|Virtual Villagers is a series of village simulator video games created and developed by Last Day of Work, an independent video game developer and publisher. It is released as shareware for Windows, Mac OS X, and for convergent mobile telephone technology.|
The games are based on puzzles and strategy and have an underlying motive throughout with a fusion of ethnic and cultural backgrounds surrounding a mythical island called Isola. There are four portions to the island, in which the game is set, being the cardinal points of the compass.
In the first game, A New Home, islanders have lived in peace for many years on their island; but, one day, a volcano erupted and destroyed their home. The survivors fled and discovered another island called Isola, where they make their new home. There, they must uncover the secrets and puzzles of Isola and create a village. This game is based around organizing and growing a village to develop villagers with more skill sets, culminating in giving birth to a child with all five skill sets.
Virtual Villagers: A New Home
After their previous island is destroyed by a catastrophe, a group of villagers find Isola as their new home.
Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children
Two curious villagers decide to adventure into the cave that had long taunted them and find themselves on the western shore of Isola, with new mysteries to solve. They also discover a small group of abandoned children and, as with other games in the series, attempt to build a society anew.
Virtual Villagers 3: Secret City
In the third installation in the series, Virtual Villagers 3: Secret City, a group of villagers venture to the northern shore of Isola, where they find an abandoned city that they must restore by creating alchemy labs and repairing huts, ancient structures, and tools. a new privilege has also been installed, you are able to obtain a chief. The chief may be anywhere in age range, and is “chosen” by placing them on the tribal robe.
Last Day of Work’s official site summary for the game reads as follows: “Embark on a new journey with a group of villagers in search of a new part of the island to populate. Land on the hidden shores of the northern side of Isola and explore what was once a secret city. Find new sources of food to nourish your villagers and help them rebuild the remains of this mysterious city. Who lived here before? Where have they gone? What is the secret of Isola?”
Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life
The fourth game in the series, Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life, continues the story of the island of Isola, where several generations have coexisted with the island in happiness and peace. In a turn of events, the fauna of the island has begun to diminish and, as such, the chieftain of the villagers has sent an expedition to investigate the causation of this phenomenon. In their travels, the expedition party stumble across a clearing with an enormous dying banyan tree, dubbed the Tree of Life, the hypothesised answer to the villagers’ problem on the eastern shore of the island.
In terms of gameplay, in contrast to previous games in the series, The Tree of Life permits the player to choose his or her starting tribe members, which comprises five people; similar to previous games, there are 16 achievements, called “puzzles”, to be earned. Aesthetically and graphically, The Tree of Life features an updated user interface and a detailed hand-drawn map.
Virtual Villagers 5: New Believers
Released on December 30, 2010, Virtual Villagers 5: New Believers is set on the island of Isola.
This time, the villagers discover a mask in the forest. When a group of villagers go to investigate they are captured and imprisoned by a group of masked heathens. The aim is to break out of the prison and convert all the the heathen villagers into believers.
The Heathens are split into groups depending on the colour of their mask
- Blue mask: Can be overpowered and believe in what the villagers believe, not violent.
- Orange mask: Very aggressive, run after villager if intruding.
- Purple mask: Can be over powered if villager beats and or helps heathen, not violent.
- Red mask: Sacred, feared by the villagers, territorial.
In this series of virtual villagers, the non believers install sacred totems that the villagers try to tear down. The villagers get an opportunity to master in what they persevere to become (farmer, doctor, scientist, builder). If a villager wants to become a scientist, then they study in the lab. If the villager wants to become a doctor, then they study in the infirmary. If the villager wants to become a farmer, then they must first tear down the sacred totem near the noni then start harvesting the noni. Last, if the villager wants to become a builder then they must work on making a shack and a love shack. Once the love shack is installed, the player must pick two adults (one man and one woman) and they will consult on if they want to have a baby in the love shack.
The villagers can take down the sacred totems. However, the heathens will be guarding the totems. One way to take down a totem is, to send one person to intrude, whom the orange mask heathens will chase, and meanwhile have another villager dismantle the totem. The other way is to put bees near the statue so that way the guarders will leave. There are new events in this series. Every time you open the game you will find big surprises. Warning: If the player puts bees near the statue and the villager goes to tear down the totem, the villager can be attacked by the bees. Some totems are not guarded because they are too powerful for villagers alone to tear down. Therefore, a God power might be necessary to help the villagers gain access to the totem and tear it down.
The basic objective of the game is to master the skills and convert every heathen to a villager.
Larger than any previous game in the series, New Believers is described by the developers Last Day of Work as a “god game”, in that players will experience being the “god” of the exploring villagers. In light of the game’s concept, the player earns energy through the faith of believers and acquires powers that he or she can aid his or her tribe; such powers include the creation of storms, droughts, sun lights, and butterflies and bees. The game’s new concept is also reflected in a new faith-measuring meter in the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen.
In terms of gameplay, New Believers emphasises predominantly on being a creator-like being and having more choices in what can be done and what is done by the tribe.