Review: Virtual Villagers Series
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 November 2009 10:11 Written by DarkKnightH20 Sunday, 20 September 2009 03:03
This isn’t a single-game review. No…That would be too easy. Instead, I am not only reviewing Virtual Villagers 1, 2, and 3 (for the PC, [Windows and Mac]), but also the Nintendo DS version. Also, check out the Virtual Villagers Website for more information on these games. You can grab trial versions from that website as well.
This varies from game to game really, but the idea is always the same. You have 6 or so people on an old island trying to survive. This island has seen civilization before, and therefore has leftover pieces of construction. Your goal, if you choose to have one, is to rebuild everything, increase population, and conquer all technology + puzzles. The title of each game: Virtual Villagers 1: A New Home, Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children, Virtual Villagers 3: The Secret City, and Virtual Villagers DS: A New Home. Despite the identical title that the DS version shares with the 1st Virtual Villagers PC game, they are not similar at all.
Each game has different puzzles. They don’t skimp on these really — there’s a decent amount of them. Some are obvious, whereas some might be confusing to activate. The DS version has, by far, the most amount of puzzles. These make the game much less boring since you actually have tasks to do instead of just “owning” your surroundings. Random events can take place in this game too, such as a bottle randomly appearing on shore of the beach. Drinking it can lead to good and bad things…so you must be careful.
The graphics aren’t impressive or anything, but they don’t need to be. In fact, I like the graphics that each game uses. Virtual Villagers 1-3 have very similar graphics, whereas Virtual Villagers for the DS has similar, but variations of the previous style. It’s easy on the eyes, but I found that occassionally I may mix up a girl with a guy and accidently have two guys try to mate. Nothing happens since they’re the same gender so get that out of your head, sickos!
Stylus vs Mouse Control
Using a mouse on a PC makes moving villagers around and such very easy. It’s all gravy. With the stylus, however, comes the option of how it should be used throughout the game. Not only can you drag and drop people easily (though sometimes it can be annoying on the DS…) but there are also mini-games that make use of the stylus. These games are all simple and they all reward the virtual villagers with skillpoints on successful completion. Cool. Too bad a lot of those games aren’t color blind-friendly though…
What Makes This Game Successful
Part of the reason this game is so successful is because of the easy interface. Everything is displayed without a problem and anything you want is quickly accessible. What really gives this game its awesomeness though…Is that the game continues even after you exit (unless you freeze time). A lot of the tasks in the game take ages so this is definitely a good thing, especially if you make your villagers as automated as possible. On the DS version, I often leave the game on “fast” and then save it, exit, and let my villagers work.
This game isn’t perfect. While almost beating Virtual Villagers 3, I lost a couple of people when I had a low popullation and was left with one man and all woman. Obviously, this is paradise to that one man, since he must get frisky as much as possible. However, after impregnating 3 or 4 villagers, he died. This could have been ok (sucks to be the dead villager, but at least he may have left the world with more men, right?)…Unfortunately, he only spawned more woman. This has happened to me on a multitude of occassions for the DS version lately. Motto of this story? Have your villagers multiply like bunnies.
After playing Virtual Villagers 1-3, I found the angle of the DS version to be annoying. It can be aggravating trying to drag and drop a villager on top of another one when trying to get them to “rock the casbah”. Also, you’ll sometimes have really annoying villagers who just keep abandoning their tasks or, for example, you could have a healer (or multiple healers), but he/she/they ignore all your sick villagers and let them die. Grrrrrr!
One more annoyance that pertains to the DS Version: it is always storming! This version has got to be one of the most depressing versions out there or something. They seem to not want it to be sunny in this game very often. If you have a fetish for storms, thunder, and rain, you’ll be okay.
Overall, I give the series a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good, respectable score. I expect more DS Virtual Villagers games to be released too. Virtual Villagers is a game that everyone can enjoy, after all…Unless you’ve been stuck on an island before, was forced to imbreed, and had to get tech points and food to survive. If that’s the case, then you probably also own a volleyball named Wilson. Adios!
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