The Simpsons: Tapped Out offers fan service and loads of self-awareness on iOS

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Just this week, we learned that EA's the Simpsons: Tapped Out on iOS would allow series fans the chance to rebuild Springfield after Homer causes (another) massive accident at the nuclear power plant. Now, the Simpsons: Tapped Out is available on the Canadian iTunes App Store for free, and we've had a chance to go hands-on with this entirely self-aware city-builder.

From the get-go, the Simpsons: Tapped Out is the farthest thing from a serious experience. It offers plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor, with the game beginning with Homer becoming distracted at work by playing an elf village game on his "myPad." While buying premium currency, the nuclear plant (the safety of which he is supposed to be caring for) melts down, causing the entirety of Springfield to be destroyed. It will then be up to you to help Homer rebuild Springfield and return all of its famous citizens to their rightful places.

At its core, the gameplay here is a basic city-builder, allowing you to construct homes and businesses that you've likely seen on the show's many episodes. You can move items around the map, if you'd like to really recreate Springfield in the most accurate way possible, but otherwise, you can simply place items where you'd like and can then collect taxes from homes and profits from businesses every few minutes or hours.

As you build new homes or businesses, Springfield will regain the citizens normally associated with them. For instance, building the Kwik-E-Mart triggers the reappearance of Apu, with each character being a part of a collection in the game. Returning the entirety of the Simpsons family finishes the Simpsons Family collection, for example. The more citizens your town has, the more tasks you can complete to earn experience points and cash. These jobs take varying amounts of time to complete and offer varying rewards accordingly, but most of them are fairly funny, and can harken back to different elements from specific episodes in the Simpsons television series.

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In terms of social features, you can add friends via a number of ways: Facebook Connect, your Gmail address book, your device's contact list, or EA's Origin social network. When you've added some friends, you can visit their versions of Springfield to complete three tasks each day, earning more rewards for yourself in the process. You may need to visit friends for quests, or you can just do so to help yourself level up more quickly.

Ultimately, the Simpsons: Tapped Out is definitely a game full of fan service, with lots of voice-acting and references to the Simpsons canon. That being said, the gameplay here isn't anything we haven't seen before, so if you're not an already established fan of the cartoon, you may have a hard time becoming hooked here. If you are a fan, however, get ready for a funny, enjoyable experience on either iPhone or iPad, all available for free.

Are you excited to play with your own version of Springfield in the Simpsons: Tapped Out on iOS? Have you had a chance to play the game? What do you think of it? Sound off in the comments.
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