When The Sims franchise launched in 2000, it quickly became one of the most beloved game series of all time. Ten years later, people still enjoy leading their Sims to the toilet. What is it about these chattering little pseudo-humans that warms up even the coldest and most congealed maternal instincts? Whatever force draws us to The Sims, there’s plenty of it at work in The Sims 3: Ambitions.
Like last spring’s The Sims 3 World Adventures, The Sims 3: Ambitions is a PC expansion pack that has been whittled down to suit a mobile format. World Adventures had merit, but ultimately felt scattered; the game’s globe-trotting/tourist aspect pulled the player away from what The Sims is about: Family, home, insufferable neighbors. 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.
Don’t go off the grid.
You begin your game by building your little Sim dude/dudette, or by importing him/her from previous Sims 3 games on your phone. The ultimate goal in The Sims 3: Ambitions is familiar: Try to live a life that doesn’t suck. Of course, as in real life, this is easier said than done.
To survive, your Sim needs money. And to get money, your Sim needs a job. Jobs are the core of Ambitions, and there are plenty to choose from. Your Sim can train to be a firefighter, a chef, an artist, an athlete, a babysitter, and more. By visiting the hobby shop in town, your Sim can buy the necessary accessories to tinker with and build the skills necessary for his/her job. A chef needs to work with pots and pans, an artist needs an easel, and a firefighter needs a fire hydrant, though that’s more like something you’d expect a dog catcher to plant in his front yard.
Just do it.
The Sims 3: Ambitions is laced with minigames that relate to your Sim’s job and hobbies. If the TV goes on the fritz, your Sim can fix it by playing a minigame that involves replacing burnt-out parts with new ones. Firefighting involves tilting the iPhone to direct a stream of water at burning windows. Your Sim can even relax and fish at the lake by jerking the iPhone upwards when a fish is hooked. These minigames build up your Sim’s skills and take them one step further away from being an unhappy societal leech.
Needless to say, you don’t build up your Sim’s life in a vacuum. True to Sims tradition, there is a neighborhood full of people waiting for that first contact. Your Sim can make friends, woo a mate, and eventually make a baby. Or he or she can kick over garbage cans and aim to be hated by the entirety of planet Earth. In fact, throughout the game, you’ll be asked to help your Sim meet certain wishes and goals. One of the things your Sim might strive for is to kick over every trash can in the city. A noble endeavor!
The Sims 3: Ambitions is a busy, charming little version of the franchise. It’s ideal for bus rides, plane rides, and for visits to mother’s house. Now when she asks you if you’re ever going to give her grandchildren, you can say, “Oh, I made one for you today,” and pull out your phone.