Here is a little warning Virtual Villagers is not a fast paced, hardcore game. This is a very slow game, it is very casual and you are only meant to play it for 5-10 mins per hour it runs, and as you progress more you can do it less. You let your guys work and come back and check on them. There is a certain level of micromanaging you can do, but don't expect to be entertained by constantly fiddling with your little peeps.
At the start of the game, you are informed that a horrible tragedy has left you and your tribe homeless, and you just happen to come across this new island for a home (I know, it's deep). This is a game where your goal is to influence your villagers to do work, complete tasks and form a successful village. Each villager is capable of learning specific skills, and each villager can have likes/dislikes to influence those skills as well. You need to find the right balance of training for doctors, farmers, scientists, breeders, and builders, and as people die out you need to make sure you have a replacement for these as well. The skills are pretty self explanatory really, except for breeding, which I'll need to go into a very detailed explanation on, in fact, you can email me to find out! Yes, it is sad that I named a character after myself and made him the master breeder, I am well of aware of this. But what is worse is that I can get jealous of me.
So far it seems kinda of like any other half baked RTS, right? Not really, despite all its short comings of a low budget game, there are some surprisingly unique features and they really got me hooked. This game plays out in real time, seriously real time. You quit the game, nothing at all is running, but the game still is! If you don't watch what happens often enough you'll have a bunch of skeletons runnin... laying around. Luckily you can pause your game in case you need an extended time away from the computer. This leads to a real neat aspect of the game, and there is something that just draws me to it, as I can go to bed worrying all night about my little villagers, and see them advancing the next morning.
Throughout the game, events will happen to you, from things you can't change - PARROTS ATE MY BERRIES- (OK I'm still bitter) to decisions regarding your community and people, both good and bad. Rarely do you see a game where things happen that you just can't recover from, but here is one of those. Everyone can die from these events, you can run out of food, can be attacked by animals, or you can gain significant boosts for your people.
So island life is kinda dull, ya? There are some mysteries around the island for you to solve! Luckily! 16 puzzles lie around the island, ranging from dead easy to down right difficult to solve, but with enough time you can solve everything.
Despite its very cheap and dated graphics, the low budget and somewhat buggy sound, and general lacking of real content, there is something that draws me to and makes me enjoy this game. All my little guys have a bit of a personality, and the whole idea of the game intrigues me into thinking what this could be if it was just more, and not some quickie game? I absolutely adore the concept of this game, and enjoyed playing the whole thing.
So, between my yelling at the slackers that keep wandering off the job, and try to find ways to kill them (but I can't!), I just get overly involved and love the whole game. Unfortunately there isn't much replay value, or point to keep playing once things are maxed out; it is also a point which does not take a long amount of time.
PARROTS ATE MY BERRIES!