Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Sims: FreePlay - EA Mobile

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Short takes

The Sims FreePlay is a casual life-simulation game with elements of quest-and-timer city building. Caution: In-app purchases, mature themes, violence, sexual content and crude humour

Age
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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of The Sims: FreePlay was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 April 2014.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: The Sims: FreePlay
Developed by: EA Mobile
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store, Google Play
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: Google Play Store: Low Maturity, iTunes Store: 12+
ACCM suggested age: 17+ for in-app purchases, mature themes, violence, sexual content, frequent crude humour
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of The Sims: FreePlay contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

This review focuses on levels: 1-10

App description

The Sims FreePlay is a real-time action game involving life simulation, as well as quests and building construction. The objectives of the game are to create numerous Sim characters, formulate a realistic world around them and foster relationships between various Sims. There are no significant skills required for this game. 

Reviewers comments

When players first begin the game, they are told that they are going to make the town thrive by playing and creating Sims. Sims are created by having a First Name and Surname, choosing a gender, then adjusting skin tone, hair, head shape, eye colour and clothing. The game then explains the gameplay controls: sliding a finger across the screen to pan the camera, pinching to zoom, and using two fingers to rotate the screen. It is possible to take photos and send them to friends via Facebook.

At the beginning of the game, players are told that a lost dog has made its way into the Sims' yard. They are told to tap on it to shake hands, therefore getting $25 of in-game currency. Players then make the dog dig for treasure for an additional money bonus. Players are set tasks, such as purchasing a toilet for their Sim. They then purchase a toilet, place it in an appropriate area within the bathroom, and the game then blurs out a circle when the Sim actually uses the toilet.

The game explains that Sims have basic needs: food, bladder relief, energy, hygiene, social needs and fun. Unhappy Sims earn standard XP points, whereas happy Sims earn far more. Doing small tasks, such as washing hands or planting bell peppers in the garden, earns XP points and money. Each task takes an appropriate amount of time according to what the Sim is actually engaging in. In order to speed things up (e.g. building a house may take 5 minutes, while other activities may take longer), players can elect to use LP points – these are purchasable with real-life money, but are also obtained within the game itself when a player goes up a level. After creating a new Sim, players are told to furnish the new house (having been provided with $1000 in-game currency) with floorboards and walling. Players must also place a fridge, shower and other household necessities inside the house. It is also possible to use the home store to add or expand a room. In addition to this, players can use Simtracker to find any Sim, call Sims to a location or to send them home.

The app allows multiple Sims to form relationships – it encourages players to make their Sims ‘Be Funny’ to each other. It is possible to do this until Sims become acquainted with each other. Players may earn large XP rewards for reaching relationship milestones (e.g. 100 XP). Sims move from being Acquaintances, to Friends, to Good Friends, to Best Friend, etc.

Extra features appear in the game, such as the Party Boat: this allows players to have their friends as neighbours and compare their town with others. The game then explains that the first Sim needs some company and players are encouraged to go to the Town Map to create a new Sim.

The game encourages spending money by incorporating significant time lags in regards to building and undertaking activities. Some actions will take up a long time to be completed but players can skip the wait by using money to purchase in-game LP points. This may promote a culture of impatience and reckless spending amongst younger players.

In App purchasing

In order to buy more in-game currency, players can purchase a select range of packages from the store. Within the store, it is possible to select from a range of packages related to different things. In relation to in-game cash (which is called Simoleons), packages range from a pile of 45,000 Simoleons for $8.49, up to a Treasury of Simoleons for $109.99. In regards to purchasing LP Gems, players can buy 15 for $2.99, up to 3,500 for $109.99. There is also an online special store, which sells Adidas products for male and female Sims characters ($1.99), Swimsuits ($1.99), interior design home packages ($5.45), Fish tanks ($1.99) and more.

 

Online information

Players have the option to share high scores with other players, but there is no chat or forum discussion within this app.

Gambling

No gambling content found during the review.

Advertising and product placement

There is advertising in regards to in-app purchases related to the game itself, as well as advertisements for external apps or products. Before the game begins, players are presented with an ad for a range of other downloadable apps, with ‘YES’ or ‘No, Thanks’ options. There are also advertisements for other Android games within the app, such as Bejeweled Blitz.

Gender stereo types and sexual references

There are multiple sexual references within the game. It is possible for players to make two Sims characters have sex – however, it is more implied than graphically shown and it is referred to as two individuals ‘woohooing’. If a Sims character goes to the toilet or takes off an item of clothing, the area is blurred out by a round circular ball of pixels, therefore obscuring the view of players.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

The extensive in-app purchasing and time-lag features may encourage the spending of real money.

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.