A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
This is a clearly explained, easy-to-use sim game. The mini-games that can be played within are all similarly simple to operate.
Violence & Scariness
In the story, which is told through dialogue, the wicked Gargamel has destroyed the Smurf village, which is why they need to build a new one.
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Products & Purchases
In addition to the Smurfs being licensed characters, this game encourages and entices players to spend real money on virtual "Smurfberries." Containers of the berries, which cost from $5 up to $100, allow players to speed up the action (rather than wait, say, two hours for a house to be built) or to earn special in-game items that can only be traded for Smurfberries. There's also a link to the developer's website on the main menu.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in order to get the most out of Smurfs' Village, players need to spend real money to buy extras. Parents should also be aware that if they have not restricted in-app purchases in their settings, kids can buy Smurfberries if they know their parents' iTunes password. With a wagon of Smurfberries costing $100, the charges can quickly add up. While the game can be played without buying "Smurfberries" to speed things up or gain access to special items, the game is built to make buying enticing. This is a so-called "velvet rope" app that is appealing to younger players through both its cartoon tie-in and its ease of use. The app allows for players to visit friends' villages, but to do so, they need to connect the app to their Facebook account.
Is It Any Good?
SMURFS' VILLAGE is one of the better, more interesting free build-a-village sims available for the iDevices. It's got a genuine storyline built into it, creative use of the Smurf characters (this feels like a real Smurf game, not just a city-sim with Smurfs layered over it), and a bunch of mini-games thrown in -- which is a rarity in these types of sim games. If you build a bakery, for instance, you can play a baking game for extra experience points. Unfortunately, it's got the same sort of sneaky salemanship that apps of this genre share -- meaning that impatient players will be enticed into spending real money on items that make the game move faster (and in this case, those costs can be stiff with a wheelbarrow of Smurfberries costing $49.99) -- but if you accept such marketing tactics as a given in these games, then you'll truly appreciate the innovations that Smurfs' Village brings to the genre.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.