The Ville

Common Sense Media says

Sim emphasizes positive social interactions and happiness.

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

With the exception of a few harmless pranks (like zapping each other with joy buzzers), interactions between characters are positive. Players cultivate friendships and romances, and quests generally involve making a positive impact whether it's planning a neighbor's birthday party, growing organic vegetables, or building a bird sanctuary. Neighbors help each other by sending items and joining work crews to help complete building projects.

Positive role models

The Ville emphasizes positive interactions, and has none of the moral ambiguity of other social sims such as The Sims Social. Characters are generally nice and helpful to each other.

Ease of play

The menu-based gameplay is easy to manage, and the game guides players along with quests, tutorials, and prompts.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

A player's character can enter heterosexual and same-sex romances with other characters, but both friends must approve any changes in relationship status. Romantically-linked characters can perform special actions based on their romance level, from smooching and making out to taking naughty photos of each other and making "whoopie" (a euphemism for sex) in bed while covered with a cloud of hearts. Characters can strip down to their underwear, but there is nothing more graphic than that.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Players can spend real-world cash on a premium currency, then use it to instantly complete quests or buy exclusive items. Players are frequently prompted to post game-related status updates to their Facebook timeline, and send messages to neighbors with requests for items required to complete quests and buildings. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some character interactions involve alcohol, such as raising a glass of alcohol to make a toast and participating in a chugging contest. Players are shown drinking, following by a spinning animation over their heads to indicate dizziness. The Partier personality is depicted as dancing while holding a wine bottle and glass.

Privacy & safety

Some privacy and safety concerns. Players will be frequently prompted to post game-related status updates to their Facebook wall, and on the walls of friends. Players can send and receive messages from neighbors using an in-game message board called ZTalk. Players might be tempted to "friend" strangers on Facebook to increase their number of neighbors, since neighbors are essential to complete many quests and building projects. Players can opt into "Ville Friends," which allows them to add neighbors without friending them on Facebook. Ville Friends can see each other's name, profile picture, and game-related status updates.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Ville is a life simulation game played on the Facebook social network. Players create a character by choosing from six personality traits (Partier, Jock, Scoundrel, Artist, Charmer, and Mogul), which affect the bonuses that they are able to collect. Players can cultivate friendly and romantic relationships with other characters. Romantic relationships must be approved by both players. Players can spend real-world cash to instantly unlock quests and buildings or purchase exclusive items. Players will need help from friends in order to complete buildings and quests, which might tempt them to "friend" strangers on Facebook. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting
  • fashion

Skills

Self-Direction

  • work to achieve goals

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The Ville is a decent social sim, though not as charming, engaging, or intricate as The Sims Social -- the game that it's so obviously trying to copy. The only goals here are to acquire "happiness" points and coins (to spend on new stuff.)

Learning Approach

Kids can learn about teamwork and friendship building, since neighbors must help each other out to complete quests. Kids can experiment with fashion via their avatars.

Support

The menu-based gameplay is easy to manage, and the game guides players along with quests, tutorials, and prompts.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting
  • fashion

Skills

Self-Direction

  • work to achieve goals

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • teamwork

Kids can learn about teamwork and friendship building, since The Ville requires neighbors to help each other out in order to complete quests by sending gifts and joining work crews. Kids can grow various collections of items -- from building supplies to butterflies -- that can be crafted into new items. Kids can also experiment with fashion as they purchase new clothes for their avatar to wear. The Ville is an accessible social sim that emphasizes positive social interactions and teamwork.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

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What's it about?

THE VILLE is a simulation game that emphasizes positive social interactions by having players earn coins and \"happiness.\" Players complete quests that help them grow into well-rounded people, which includes cultivating friendships, finding romance, cooking, tending a garden, working a variety of careers, pursuing hobbies and artistic interests, and decorating an ever-expanding house and lot with furniture and accessories. Neighbors can help each other out by visiting each other's homes and doing chores, or sending gifts to help complete quests.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Ville borrows so much from EA's The Sims Social, both conceptually and esthetically, that it's hard to tell the two games apart at times. However, one notable difference is that The Ville lacks the moral ambiguity found in The Sims. Characters in The Ville can't become enemies, get into fights, or steal, for example, and there's no option for being nasty, only nice. Players also don't have to maintain their character's hygiene and hunger levels: the only goals are to acquire "happiness" points and coins (to spend on new stuff.) The Ville is a decent social sim, though not as charming, engaging, or intricate as The Sims Social -- the game that it's so obviously trying to copy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about online privacy and staying safe while online. Why should kids be careful about adding Facebook friends that they don't know in real life?

  • Families can also talk about how to protect private information, such as photos and Timeline posts, from strangers by enabling Facebook's privacy filters or recruiting neighbors through the game's "Ville Friends" feature instead of friending them through Facebook.

  • Families can also talk about how neighbors can make a community stronger. What are the advantages of cultivating strong relationships with neighbors and helping each other out?

Game details

Platforms:Facebook
Price:Free with Microtransactions
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Zynga
Release date:June 26, 2012
Genre:Simulation
Topics:Friendship
ESRB rating:NR for (Facebook)

This review of The Ville was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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