App Review: Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children
Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children by Last Day of Work Software is a sim type game based on the Virtual Villagers game for Windows and Mac. The game takes place on the island of Isola where a group of people (adults and children) are stranded. You must help these people learn skills, find food, battle disease, and many other things as they strive to build a village on the island. The game takes place in real times. You can choose the speed from 1/2 time to 2x normal time. Just make sure you check in on the villagers often because the game doesn’t pause when you close the app.
When you launch the game, you can opt to have the tutorial on or off. The tutorial serves as a good guide to get you started teaching your villagers the things they need to know. It will pop up windows from time to time with specific insructions on what to do next. The instruction will be minimized once you have read it, but won’t disappear completely until you have accomplished the task.
One of the first things that you need to teach your villagers is how to fish for food. To teach them to fish, you just drag one of the adults into the ocean. If the villager emerges without a fisht, drag them back over and over until they learn to fish. Once they have learned a skill like this, they will be able to carry on doing it on their own. You also need to get a villager started researching right away. By researching, the villagers earn technology points which can be used to buy technologies such as farming, engineering, medicine, science, exploration, and culture. Building a fire is also one of the first skills your villagers need to learn. This is also the first of many puzzles to be solved while on the island.
At first, you have very little manpower to work with to get these tasks accomplished. Unfortunately, the children on the island are no help whatsoever. You can drag them anywhere you want to do a job, but they will not do it. The only thing that you can get a child to do is collect something. If you drag them over to an object such as a shell, mushroom, or butterfly, they will collect it. You can also earn technology points by using the children to collect things. Another drag on your manpower is babies. The villagers will not have babies without your help. To help the villagers have a baby, you must drag an adult male to an adult female or visa versa. They then go inside for some “private time.” Then, a stork may deliver a baby. If the stork does deliver a baby, the mother will not do anything other than care for her baby for an extended period of time. This situation is not an explicit one, but may be too suggestive for young children.
I had a hard time at first keeping track of all the villagers. They are hard to see on the small screen. However, if you tap on a villager and tap the detail button, you can see the full stats for that villager (ie. name, age, sex, skills). You can also back out to a map view at anytime to get an overall picture of what is going on. Most of the time, I found this wasn’t necessary. The area of the island that the villagers are on is small enough that I could keep track of them pretty easily.
Virtual Villagers is a very indepth game like man other sim type games. The graphics are great and the controls are easy to pick up on. My only gripes with the game would be these. First, the game moved way too slowly for me. When my villagers were working on building or researching, I wasn’t really sure what to do while I waited for them to finish what they were doing or earn enough points to buy something. It is probably best played in spurts. Get your villagers started on something and then come back and check on them later. Second, the tutorial ended a little too soon for me. I knew there were skills to teach the villagers, but I didn’t know how to teach them. Maybe that is the whole point of the game, to figure out how to teach them all these things. Overall, not a bad game, just a little slow and tedious for me. You can see in the pictures below that I left my villagers alone a little too long.
Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children is $1.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Developer Website: http://www.virtualvillagers.com
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