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.
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.