What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that you don't need to have played the original to enjoy this sequel. This is a "persistent" game, which keeps playing even when you're not: If kids want a break, they will need to pause it. Kids probably will want to let the game continue so they can accumulate points and upgrade technologies. Villagers age and die, so parents need to gauge their kid's ability to handle the death of a character they have "nurtured."
What's it about?
VIRTUAL VILLAGERS: THE LOST CHILDREN starts where Virtual Villagers: A New Home left off, with two villagers exploring a passage on the island where they're stranded. The villagers discover a group of five children struggling to survive. You guide this group as they learn how to survive and multiply. You also help them solve 16 puzzles including how to make fire, build a dam, fashion tools, and discover a new species of fish.
You need to find each villager work they will enjoy -- to farm, build, heal, parent, or research -- and you can change assignments as needs arise. As your tribe accumulates tech points through research, they can purchase upgrades in farming, engineering, medicine, science, exploration, and culture. This is a "persistent game," which means that your little villagers keep living even after you have turned off their game. While you can pause it, this game is played for several weeks; you will only need to tinker with it for about 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
Is it any good?
This life simulation game is streamlined and easy to play. By experimenting, kids learn about the interdependencies of food, shelter, and population. If you grow your population too quickly, you create a famine and have to hunt for new food sources. Likewise, your population won't grow if you don't assign enough villagers to build new shelters.
This sequel offers all-new puzzles, new life events, and new gameplay, including making stews from spices found on the island and collecting found objects. Another new feature is the ability to play multiple games at once. While you are waiting for one tribe to accumulate enough tech points to upgrade, you can begin another tribe and start to shepherd them through another unique game experience. This game teaches patience and rewards creativity by encouraging players to experiment to solve the puzzles; it also provides a Strategy and Puzzle Guide online at VirtualVillagers.com.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what makes a simulation game like this one a great gaming experience. What sets this one apart? How important was it to you to solve the 16 puzzles? Did you use the discussion boards on the developer's Web site to help you or did you figure them out on your own? Do you think that the environmental issues presented in this game mirror what happens in real life?