I suppose it says something about my character when I actually feel bad when my villagers die. At the very least, it might make my mom feel a little better after my criminal Tamagotchi neglect. Seriously though, you get attached to the little guys, and you’ll be sad if they accidentally starve to death.
By now you may already be familiar with the popular Virtual Villagers franchise. It’s a casual simulation game that runs in real time where you are the invisible god watching over a band of primitive castaways. You are responsible for them finding enough food, shelter, medicine, what have you, and you must also assist them in discovering all the hidden mysteries of the ruined city they have found themselves in.
The app is exactly the same as the original computer game and is very similar to the Virtual Villagers 2 app (but not 1), so don’t expect any big changes, but I find that the game rather more fun on the iPhone, since you get the physical delight of “picking up” the villagers through the touch screen. It’s also much easier to navigate around the screen with the flick of a finger than with a mouse, but the screen is much smaller, so it can be a pain sometimes, especially when you’re looking for tiny items.
All the games are basically identical in how they play, but Virtual Villagers 3 has a few more puzzle-elements, which makes the game a little more interesting. You can choose a faction, either nature or magic, and you also have access to an alchemy lab that lets you experiment with creating potions from the various herbs around the island. Additionally, the structures you can restore in the ruined city are decidedly more interesting than the usual huts. Progress on the puzzles is usually either seriously challenging or just glacially slow, but it’s very satisfying when you finish one, like finding a stable food source.
As I mentioned earlier, keeping your villagers adequately fed early in the game is much more challenging this time around. My first tribe met with a tragic end due to famine, so my advice to you is be very focused on figuring out the lift and shark puzzles in the beginning. The game has a very slow pace, so you may not notice that sense of urgency as your food stores are slowly trickling away, but trust me, it’s something you want to keep an eye on.
I really like the Virtual Villagers franchise. The games are all basically the same, but they’re done exceedingly well, with a beautiful attention to detail and top notch art, sound, and interface. It easily represents days of entertainment, so if you’re looking for an affordable and relaxed casual game, Virtual Villagers 3 can’t be beat.
Here is a video demo of the Virtual Villagers 3: The Secret City app on the iPhone
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