The Simpsons: Tapped Out


A couple of months ago, I bought my first tablet so I could get a little more used to how that type of interface works than what I ran into at work. It’s a good general-purpose device and with the keyboard I bought, I can use it to do some writing.

Most of the time it’s used to play The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Basic premise is that Homer let the reactor blow up and it wiped Springfield clean, so you get to rebuild the town. There are quests that tie into episodes of the show, like the one where Homer deals with narcolepsy and the Treehouse of Horror, and one where Homer tries to convince Matt Groening to get rid of the crossover episode with Futurama. Right now, it’s in Thanksgiving mode but I don’t know if there will be connections to a Thanksgiving episode.

What I’ve found is that the game seems to be getting less and less enjoyable because I’ve hit the stage where the grinding is really bad. You’ve got four different kinds of items to produce in this section and the time to make them is staggered: 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 8 minutes. Making item #3 and #4 is dependent on making items 1 and 2 and because of those time differences, you can’t really watch TV or do something else at the same time because you have to keep prodding at the screen every half minute. I kept at it tonight because there was a new area to be unlocked, but there was at least three times where I thought, “how much longer do I have to do this?” And then this new area has a fifth item to make, which means even more grinding,

The game always has had a certain amount of grinding in it. Whether it’s collecting taxes from the houses you build or the tasks you assign to the characters, you earn more for continous gameplay than if you choose the ones that take a couple of hours to complete. But seriously? Every 30 seconds?

Then there’s the quest where Mr. Burns makes a mountain out of money. It’s now up to the point where it costs $50K each time and takes about 6 hours each. At the rate I’m earning the money back, that quest is probably going to take me a week or two to finish.

Some tips:

  • Since you can’t rotate the view, make sure you don’t set the buildings right up against the roads. Leave them back about two squares so that the really short objects on screen, such as Lisa, Bart, the snakes and the turkeys, will not be hidden as much as they’re moving on the streets.

  • When you go through the tutorial, they talk about the donuts being used to buy things, but they don’t really tell you how scarce they will be in the future, and they don’t tell you that you’ll be using a credit card to buy more donuts. You get two every time you go up a level, which does basically nothing, especially if you accidentally tap on the “hurry” button that appears right after you select an action and can’t cancel it fast enough to abort it.
          I’m trying to play as much as I can without paying for anything with real money, so it’s slow going. I know microtransactions are the whole point of a freemium game, but this should have been explained clearer in the beginning.

  • When you get to the point where the IRS office appears, you can probably stop upgrading it after the second time. That gives you a pretty wide collection area with just one tap, and unless you group a lot of the same kind of houses next to each other so that their taxes all come due at the same time, it’s not going to be worth the cost to go any further. It’s something like a $100K bump to do the third upgrade.

  • Make sure you know where the volume controls on the tablet or iPad are. After hearing those characters say the same things over and over and over again, the volume’s off when I play.

  • When you have the quests and activities that have a limited amount of time to complete them in, accept that unless you buy more donuts with your credit card or have so much free time that you can just sit and play this game for hours on end day after day, it’s not likely you’re going to complete them.

Tapped Out is a game I wanted to like and I will probably keep playing simply to see how much it ties into the episodes. But I gotta tell you. Even without using a credit card, this game has a heavy price to pay in how much time you have to spend on it.


I’ve been playing since it hit Android, and I wouldn’t disagree that it’s getting less fun. Hasn’t stopped me playing pretty much daily though :wink: Things get less grindy though as you level up, though I’m really only playing it for the events now. Once you’ve got over a million game bucks banked spending 50K is irrelevant.

Donuts - on Android you can subscribe to Google Opinion Rewards and slowly earn credits. If you’ve got the Rail Yard you can also get 5 free donuts a week. Once your Friend Level is maxed you’ll also get a random donut if you visit enough friends every day.

The grind I assume you’re referring to, the Heights, I’ve pretty much dumped into the background. I’m doing it slowly between other things and don’t care if it takes me many more months to get to the 100 million mark.


I played it for a few months, then got burned out. Last time I checked in my city was pretty full, Krustyland was all but ignored, and it was getting repetitive.


I’m nowhere near to having that much money saved up. The issue is that since I only want to play the game for a couple of minutes every 4 or 8 hours or so, I can’t build up much. The city looks like slums in most places because everything’s crammed up against each other to save space.

Not signed up for Opinion Rewards or Rail Yard and don’t have an account, so I really can’t invite any friends.


I’ve come to the conclusion that unless you’re willing to just sit and play this game for about 4 hours every day, it is impossible to meet some of the challenges they give you. Back when I was a teenager, yeah, this would have been great. Now, it’s annoying, especially when you have two challenges going on at the same time that require the same character.

My job takes between 10 and 12 hours each day. A lot of times, I can’t even take a break for 5 minutes and lunch is eat quick so I don’t risk getting even more work piled on me. The thought of using what little time I do have after I get home on “challenges” is getting less and less appealing.

But at least I reached the point in the game where it now has the “tell everyone to do something for X amount of time” feature. So instead of taking 15 minutes to clear things out, collect the money and set up new tasks, it’s down to about 5 minutes.


That is pretty much why I stopped playing TS:TO. Too much time involved.


I think there’s a problem with the “Where’s Maggie” mini-game. I think you’re supposed to tap or press down on her when you find her, but half the time, it doesn’t work. I’m guessing that if you have too many characters walking around, the game can’t detect what you’re doing quick enough. So to get them off the streets, you have to assign them tasks where they will go inside buildings, but you have to be careful about using the “do all” command because it will give Maggie a task so you can’t play the game.


The landing point seems to be the front door of the building. Or, at least, that’s what works for me every time.


That turned out to be the answer. Instead of tapping on where the character was, you tap on someplace else that they don’t explain to you.

The latest series of quests involve firefighting. Entirely fitting the nature of the series, apparently water can catch on fire. Or else someone built a little raft and then set that on fire.


So can the inside of the mountains… :confused:


You know, I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I really wish the people who make this game would stop coming up with events every week.

Right now, I’ve got somewhere around 70 characters active, rows of houses and businesses packed together as money farms, and this superhero event that’s going on is bringing the game down to a crawl because it’s having to animate about 200 different objects.

I’d also like a chance to complete some of the older quests that are still sitting there because, hey! Shiny new quest for you this week! Oh, you were trying to work on something from last week? But, but, but, new event. Don’t you want a new event? Of course you want a new event. You can’t ignore this new event. We’ll keep popping up dialogue at random times you accidentally tap on because you were trying to do something else at the time. Everybody loves a new event!


That’s part of the reason I bailed. Event fatigue got to me, and this was probably a couple years ago.

I can see it happening on my current game that fills a similar niche, which is Star Trek: Timelines. Only good thing is I need to level up a bunch of crew for the ‘plot’ missions anyway, so it’s no big deal completely ignoring the various disasters and crises going on and focusing on the special mission to spay and neuter tribbles or whatever instead.


First LOL of the day!


The game is now so sluggish that it will actually freeze for 10-15 seconds at a time and it’s mis-detecting where I’m trying to tap. “You wanted to tap on a building to collect the money? Oh but surely you must have wanted to tap on the felon that’s nearby to so your characters can fight them.” and “You’re trying to scroll around the screen? Let me pop up the details on the house that I’m guessing you must have wanted to tap on instead.”

It’s getting pretty annoying and I’m glad I haven’t spent any money purchasing items in the game. If I wind up quitting this game because it won’t stop being annoying, then at least I won’t have wasted anything other than time on it.


After about a month, the superhero event finally finished and the game stopped being sluggish. Then I finally managed to get back to one of the previous quests which brought back working on the monorail again. It even pointed out how we’re going back to the uncompleted items in the game.

The lull between events lasted all of about two days because the Rio Olympics started up, so of course, there has to by an Olympics-related event in the game. But at least the game isn’t bogging down any more.

I also noticed a few weeks ago that sometimes when I would check on the characters, the progress bar would be blue and there was a “Free” button I could tap on to make them finish the task in a few seconds. I figured out that the amount of time this appears depends on the length of the original task.

If the task is for 4 hours, then 20 minutes before that ends, the Free button appears. If the task is for 8 hours, it’s 40 minutes. The problem is that with 70 characters, it’s impossible to take advantage of this if the free time is 20 minutes, and it will take most of the 40 minutes to find all of the characters and tape on the Free button.

So, it’s a nice gesture, but you can save yourself the effort by just ignoring it. You can spend that 40 minutes doing something else instead of trying to play beat the clock.


New observations:

When playing the Insanity Pepper mini-game, just tap repeatedly any place a turtle appears. There’s more turtles at that point than what are shown on screen. If you’re fast enough, you might be able to get 70 turtles before the time runs out, even though only about 30 may have appeared.

The Olympics event was followed by a time travel event that will run for 33 days, which will happen to be right about the time the Halloween event will start again.

“Use the PolyVac to Defeat Mecha Hawk Once and For All”. I did. Then why does the Mecha Hawk keep showing up inside the Sci-Fighter mini game?

As part of the current event, the Mecha Hawk unleashes a doomsday device that causes a lot of buildings to catch on fire. They have been burning for about 3 days now and nobody has noticed. Even Maggie will lie down on a roof next to where it’s burning as part of the “Find Maggie” mini game. Am I supposed to be putting out the fires? Why isn’t Comic Book Guy a conniption fit that his store with all of its flammable contents is burning?

When playing the “Find Maggie” game, wait until the background music stops playing before you start the game. I will help you find her easier.


By the time you get both the Springfield Downs and the go-karts so you can place a bet, you’ve usually got enough buildings raking in money that you can just bet the one with the longest odds for both. $7000 isn’t much at that point, and I’ve noticed that both selections will pay off at least once before you would have bet more than that. For example, the bet for Springfield Downs is $2000 and the longshot will pay out $200,000. You’ll get that $200,000 before you play it 100 times. Same with go-karts: $2500 and maximum payout is $250,000. On one day, both paid out for a total of $450,000.

Even when they’re not a special event, some quests and purchasable items become unavailable as time goes by. For example, i don’t think i can do anything further in Krustyland, so I’m ignoring it. And the Escalator to Nowhere has disappeared from the store.

I might be able to revive some of the older quests if I were to get out my credit card and buy donuts, but I’m not going to do that. I’m spending my time on this game. I’m not going to spend money.


And now I’m not even spending as much time on the game. I think I’ve turned it on once in the past two weeks because i had other things I was doing.


I basically go through a yearly-ish purge where I decide that games like TS:TO are unhealthy for me. When I realize I’m feeling more angst over not checking the game, it’s time to move on.

Currently in the ‘OK, not a problem’ stage for Dandy Dungeon and Fire Emblem Heroes both of which have the advantage of having actual “gameplay” of note. Both have a strategy game aspect which is amusing in and of itself, but use a ‘stamina’ mechanic so you can’t play constantly.


I still play this every so often, but what I’ve realized is that I’d like to have a Simspons-themed version of Sim City. One where I can play at my own pace and not have to worry about trying to keep up with the constant events they have through the year.

I realize that’s the way the game is designed: keep you going, make it difficult to complete an event unless you play it every 2-4 hours every day or you break out your credit card to buy donuts so you complete it faster (pay to win).