A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game encourages players to become more aware of their heritage by seeing their relatives brought to life. Players can decorate and customize their virtual town to reflect where their ancestors came from while adding to their family tree.
Positive Role Models
A character's status plays a role in the game and can be levelled up by completing quests. Characters with higher status can apply for higher-paying and more prestigious jobs, and status also affects the types of dwellings they can live in, ranging from "hobo hovels" and tents to mansions.
Ease of Play
The city-building aspect of the gameplay is typical for the genre, and adding relatives to the family tree is easy. The game offers a fairly thorough tutorial as well.
Products & Purchases
The game sells a premium currency that is used to instantly unlock certain quests, purchase exclusive items, and grant access to real historical documents from the database that can be associated with a particular relative.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Family Village is a building simulation for Facebook that lets players import their own relatives into the game to populate their town. The game is free to play, but players can spend real-world cash to speed up quest completion, purchase exclusive items, and unlock real historical documents that might contain information about their ancestors. Players are asked to add birth, marriage, and death dates for relatives living or dead, which may raise some privacy concerns.
Is It Any Good?
By incorporating genealogy into the mix, Family Village encourages players to learn about their ancestors while creating a virtual city that reflects their own unique heritage. The family tree is easy to interact with and grow, while the city-building portion offers a nice variety of decorations including homes and commercial buildings, vehicles, and pets. As more details are added to the family tree, players unlock special heritage-related village decorations like regional flags and monuments (to unlock the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, your tree must have at least one relative from California).
Family Village is a fun sim for genealogy enthusiasts with a few kinks still to work out. The character customization options are not very ethnically diverse (creating an African or Asian ancestor, for example, will prove challenging), and the heritage decorations are for the time being skewed toward North America and Western Europe. The game also attempts to link real historical documents such as archived newspaper articles to relatives in the family tree who have matching names, but players must spend premium currency to purchase the documents before they can be viewed.
Online interaction: Facebook friends can be invited as neighbors but they don't have as much of an impact as in other games. If players have identified certain Facebook friends as relatives through Facebook's Family setting, these friends can be invited into the app and will appear in the family tree. You are asked to reveal personal information about your relatives.
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.