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The Sims 4 beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

Welcome to a new world of creation and simulation

The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle - two Sims sit on a couch and talk about love Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

The Sims 4 is the ultimate sandbox life sim game. There’s so many ways to play, with built-in cheats and in-depth family creation system. Our The Sims 4 beginner’s guide will help you get started in the wonderful and wacky world of The Sims.

Below we teach you some simple beginner’s tips and information on how to jump into The Sims 4, if you never have gotten into the franchise before or even if you’re returning from a break.

Play how you want

There’s no concrete, correct way to play The Sims 4. If you want to just build a huge mansion and use cheats to get money, do it. If you want to do the legacy challenge and start with nothing and work your way up, do it. There’s so many ways to play, and they’re all valid.

Keep your Sim’s mood up

The Sims 4 added moods like happy, inspired, flirty, and angry, and these moods impact the actions your Sims can do. They also impact things like stat gains. If you take a “thoughtful shower” instead of a regular shower, your Sim will become inspired, which will boost their work performance if they’re in a creative career. Using these moodlets is key to success.

That being said, one of the ways to keep your Sim’s mood up requires you to make sure their needs are met, which brings us to the next part …

Make sure your Sims’ needs are met

In The Sims 4, Sims have only a few needs: Bladder, Fun, Hunger, Social, Energy, and Hygiene. When setting up your place, make sure your Sim has a way to fulfill all the needs, even if it’s just a toilet, sink, refrigerator, and sofa.

Luckily, all child and older Sims have a cell phone that they can play games on and text other Sims with to alleviate their Fun and Social needs.

Debugging cheats are your friends

Even if you don’t want to use cheats for money or stat gain, you should take advantage of the debugging tools the game offers, especially when things go wrong. Sometimes your Sim may get frozen in place. Sometimes they won’t come home from work for some reason. When all goes wrong, you can reset your Sim using a cheat.

To access the debugging cheats …

  • On PC, press Ctrl+Shift+C, type “testingcheats true,” and hit Enter.
  • On Mac, use Command+Shift+C, type “testingcheats true,” and hit Return.
  • On PlayStation and Xbox consoles, hold the four shoulder buttons simultaneously.

You can now select objects and Sims to reset and debug them. You can turn this off by re-opening the cheats bar and typing “testingcheats false.”

Find inspiration in the gallery

If you’re stuck on how building your house or what kind of Sim you want to make, check out the gallery, where other players upload their creations. You can access the gallery using the button of the photo in the upper right corner of the screen.

Even if you don’t want to use other peoples’ houses and templates, you can always take a gander to get inspiration for colors, home styles, and other unique ideas.

Only buy expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs you really want

There are tons of packs for the Sims, additional DLC that adds systems, furniture, Sim styles, and the like. However, if you look at the full list, it can be super daunting to figure out which to get. Don’t feel obligated to buy everything. Make sure to go through a list of content and pick out features you really want to play around with.

It’s actually better to wait, as The Sims 4 expansion packs and other packs go on sale fairly frequently.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.