The Sims 2: Apartment Life Game Poster Image

The Sims 2: Apartment Life

Sims move on up, gain good/evil magical powers.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sims have the ability to do all of the things they could do in the original Sims 2. That means they can insult friends, be late for work, and even have affairs. Players now have the option of assuming the role of a witch capable of casting spells that make other sims do such things as throw up, split with their beaus, and start fires. As apartment dwellers, they'll occasionally have to bang on walls when neighbors party too loudly and may even be sent to collections if they become delinquent in paying rent. However, a new reputation meter provides a motive for players to keep their sims on best behavior.


Sims occasionally get into fights with one another (we're told early on that their emotions run deeper than ever before), but the violence, which includes actions such as throwing cups of water at other sims, is relatively tame. All Sims eventually pass away of natural causes.


Sims can share hot tub baths together and become romantically involved to the point of producing children. Kissing is shown and you can lure other sims into bed, but actions of intimate and explicit nature are tastefully blurred out.


The Sims speak in gibberish and never use real words. However, it's easy to interpret what they mean to say, and sometimes it's obviously meant to be profane.


As in all Sims games, materialism plays a major role. Players spend much of their time shopping for new items to outfit their homes. There are no recognizable brands, but the unavoidable message here is that consumerism is good and wealth is desirable.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Home bar equipment and espresso machines are available for purchase.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this expansion to the popular life simulator The Sims 2 looks and feels very much like the original game, save that avatars now live in multi-unit dwellings. However, it also has a supernatural twist in that players can now morph their sims into witches and warlocks. Should players go this fantastical route, they'll have the option of selecting between two moral disciplines: The Ways of the Light and the Path of Darkness. The former provides access to helpful spells (healing fellow sims, patching up bad relationships), while the latter allows players to perform evil magic, causing other sims to become ill, start fires, and get into fights with one another. In short, you can be a meaner, nastier sim than ever before. That said, the game rewards civil behavior through a new Reputation Meter. Polite, respectful sims will find it easier to succeed in their careers and social life, while evildoers will inspire dislike and mistrust in their fellow sims.

What's it about?

As the remarkably successful life simulator The Sims 2 heads into its final stretch (The Sims 3 is slated for release next year), Electronic Arts has rolled out one last expansion pack in the form of THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE. The primary new feature in this add-on, as suggested by its title, is that your sims now have the option of living in a variety of multi-unit dwellings, from sparse lofts to deluxe condominiums. That means paying rent, taking on roommates, dealing with loud neighbors, and growing accustomed to a social circle made tighter by virtue of the fact that many of your friends live just a few feet away.

But there's more to Apartment Life than just new urban abodes. For starters, players can now befriend witches and warlocks and eventually join the coven themselves, learning magical powers that give them the ability to make or break relationships, keep themselves fed and clean, and travel quickly by broomstick. It's a fairly steep departure from the franchise's devotion to authenticity, but casting a spell that causes a sim who you think might be making moves on your date to vomit is an undeniably satisfying -- if somewhat devilish -- bit of fun.

Is it any good?


If this element of fantasy is not to your liking, you can simply choose not to associate with any witches and instead focus on new features more in keeping with the series' realer-than-real vibe. Like the reputation meter, which bobs up and down based on how much respect you show other sims. It can have a marked impact on how both new and old acquaintances react to you. And, depending on your sim's affluence, butlers are now available -- a godsend for players who can't stand cleaning up after themselves.

Of course, apartment living also comes with some disadvantages. Improvements to your pad are limited to the decorative variety -- no structural changes allowed. And if your roommate is short on cash come the first of the month? You'll have to pony up to make up the difference, or face an angry landlord willing to take you to collections. This broad range of new features and content, both helpful and hindering, helps make Apartment Life one of the strongest expansions to any Sims game to date.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how realistically the game simulates human relationships. Are there enough options for interactions to make it feel as though you can say or do what you want when your sim is socializing with friends? Are the timelines and events involved in the game's romances authentic? You can also discuss the new reputation meter. Does it authentically simulate how a person's interactions with some people can affect their standing with others? Did you feel motivated to be better behaved out of concern that antisocial antics could damage your relationships with others?

Game details

Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:August 26, 2008
ESRB rating:T for Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Violence

This review of The Sims 2: Apartment Life was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

  • The Sims 2: Free Time Game Poster Image
    After years of toil, Sims finally get to kick back
  • The Sims 2 Pets Game Poster Image
    Cuddly but unsubstantial Sims 2 add-on.
  • Spore Game Poster Image
    This exceptional evolution sim is a masterpiece.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byZeeBuhRuh October 21, 2010

It's rated Off for 16? That's borderline moronic...

You guys, really? "Oh it has too much sex in it, blah blah blah" And since when can you watch them have sex? This isn't a porno for PC. It's a life simulator where you can have kids, go to the mall, throw a party, and live life how you want to!
Kid, 11 years old May 27, 2010

Not a bad game for tweens.

There's some overreacting going on. You can't watch people having sex, you see them make out and go under the sheets. Really, it's not that detailed. There's no drugs. Your sims can only drink beer, wine stuff like that. Fights don't include blood. They just grab onto each other and knock each other down. The person playing is controlling what goes on. No violence, sexual content or drinking goes on unless you want it it to and click on it. It's not a bad game. I'm 11 and play it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old May 11, 2010

Add-on is great!

Great add on, can be played by anyone under 16.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models