeless geeks, but it’s The Sims that is so addictive!
  • It’s a great “lite” version.
  • Being a Facebook game, it doesn't require a good videocard, despite "traditional" Sims.
  • There are object updates.
  • If you have many friends who love The Sims but don't hear from them often, this is a great way to keep in touch.
  • If you don't take care of your Sims' needs, they will be sad and depressed but will not die.
  • Everyday, grass, mushrooms and other stuff appear in your yard. By cutting or removing them, you can earn a lot of money. On the other hand, if you don't take care of your garden, it can easily become a mess.
  • Last but not least, it's free!

Cons

  • More than the game itself, it’s the system. Notifications don’t work properly, they may not appear or be sent.
  • If you share everything happens in the game, you’ll flood your friends’ walls with spam.
  • Clicking and buying pay item instead of regular ones is even too easy, so be careful where you put your mouse on because no window appears to tell you’re going to spend SimCash!
  • Inevitably, the game has some bugs (objects and ROOMS that disappears, SimCash that decreases).
  • The explanation of some achievements is not very clear (but this may apply to the localized versions only).
  • If you want to receive bonuses from your friends' notifications, you'll have to reload the game everytime.
  • If you don't use the game for a while, you'll find a LOT of notifications!
  • There are no curly hairstyles!!!
Happy Simming! ..wishing you to never meet this guy:
simssoc  
 
 
Last Updated on Friday, 26 August 2011 19:12
 

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