Unlike the previous versions of The Sims, in this mobile world your Sims do not have free will at all nor do you have the option of turning it on!
They do not get ready for work on their own or on time unless you tell them to; they do not depart for work unless you are there to tell them to. They do not go to the bathroom even when they desperately need to unless you tell them to -- and proof of that if you needed it comes in the form of puddles of pee that a Sim in distress leaves wherever they happened to be when nature -- and natural pressure -- made relieving their bladder an absolute necessity.
It bears repeating and emphasis that when your Sims are hungry, they will not eat -- which means that failing to log into your game for more than a day or two might have put you at risk of finding your Sims standing feet from their fridge, but starving half to death. Fortunately at some point in the game tweaking the powers that be modified it so that there is a larger emphasis upon time spent in the game than time spent out of it, so you no longer have to dread returning to the game after a lengthy absence.
Still though, you should be aware that they will not even clean themselves, they will not work in the garden, and they will not play with their pet -- unless you tell them to -- because this is a sandbox God game!
Net Connection Required
Game play in FreePlay unfolds in two very distinct ways -- either you play it as a free-to-play title, which means taking a long-game approach in which you will be earning every Simoleon and Life Point that you use, or you play it as a short-game, which means spending real-world money to purchase the Simoleons and Life Points in addition to the ones you earn.
Either way, you will be following a similar path in the game, the only difference will be how quickly you arrive there, how quickly you level up, and therefore how quickly you unlock all of the game elements.
Playing the game without spending money means that you can easily spend weeks and maybe months in the pursuit of unlocking all of the game items and elements -- which explains why many players are willing to spend money on game play. In fact it has become evident that playing the game without spending real-world money may very well allow you to continuously find that new options have been added to the game through its updates and expansions well before you have reached the point where you can take advantage of them due to the time that it takes to advance your Sims and your town.
It may feel like the adoption of real-time in this imaginary world serves as a negative element for game play, but that is only true if you are trying to play the game in the same manner as the original series was played -- in large chunks.
The true strength of the game is that you can play it for just a few small chunks of time each day and still obtain significant progress -- not a bad approach for a game that is intended to travel with you throughout the day and serve as a regular distraction and tool for battling boredom.
Most of the relationship goals that you will get in the game simply require you to have two Sims talk to each other until they max out their relationship potential in the positive direction -- or insult each other a few times to achieve a negative relationship goal.
You can easily build romantic relationships for your Sims, and they can even WooHoo, become "Partners", get engaged, get married, move in together, and start a family!
But while they can do all of those things -- and have babies -- they do it without actually getting pregnant as their babies are instead delivered via the Stork network, so that the process of getting pregnant and having a child is a mostly painless one that is accomplished in a matter of a few real-world days rather than 9-long-months of swollen awkwardness.
Just like the main game series, your Sims in FreePlay can have relationships and move in with each other, as well as start families, a strategy of game play that has the added benefit of allowing you to leverage a strong and dynamic traditional relationship system -- with one Sim pursuing a career and a regular paycheck while their partner stays home, raises the kids, and does all of the home-related things that make up a significant part of the various Goals that are presented to you.
Goals are an important part of play as you will quickly learn, and by completing them you find a ready source for Life Points that, while it is a slow trickle is also a consistent one -- and a little careful planning -- such as reserving a housewife or house-husband along with one or two perpetually unemployed Sims in the town -- a setup that allows you to have the best of both worlds, with the majority of your Sims pursuing careers while that core group of stay-at-homes being present for you to work towards the Goals that pop up.
Pursuit of Goals means creating the circumstances and environment that is necessary to fulfillment of the goals -- for example when you get the goal to have two Sims WooHoo you will need a pair who have a very high romance level in their relationship with each other, or they will not want to do it.
Once the level is high enough, you can get them into the same (double) bed and they will WooHoo for you or you can Woohoo wherever they happen to be! A park bench? Sure! Your backyard? Uh huh! They are not picky -- or shy -- and will Woohoo even when other Sims are present in the area!
Partnerships take effort...
A lot of players seem to have problems with establishing relationships -- the easy way to do it is to select your main Sim, then using Sim Tracker, hit the Whistle Icon for each of the other Sims you want to come, and they will all show up at your main Sim's house.
At that point you can use Sim Tracker to switch between them and have them chat and interact in order to attain your goal. Simpatico.
Individual Stats and How to Raise Each
When you examine the Sim Bar in the left lower corner you get an image of your Sim's face, and six stat blocks in two lines of three, starting with Hunger, Toilet, and Sleep on the top line, and Hygiene, Socialization, and Happiness on the bottom line. There are specific activities that you can do that will raise each of these, which are listed below.
You will occasionally find yourself with a Sim or three in the red, and need to quickly work their stats back into the green due to spending too long away from the game; one way that you can avoid logging in and finding your Sims near death is to put them into the Deep Sleep mode just before you log-off when you come back you will find that they are in a stable and less dangerous state when you log back in after an extended absence from the game.
Hobby Shop Items add to Skill as well as Happiness
As you choose the activity to raise each of the stats you should bear in mind that many of the objects that are used to do so have three basic versions, one-star, two-star, and three-star, and the higher the star rating the better they are at their function, and the less time that it will take your Sim to complete that given task. Obviously three-star is best.
Some of the states have limited options for raising them, while others have multiple options -- this is really a temporary situation, as you can see by example, when the base game was released there were only limited options but, with each addition, update, and expansion, more fulfillment methods are being added.
Try not to think of the game as a static one, because the folks behind it are intent to treat it in the same fashion that they have the previous games in the different series and versions -- adding more and more activities for your Sims, more opportunities for play, pleasure, work, and living -- and best of all, they are doing it for FREE. It is called FreePlay for a reason...
The base states and the methods for raising them
- Hunger: Using your refrigerator to eat food will raise this stat.
- Toilet: Using the Toilet in your Sims home will raise this stat / Using the Toilet in the Park will raise this stat.
- Sleep: Drinking Coffee will raise this stat. / Having a nap on a Park bench will raise this stat. / Sleeping in your bed at home will raise this stat.
- Hygiene: Taking a Bath will raise this stat / Taking a Shower will raise this stat / Washing your hands in the sink will raise this stat.
- Socialization: Feeding the Ducks in the Park will raise this stat / Talking on the telephone will raise this stat / Talking with another Sim will raise this stat / Watching Movies together also leads to Happiness...
- Happiness: Baking will raise this stat to the top, even when using the shorter recipes / Gardening will raise this stat to the top, even when using the shorter seeds / Listening to music/dancing will raise this stat / Reading a Novel from your bookshelf will raise this stat / Watching TV will raise this stat.
Note that when your Sims are inspired some of the above actions can actually raise multiple stats -- for example when a Sim is fully inspired and reads a book it has been observed to raise toilet, hygiene, social, and happiness stats to max. When the book is read on a couch (as opposed to a bench) it has also been seen to raise the Sleep Stat. The moral of this story is to never underestimate the power of inspiration.
You should also bear in mind that when your Sim is in the fully-inspired state (the Cupcake is greyed-out) they can actually earn a bonus to the usual XP that they earn for various actions of they are performing these actions in their home.
Cupcakes can be used to instantly satisfy all of your active Sim's needs and make them Inspired in the bargain... But this is only accomplished at the cost of Life Points.
Obviously the Cupcakes are particularly useful when you have a lot of Sims in your town to take care of, and you need to raise one or more of their stats quickly, for instance you need to get them off to work but they have several stats in the red or gray -- so spending the Life Points on a Cupcake may make sense.
This newest form of point-based currency in the game was added when the Party Boat and Neighbor play was added to the game. In fact spending time in one of your Neighbor's towns is the best way to gain SP so you may want to seriously think about doing that.
Bearing in mind that SP is required to purchase specific premium items, you will want to bank as much of this as you can.
The importance of XP to your game play cannot be understated, because while money and Life Points are the grease that makes the wheels turn, XP is the gas that unlocks the world.
Gaining access to additional Sims, items, and activities is dependent upon gaining levels.
You cannot begin to appreciate or grasp the lives of your Sims until you understand fully that the parameters under which their world operates are different here than in any of the other games in the series...