The Sims 4

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Sims 4 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Complex, realistic life simulator includes sexuality, death.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 58 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 233 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about responsibility, money management, and relationships in this multifaceted simulation of everyday life. Looking after Sims' needs makes players responsible for feeding, resting, cleaning, and a variety of other tasks and chores. What's more, kids will need to figure out how to wisely spend limited funds and perform well in their careers to make more money. Friendships and relationships, meanwhile, accurately illustrate how people react when treated with love and respect ... or with lies and aggression. The Sims 4 has some mature themes and is perhaps overly concerned with materialism, but it may help teens absorb a few simple lessons about life.

Positive Messages

Game simulates life, including aspects both positive and negative. Players can choose to focus on materialism, aggression, and selfish desires, or try to make their Sims worthy citizens who strive to do right by those around them. Players can learn some valuable lessons, encouraging them to sympathize with characters who face challenges such as pregnancy, parenthood, or trying to make ends meet while holding down a low-paying job. Experience -- and associated messages -- largely depends on what players make of it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Playable Sims generally behave according to players' directions. They could be kind and loving, reliable parents or partners, faithful friends, good pet owners, or loyal workers, or they might cheat in relationships, get into fights, neglect pets, and slack off at their jobs. It's entirely up to players.

Ease of Play

Perhaps easiest yet, thanks to detailed tutorials and less of a focus on micromanagement. Rookies will still face a steep learning curve, but so long as players don't spend frivolously and attend to the Sims' basic needs, they ought to keep progressing at a healthy clip.


Sims can get into fights with one another, resulting in an animation showing a dust cloud packed with fists and angry faces. Sims can be electrocuted, burned, even die in a variety of ways, including starvation and being set on fire, but this is rare. When Sims die, a grim reaper appears to remove their remains.


Sims can wear lots of suggestive clothing, including underwear, lingerie, swimsuits, sexy or otherwise revealing outfits, such as short skirts or low-cut dresses. Sims get naked for showers, but their bodies are hidden behind privacy screens. Many social interactions focus on flirtation, hugging, kissing. Sims that are romantically inclined can make "woohoo" or "try for a baby," but the act of sex takes place entirely under covers. Players see only hearts floating above sheets.


Dozens of expansions and add-on packs encourage players to spend more money. Also, a big part of the experience is simulated consumerism, which includes purchasing and accumulating products such as furniture, appliances, and electronics. Sims who can afford better-quality products with enhanced statistics are generally in better spirits, suggesting that money can indeed buy happiness.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Sims 4 is a life simulation game for Windows PCs. Players create and manage virtual people, guiding them in their day-to-day lives. Players will see Sims socializing, relieving themselves in the bathroom, showering (without nudity), going on dates, having families, exercising, enjoying hobbies, and embarking on careers. Players guide the development and behaviors of their Sims and can make them loving, caring, and reliable or cheating, selfish, and aggressive. Sims can get into fights and even die from events such as fire or starvation, but this is rare. Many Sims will engage in flirtation, romance, and even sex, though the act itself is never shown. Whether Sims end up being good or bad is entirely up to the player. Consumer themes run throughout the experience, with players encouraged to earn money and spend it on a variety of products, from food to home renovations. Note, too, that lots of expansions and add-on packs encourage players to spend real-world money to enhance their experience.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15-year-old Written bysoph_bell June 28, 2019

Christian perspective. GREAT GAME

1. Establishes fiscal responsibility:::::This aspect is often overlooked in the formal education of modern children. Staggering statistics regarding the lack of... Continue reading
Parent Written byjdub22 June 13, 2016

For Parents Worried About It Being Inappropriate

My son, who is 12, recently recieved this game for his birthday. I was worried from Sims 2, a game I have played before, that it would be way to inappropriate.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCookiesNMilk March 29, 2016

Depends on the kid, pretty much.

The Sims 4 can be a very fun game, and if your kid is mature enough, they'll probably enjoy it. If your kid is responsible and mature, ten or eleven would... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written November 18, 2015

Depends on You

I bought the Sims early last year, and it was completely fine for me. I've been exposed to the game since I was at least eight or nine. I was still fine wi... Continue reading

What's it about?

Much like its predecessors, THE SIMS 4 s concerned with providing an accurate simulation of modern human life. It allows players to create individual virtual people -- even an entire family -- and then go about managing virtually every aspect of their lives, from their hygiene and happiness to grander objectives such as career and family growth. Players have nearly complete control over each of their Sims' lives and can determine specific activities from minute to minute, all while striving to meet goals both short-term (going on a date or exercising) and long-term (getting married or promoted at work). New in this edition is multitasking, which means Sims can accomplish more in less time by, say, socializing while eating or playing a game while going to the bathroom. Players now also can easily share their custom-made Sims and homes with other players online and choose from a wide variety of Sims and households created by other users. A variety of expansion packs (purchased separately) add new areas to explore and themed activities and features revolving around pet ownership, socializing, careers, urban living, and enjoying the holidays. Less expensive add-ons include "stuff packs," which introduce new items and products that players can use to enhance their Sims' homes, family lives, and capability to entertain guests in different ways.

Is it any good?

This life simulation is like its predecessor, but with better presentation, a more streamlined interface, and tweaks to social interactions, life goals, and activities. Multitasking in The Sims 4 feels like the biggest change, if only because it means Sims can accomplish more in less time. This makes things a bit easier and allows players to micromanage less than in previous games. Being able to easily share and use custom content is a welcome addition, too, because it provides a quick way to experiment with different types of Sims.

Keep in mind, too, that additional features and other interesting and unusual content have been introduced in the form of post-launch expansions and add-on packs. Players interested in giving their Sims pets, for example, can purchase the Cats & Dogs expansion, which adds the ability not just to own pets but also to become a veterinarian, while those more interested in socializing can buy the Get Together expansion and create their own clubs. The Seasons expansion provides holiday themed activities and items to buy, as well as a new gardening career. Note that some of this content is available at a discount by purchasing it bundled with the game. Bottom line, the life simulation on offer in The Sims 4 remains spookily accurate, and it feels more accessible than ever. People who want to sit at their desk playing a computer game in which their character also is sitting at a desk playing a computer game probably won't be disappointed. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about marketing to kids. With nearly two dozen pricey expansions, you could spend hundreds of dollars adding to your Sims 4 experience, so how do you decide which, if any, of the expansions are worth your money?

  • Did you learn anything about the difficulties and stress involved in looking after a household? What sorts of challenges do adults experience in terms of keeping themselves and their families happy and healthy?

  • Has The Sims 4's constantly growing selection of jobs given you any ideas about what you might want to do for a living or what you might like to study?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love simulation games

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