Vivendi Games Mobile released their virtual island game to the App Store last night: Virtual Villagers [App Store]. As one might expect from a major publisher, the game is very well polished and seems to offer a pleasant amount of depth and story-line.
The game starts with castaways landing on a desert island. The game quickly walks you through how to influence the villagers and help them gather food and build shelter. Villagers can be tasked to do a number of chores, including gathering food, building shelter, performing research and more.
Research allows your villagers to build tools and make discoveries that are necessary to further develop their civilization. There also appear to be a number of mysteries on the island that you must uncover. Washed ashore message bottles slowly unravel a story-line from a person named Tito.
Since the game has just been released, we haven't been able to get far in this virtual world, but first impressions are quite positive. Forum readers have been discussing the game and their responses have also been very good.
Unique to this game, however, is that your villagers continue to work, live and play while you are away, so it adds a Tamagotchi-like aspect to it. Fpugirl describes her early experience with the game:
I picked up this game last night and played it for a few hours. This morning I was excited to see that the 3 babies that had been born last night are now in their teens and going to a school that the villagers built. I have unlocked quite a few of the mini games and they are easy at first but increase with difficulty. I also had my first person die this morning. That's when I found out that you need to keep everyone alive, or able to produce, to win/continue the game.
The game has a type of Sims feel to it but it's definitely different in that you can walk away and they keep living (however there is an option to freeze the game, should you be away for more than a few days).
The game also includes simple "mini games" which you can play to accelerate your villager's tasks. Early examples of these include memory games and food gathering games.
While simply watching this game isn't particularly interesting, but this video should give you an idea of gameplay and the overall polish:
The game is available in the App Store for $7.99 and the early response seem to indicate the game is worth it.
App Store Link: Virtual Villagers