Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
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When I first fired up The Simpsons: Tapped Out I got very excited. The fully animated opening showcased Homer, lampooning the current state of tap and wait games that beg for your money every five seconds. The high point of the intro is when he spends $1,000 on power-ups and then just dismisses it by saying "Oh well, I'll just tell them that my kid did it and get a refund." With that setup I was expecting a biting satire on the current state of mobile gaming, instead what I got was a game that wallows in all the cliches that are choking the fun out of this industry, as well as yet another reminder to never get my hopes up when it comes to anything the Simpsons are attached to past the mid-90s.
In the game Homer's negligence has led to the utter destruction of Springfield, and now the player can rebuild the city in their image. Don't worry about continuity, the franchise takes a jab at itself right away pointing out how buildings in Springfield seem to move at will in order to satisfy each week's episode. Thus fans can begin rebuilding iconic Springfield landmarks like the Krusty Burger, Kwik-E-Mart, Elementary School and more. New buildings bring in new characters, so the more you build the more you'll see of America's favorite animated city.
While the environment is welcome, the game itself is anything but. Everything you do in the game takes a set amount of time, and the wait is almost always unbearably long. Tell Apu to work an 8 hour shift and it literally takes 8 hours to complete the activity. Have Homer watch a Monkey Trauma Center marathon and you won't see him again for a full day. Most egregious of all is you can plant corn at Cletus' farm and it takes LITERALLY 90 days for the crop to grow and be harvested. Yep, the same as the actual amount of time it takes to grow corn. The wait time to do practically anything in this game is sickeningly long.
Of course, everything you do can be sped up by the "special currency" du jour, donuts. And wouldn't you know it, EA is more than happy to sell you all the donuts you want for a stack of real money. I understand that microtransactions are the new norm in mobile gaming, and when done right I even support them, but in this case it seems like a false choice, either you buy more donuts or you do absolutely nothing for vast quantities of time. This game is a slap in the face to Simpson fans everywhere, and doesn't deserve in the smallest amount of support.
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