Most games let you live out incredible adventures, like wielding an ancient sword and slaying giant foes, driving a finely-tuned race car, or parachuting into a warzone and single-handedly destroying the opposing army. However, there’s one series that lets you pursue life’s more achievable goals, like finding a job or decorating your home. Here’s our guide to The Sims on iOS.
The Sims 3
The first version of The Sims for iOS was based on The Sims 3 for PC. In this tiny social simulator, you could create a Sim who had goals ranging from life-altering (find a partner) to mundane (kick over some trashcans). Besides the list of random goals, there wasn’t any pre-defined storyline to The Sims 3– you could pursue whatever interested you. Minigames for fishing and cooking added some variety, but we found messing with the neighbors to be the most fun you could have in the game.
Key Quote: “The game’s detailed graphics, with its deep character customization, are some of the best yet on the system. What keeps Sims from being a must-have for everyone is the scatterbrained goal system, which is too random and unmanageable to make progress clear for your Sim.”
The Sims 3 World Adventures
When you become bored of life in Sim City, you could download World Adventures to take your Sim to exotic new lands. World Adventures let you take your Sim to Egypt to see the Pyramids, or Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, with a new set of travel-related goals to complete. Some of the new minigames, like adjusting the tilt of your iPhone to avoid motion sickness, didn’t always translate to a good time, but World Adventures did offer a change of scenery from the typical suburban existence.
Key Quote: “While The Sims 3 World Adventures looks deep into the souls of those afflicted by wanderlust and projects their every wish, the game’s presentation is pretty standard Sims stuff, and doesn’t feel very exotic.”
The Sims 3 Ambitions
In one of the best installments of The Sims on iOS, Ambitions urged your virtual character to seek more out of life than just a steady paycheck and new couch. Ambitions put careers and major life goals at the top of the to-do list, and you could specialize in adventurous new lines of work like firefighting or babysitting. Raising a family was also possible in Ambitions, so that all your drudgery could go towards supporting a baby Sim.
Key Quote: “Ambitions restores The Sims to its life-building roots with a vengeance. It’s not just about building a life. It’s about taking advantage of myriad opportunities to build the best damn life possible.”
The Sims Medieval
The Sims have always been a reflection on modern reality, but The Sims Medieval moved your characters to a time of kings and castles, without any of that pesky hygiene to worry about. Instead of buying a new fridge, your Sims could busy themselves with noble quests and rise from a pauper to a prince. The new time period was a big key to The Sims Medieval’s success, and we thought it was great to explore a different type of daily grind.
Key Quote: “The Sims Medieval is an iOS adaptation of the very same PC game that lets you build a Sim’s life around the romantic era of knights and dragons. Your Sim will walk, talk, and work in a fairytale-like world of simple wooden houses, cauldrons, guilds, combat, and noble quests.”
The Sims FreePlay
Last year’s The Sims FreePlay converted The Sims to a freemium model, where building new rooms onto your house or performing everyday chores would take energy and time. Of course, you could rush along the process with in-game currency, if you were impatient. The Sims FreePlay also let you take control of more than just one Sim, with 16 different characters for you to influence, and an entire town to support their needs. If you’re not looking to spend any money on a Sims game, FreePlay is a decent option, but we recommend buying one of the above titles for an uninterrupted experience.
Key Quote: “The Sims gameplay holds up well, but the slow pace and repetition keeps this freemium game from being the best in its class.”
Tomorrow, we’ll feed Om Nom in the best-selling physics puzzle series, Cut The Rope.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.