The Simpsons: Tapped Out doesn’t really need additional publicity, but out of all of the games I’ve played on my various iDevices, including the ones I’ve discussed here, Tapped Out is the one I’m still playing a year after I started.
In case you haven’t heard of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the game, which has content from the staff of the TV show, starts with Homer at work playing a town management game. After accidentally spending $500 on the game, he is upset because all you do in the game is tap on things. Springfield explodes, and you help Homer rebuild Springfield. The destruction of Springfield has also created additional Springfields, allowing you to have friends and visit each other’s towns.
The best part of the game is that the characters are true to their TV show personas and are aware that they are in a game. The breaking of the fourth wall creates plenty of opportunities to make fun of the player, but the jabs are clever, bringing the player in on the joke.
Tapped Out is a typical town management game. You build what the characters need, and most buildings resurrect a character. Homer just wants the basics, but Lisa, as reasonable as ever, makes sure schools, the library, and other cultural buildings are brought back to Springfield. Buildings earn money at regular intervals so you can keep on building. You can also earn money by having the characters complete tasks. The in-game currency is donuts, which you can buy with your money. Donuts let you speed up actions and buy special buildings. While some of the buildings and characters are cool to have, you can easily progress through the game without buying donuts. Unlike many games, Tapped Out is saved to a server, so if you spend your money on the game and something happens to your iDevice or to the game, you can log in with you EA Origin account and retrieve your Springfield.
I come back for the storylines and the expanding Springfield. I would hit the level cap and not much would be going on, so I would plan to stop playing. Then a new update would bring a new story. Recent storylines have dealt with gun control; it was illegal for the citizens of Springfield to not have a gun. Everyone had to have a gun, and every store had to sell them, showing how ludicrous some gun lobbies sound. Marge’s sisters, Patty and Selma, came to Springfield this summer. Upset, Homer became determined to make their lives miserable, so he lobbied to get tobacco banned. After Mayor Quimby’s secretary was no longer as thin as he liked and Marge pleaded with him, Homer lobbied to get tobacco unbanned. Also, Springfield isn’t confined to land. You can buy water and build the boardwalk, and you can take a bus to Krustyland. At Krustyland you help Krusty the Clown rebuild his amusement park with rides like Death Drop and Tooth Chipper.
By maintaining the tone of the TV show, which was renewed for a record 26th season, and introducing new plotlines to the game, EA has crafted a game that players want to come back to repeatedly, an accomplishment few games have achieved.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out is free, is made by Electronic Arts, is rated 12+, is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and requires iOS 5.0 or later.