Sims 3 iPhone also features a new emphasis on Xbox-esque "goals." Like that console's Achievements, players earn special awards for accomplishing certain tasks. Whether they involve kicking over garbage cans or meeting all the other inhabitants of your tiny virtual town, these 70-plus goals gradually unlock new items for you to purchase, along with that familiar feeling of simulated accomplishment.
Even with the additions to Sims 3 iPhone, the crux of the game is still living a virtual life. If you've played any of The Sims games over the last decade, you know how it works: You get a job, make friends, woo members of the opposite (or same) sex and make sure your Sim attends to all of his or her needs. It's apparent that while EA had to ditch some important customization options, it did its best to maintain the core gameplay that has made the series so popular. Visiting the bathroom, climbing the corporate ladder and finding a suitable love interest to "woohoo" with is exactly as simple and engrossing as the game's computer predecessors.
Since the iPhone lacks a proper keyboard, EA had to make a few adjustments to ensure everything worked elegantly. Luckily, The Sims lends itself quite well to a touch-screen interface. You choose actions via a simple floating menu around whatever object or person you have selected. Aside from a few minor graphical hiccups that are really only noticeable when you have more than three Sims on screen at once, this touch-based gameplay is extremely smooth.
Coming on the heels of EA's iPhone translation of Spore, which was little more than a stripped-down advertisement for its PC/Mac counterpart, I didn't have much hope for the iPhone version of The Sims 3, but the company has really put together an excellent handheld game here. It won't entirely replace its big brothers in the hearts and minds of Sims fanatics, but it isn't meant to. Instead, Sims 3 iPhone was designed to offer series devotees a $10, pocket-sized hit of their chosen gaming narcotic while they're away from their computers. Since I've been fighting off the urge to play the game the whole time I've been writing this review, I'd say EA succeeded nicely.
Bottom Line: Though Sims fans will find some of their favorite options left out of the iPhone version of The Sims 3, the game nonetheless offers a very competent translation of the hyper-successful series.
Recommendation: Buy it. For $10, The Sims 3 offers some of the most addictive, entertaining fun on Apple's portable device.
Earnest Cavalli is currently trapped in a tiny, windowless room, pacing back and forth and wetting himself repeatedly.