This is a long post – so if you’re well progressed in the game, I’d advise you to skip right over it.

To get beyond the very first Valentine’s Day quest you need Milhouse. But if you’ve just joined the game with the Valentine’s Day update, you won’t have him – and that’s because of the way the game works. You can’t just build any building you choose. You can only unlock characters and their buildings by doing tasks a series of tasks in a very precise order.

It’s important to note that the levels at which buildings are supposed to unlock are minimum levels only – if you gain a lot of friends quickly, you’ll level up faster. However, you’ll still need to complete every task in order before the you can unlock any new buildings or characters.

So, here it is – for new players, the first part of a walkthrough from the very beginning of the game right up until building the van Houten House and unlocking Milhouse. This part takes you up until you build Cletus’ Farm:

1. Square One Build the Simpsons’ house (this takes you to level 2 and unlocks Lisa)

2. Springfield Cleaners Pt. 1 Despite his objections, Homer cleans up some of the debris left by the explosion (6 seconds – don’t make him clean up everything – just one piece if debris is enough at this stage. You need something for Lisa to do in a moment and a few stages later on)
3. Springfield Cleaners Pt. 2 Lisa joins in the Springfield clean up (6 seconds)
4. The New Evergreen Terrace Pt. 1 Build a road
5. Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart Build the Kwik-E-Mart (you’re asked to use some of your donuts to speed this up – it unlocks Apu and levels you up to level 3)

6. The Others Frink appears from the Other Springfield and tells you to pay a visit there; do what he says and collect some extra cash and XP
7. The Box, The Box! Get a Mystery Box containing some donuts – try to hang on to these because they’re rare from this point on (this levels you up to level 4)
8. Soylent Bean Lisa goes shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart
9. Thank Ganesh Apu prays to Ganesh (45 seconds)
10. Working Hard Homer or Lisa need to clean up Springfield a bit more (if there’s no debris left, you’ll need to buy some more land first)
11. The New Evergreen Terrace Pt. 2 Build the Brown House
12. The Mysterious Brown House Pt. 1 Homer breaks into the Brown House and watches TV
13. The Taxman Cometh Collect money from houses (this should level you up to level 5 if you haven’t got there already – how quickly you level up becomes a bit unpredictable now, so this is the last time I’ll indicate an increased level)
14. The New Evergreen Terrace Pt. 3 Move the Kwik-E-Mart because it doesn’t really belong next to the Simpsons’ house (this unlocks Ned Flanders and lets you build the Flanders’ house)

15. Shopaholic Collect money from shops
16. Green Thumb Plant trees (Lisa initiates this task, so it can’t happen until she’s free)
17. Donut-denominated Decorations Place Homer’s Hammock (you have no choice here about spending some of your donuts – I don’t think you can move on unless you do)
18. That Ain’t Right Ned condemns science
19. myPad Homer plays with his MyPad (this is the task that is referred to as necessary to build the Escalator to Nowhere and the Popsicle Skyscraper)
20. Hardly Working Place the kiddie pool
21. Property Values Buy a land expansion
22. I-Choo-Choo-Choose-You Add a friend (you can’t do this if you’re playing the Android version of the game: don’t worry, though – your progress isn’t affected by not completing this one)
23. Getting Benched Place a bench so that Lisa can read a book (strangely, she reads it under a tree rather than using the bench you’ve just placed)
24. Put up a Parking Lot Build a Parking Lot for the Kwik-E-Mart
25. Pave Paradise Place some pavement around the Kwik-E-Mart
26. Slack-Jawed Yokel Pt. 1 Build Cletus’ Farm and unlock Cletus (Apu prompts this – it costs $1,200 and takes 1 hour. Build it then send all characters on 1 hour tasks so everything finishes when you’ve finished building the farm.)

Part 2 will take you from Cletus’ Farm up, through Krusty Burger, and up to the van Houten House.