In the console version, Malcolm Landgraab is going around the neighborhood, repossessing items in return for unpaid rent. The player's objective is to complete each career track, unlock and buy back everyone's possessions, and become rich enough to evict Malcolm from his mansion and move their own Sim in.
The Sims Bustin' Out's game mechanics are very similar to that of the first Sims game for the home consoles. The player travels to different locations, earning promotions, friends and skills as they progress through the game until they reach the final home.
The player is free to customise any of the houses as they see fit; this has no penalty unless you leave the house with a value less than its value when you got there. For instance, if you arrived and a lot was worth §20,000 and moved out of the house leaving it with a value of §15,000, the owner of the house will take §5,000 from you as you depart. However, if you raise the value of a house whilst you are living there, the owner will give you a sum of money when you move out.
Every Sim has eight needs to fill as they progress in the adventure. These are; Hunger, Social, Fun, Comfort, Hygiene, Bladder, Environment and Energy. These affect your sim's mood, if a sim leaves to work in a good mood their chances of promotion are higher. If a Sim goes to work in a bad mood they will not get a promotion. Being in a bad mood has other disadvantages, as they will refuse to raise skills and they will not be able to use some of the nicer social interactions. Similarly, being in a bad mood when interacting with other sims enables them to use unfriendly interactions such as "Tease" or "Brag about money".