Nuclear meltdowns are far from funny, but having Homer Simpson raising Springfield from the rubble and changing the town to his personal aesthetics makes The Simpsons: Tapped Out more than just your garden variety simulation game.  The story begins with Homer loafing about at work when an explosion in the power plant leads to Springfield's temporary demise.

After the explosion wipes out the town, Homer Simpson is placed in the middle of undeveloped plots of land.  His daughter Lisa is one of the first Springfield denizens to pop up and help Homer on his rebuilding quest.  The jobs are relatively small at first - clean up debris that's littering the land, plant a few trees, and reconstruct the Simpson home.  With these tasks you gain experience points and cold hard cash, money which will be further used to improve the neighborhood.  Visually the game is stunning, as the crisp and clear images are definitely eye catching, making The Simpsons: Tapped Out a combination of watching a Simpsons episode in HD while also playing The Sims.

The closer Springfield gets to being rebuilt, the more characters you will unlock in the game, and each character will get the chance to do their part in bringing Springfield back to its feet.  Each task, depending on the level of difficulty, will take a varied level of time to complete.  For example, if you want to make money and gain 150 experience points, have Homer Simpson watch a Monkey Trauma Center Marathon, a job which will take 24 hours in real time to complete!  However, with the use of 12 donuts, Homer will finish the Marathon in a much quicker fashion.  So if you want to get Springfield up and running in no time flat, it's all about the donuts, but unfortunately, those donuts will cost a few bucks.  One of my favorite tasks from the game is having Lisa play the sax, which takes four hours in real time.

Along with the beautifully rendered graphics, The Simpsons: Tapped Out also relies on The Simpsons' biting humor, and although much of the funny dialogue are words that pop up on the screen, it's still extremely funny.  There is just too much intense simulation to be had with The Simpsons: Tapped Out to actually nitpick; you will be too busy putting up houses and collecting money at the Kwik-E-Mart for the lack of voices to truly bother you.

If you are having problem designing the town, you can travel to an alternate universe appropriately named the "Other Springfield" to get architectural and urban planning inspiration.  On my iPad, I just let the "Other Springfield" feature fill up the screen as I watch Krusty the Clown, Mr. Apu, and Ned Flanders go about their morning walk.  With HD graphics the use of the iPad's retina display, people watching is just another positive aspect of the game.

Immersing yourself in Springfield life and slowly unlocking all the characters in the game are just a few reasons to love The Simpsons: Tapped Out.  Since it also features exclusive content from the show's writers, it's also one of the funniest games out there.  Tapping out from this game is one of the few things you won't be doing anytime soon.


App Store Link: The Simpsons: Tapped Out for iPhone & iPad | By Electronic Arts | Price: Free | Version: 2.2.0 | 46.1 MB | Rating 12+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating