I have a confession to make, although it pains me to say it aloud: I love The Sims.

I know. I’m a grown man essentially playing with a dollhouse. And frankly, I couldn’t care less. I’ve been hooked on Will Wright’s games in such a way that I could quite possibly qualify for a support group. If I were to ever calculate the amount of hours I’ve spent playing the various iterations of The Sims, I would probably cry. It’s really that bad.

So obviously, when I found out about how I could play The Sims on my smartphone, I jumped at the chance.

Despite what you would expect from EA, who are notorious for gouging their Sims addicts for every penny they can through endless expansions and overpriced DLC, this version of The Sims is actually completely free, and is appropriately called The Sims Freeplay. Marketed as a complete Sims experience for the smartphone and tablet user, it contains many of the features we’ve come to expect from a Sims game, while also taking a characteristically different approach from the PC versions we’ve all become familiar with. In many ways, The Sims Freeplay is almost like a version of Farmville with plants switched out for Sims, as the integral mechanic of gameplay is that actions occur in real-time. For instance, watching a movie takes roughly two hours to complete, or a night’s sleep takes between eight and ten hours.

The Sims Freeplay also introduces XP into the franchise for the first time. Completion of any action results in awarding XP, and as the player levels up, new features are added to the town, such as additional Sims and buildings. Additionally, players will receive Lifetime Points for completing certain goals aimed to help the player advance through the game, which in turn can be used to instantly complete actions that take a long time to complete. Also like Farmville, EA knows that many Sims addicts are willing to fork over real-world cash for added perks like more simoleons and lifetime points, which may be purchased by the omnipresent shopping cart flashing at the corner of your screen. So far, I’ve managed to get by without resorting to this, so it’s highly probable that many users will play the game without ever paying a dime.

As of now, The Sims Freeplay does have certain restrictions that will be familiar to those who played the original game, such as babies only being capable of advancing towards toddlers, and fairly limited character creation options. Nonetheless, its just as a addictive as any Sims game I’ve played so far, and future updates are likely to introduce new features and advanced options to make it more similar to the full PC versions. But for now, the experience is definitely addictive enough to have me checking in on my budding town every few hours or so. If you’re a fan of the series and are looking for a casual game to play on the go, I highly recommend giving The Sims Freeplay a shot.

The Sims Freeplay is available for free on iOS and Android devices.