This is my first encounter with the Virtual Villagers, but not the first time I’ve played a SIM-style game. I’ve played Populous, Sim City, The Sims — years ago. This game’s objective is to complete the 16 puzzles with other tasks along the way. This game stands out from many adventure games in that every time you start a new tribe (new game), the experience doesn’t feel like a repeated experience.
In the first tribe, I had a couple that had babies as soon as the mother finished nursing a baby. The second tribe ran into trouble very early on with the ocean rendered useless for food thanks to the algae build up. One of the villagers in the third tribe refused to swim in the ocean. He ran away every time I tried to put him in there to fish.
In other words, each tribe has personable characters and different timing of events. While playing, I thought to myself things like, “Oh it’s that annoying villager who won’t do anything,” “That’s a sweet villager who loves to tell stories and teach the children,” “I appreciate the villager’s dependability” and “Are these people ever going to master anything???”
I celebrated when the villagers completed a project, I got mad when villagers hadn’t mastered a job when I checked on them, I smiled when the children discovered a new item and I felt sadness when two elderly villagers passed away.
One thing I had to learn in playing this game: Patience. Sometimes there wasn’t anything to do except keep an eye out for items — that means I needed to let them take care of themselves for a little while. Even when the game wasn’t loaded, the villagers continued to go about their business. Those who have little time to play games, but long to play one will find this a perfect fit. It doesn’t take much time to check on the villagers and do a few things.
A good way to play the game is check in on them a couple of times a day and take care of things. The game isn’t meant to be played on a continuous basis like the arcade games as time is an important factor. Sure, you could change the clock on your computer, but you might miss important events.
The official web site has a great guide that provides hints without giving anything away. It also contains the details for the puzzles, but it warns you when you’re about to read the spoilers section. The community forum is another great resource for the game. This community is careful not to spoil anything since many users put (Spoiler) or (Possible Spoiler) in the subject.
Anytime I got stuck, I went to the forums where I found most of the answers. You just can’t control some things in the game — after all, the developers did a superb job of ensuring the experience isn’t the same each time you start a new tribe.
The island-style music fit beautifully with the environment without getting old after playing for a while. You can also rename your villagers — I had to, since several of mine received the same name. You can get creative and name them after your family as I did by giving an island-like version of my ancestors’ names.
- Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- 800MHz processor
- 256 MB RAM
- DirectX 7 or higher
Original article source and reprinted with permission: TheDiamondGames
[tags]games,pc games,reviews,Meryl K. Evans[/tags]