Artist Colony


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Rating: 4.4/5 (53 votes)
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Artist Colony

GrinnypOnce upon a time, two young artists started a colony, a place where fellow artists could come, train, and release their creative potential. It was all going well until one day a lovely lady sculptor showed up, capturing the hearts of both friends. One won her hand in marriage, but the other could not forget. Eventually this love triangle resulted in a rift between the two friends and the colony burning to the ground. Thus begins the backstory to Artist Colony, the new casual simulation and time management game designed by Nikitova.

artistcolony_stage.jpgGameplay will be familiar to those who have played other casual sims such as Virtual Villagers or My Tribe. Just drag your characters to the spots where they need to work and they do all the heavy lifting themselves. After clearing a bit of rubble from the entrance, characters can then enter studios to train in their field of art. Each person has a primary and a secondary art talent, both of which are trainable. Once they reach a certain level they can begin to create masterpieces, which will be needed tomake money to upgrade studios and other structures in the colony.

But artists cannot just train and create, they have to eat and sleep, too! Drag hungry or tired people to the correct buildings to keep them healthy. You also must perform maintenance around the colony, pulling weeds or shoveling snow as the seasons change. On top of all that, artists also need inspiration, a feat accomplished by beautifying the grounds with fountains, murals, and other inspirational flourishes. One fun dynamic is when an artist begins to "think" of someone. Place them near that someone and they will either fall in love (inspiring them to create a work of art about love) or they will experience heartbreak (inspiring a work of art dedicated to the downside of love). This will not, however, result in children. Instead, to swell your population you must beautify and upgrade the colony to attract more artists.

artistcolony_map.jpgAt first when one of your little artists creates a masterpiece it will sit at the creation point, awaiting a buyer to wander in and see if they like it. Later you can rebuild the gallery to hold up to 40 masterpieces at once, allowing more money to pour in. In the beginning, each studio can only train one artist up to a certain level, so the money is desperately needed for upgrades to accommodate more students and higher levels, especially when other artists arrive to swell the colony population. Certain restoration projects and upgrades also require not only money but artists of a certain level, so don't neglect the training.

A menu on the left allows you to keep track of all of your residents, with buttons that can show who is hungry, who is tired, who is inspired, and who is in love. Click on one of your little characters and you will get a menu showing their primary and secondary talents, how many levels they have achieved, who they are thinking of, and their inspiration and energy levels. There's a handy "events" menu at the top, notifying you if something is taking place. Click on the envelope and the game will whisk you to the location to see what is going on. There's also a nice overview map to see the colony in its entirety, allowing you to jump from place to place without all the scrolling.

Analysis: At first glance, Artist Colony resembles one of the giants of the casual sim field, Virtual Villagers. As you dig deeper into the experience, you will find the game goes its own way and creates a lovely, fun virtual world of art and performance. One charming aspect is the gallery where you can check out all the fabulous photographs, paintings and sculptures created by your little people, or simply watch them on the restored stage as they perform musical numbers or interpretive dance in the dance studio.

artistcolony_musicstudio.jpgThe artwork in Artist Colony is a delight. Your little folks are very unique in appearance, and not just in clothing. Hair color, facial adornment, and even posture help you distinguish one from another. The backgrounds of the colony are stunning, especially when you open up new parts of the map to show the mountain mural or the peaceful fishing pier. Drop an artist on a building and you get a lovely cut-away view of the inside as they go about their business. Each studio looks better and better after upgrades, adding to the delight of the gameplay. There's also some lovely, sprightly music to enjoy as you play. When one of your musicians gets on stage to perform, the music changes and you will actually hear their new composition.

The best part of the game is the ever-developing story, both in the present and the past, as new pieces of the colony are unearthed or upgraded. After certain benchmarks are met you will be entertained with more details about the disaster of the past, or the angst of the present. Eventually you will learn the whole story of the love triangle but you can continue playing as long as you wish, trying to reach certain benchmarks or just enjoying the lives and creations of your little artists.

There are a few downsides. The biggest one is that you can only play one game at a time. Thus, if you want to start a new game, you will be forced to discard the old one. This can be annoying to those who might wish to run simultaneous games. Also, the pacing is a bit slow, especially at the beginning. Fortunately, there is a "fast forward" button that can make things move at double speed if you don't want to sit around waiting for something to happen. The game does not run while it is turned off, so be prepared to spend some time in your (hopefully) thriving colony.

Despite a few minor annoyances, Artist Colony is fascinating, absorbing casual gameplay. For those who love casual sims this is the game for you. Just be warned, it is very addictive. You can while away hours as you manipulate your little people to and fro, searching for hidden pieces of the past or creating masterpieces for the present. It's time to dress in all black, slap on a beret, and get ready to create some art!

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

14 Comments

I remember trying this game on a whim. It was a lot of fun, but the beginning really is slow. Fast-forward button is your friend. Also expect a lot of artists to get tired once you get a small herd of them. At the start I think there are a few resting spots, but only one really good one. It was kinda annoying to have to constantly do the "shuffle Artist B to comfy lawn chair and put Artist A back on combating the rebellious hedges". It feels like the gardening never ends. @.@ The storyline was good from what I could tell from the trial version. I recommend trying before you buying; some people might get annoyed by the slow build-up.

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I loved this game. I've been waiting for more sims like it. But yeah slow beginning. The big bucks don't start rolling in, until your artists get better and until then you'll be doing a LOT of path clearing, and what not.

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I've been enjoying this game for about a week now BUT my gallery stays full and I CAN NOT create anything with my new comers.

I think I have maybe 10 artists or so that are fully trained and they are all set to do chores and clean up, but there's only so much 10 characters can do!

And the rest of them are training and sometimes when they get inspired they feel like creating but can't because either an already trained artist is creating or the gallery is too full...

I know people are saying this is slow paced but this is ridiculous, I like the slow but I just wish the buyers would come more frequently or something, or that we could upgrade the gallery to hold more than 40-42 art pieces. I mean they say good for money I'm good on money I can afford my statue upgrade x50, i mean come on!

And I'm stuck on the statue, It keeps saying find all the pieces.. WHERE? And how long do I have to wait for the other pieces to show up, I have one piece and don't even know how many more I need...

All in all a good game but if you tend to be impatient at times best to leave it. Cause it might just ruin the whole thing for ya.

And if anyone has any insight on the statue let me know please!

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@Lia.

I'm don't exactly remember how I found the statue, but I think

it was through weeding and cleaning up paths. Every now and then you'll find a piece.

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Statue pieces:

One piece is right in front of your gallery.
The second piece you need to fish out of the water. You won't get a warning about it specifically but you will get a warning about the achievement. It will then be right near the pier so you still need to pick it up.
Third piece is in a patch of weeds north of the dance studio. Clear the weeds, get the pieces.

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AnonymousGuy December 22, 2009 10:18 AM

I actually feel that the game's speed is just right. Fast-forwarding results in too much a rush for me.

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AnonymousGuy December 22, 2009 10:49 AM

I've got the achievement for fishing a piece out of the water, but now I can't find where it is. Any help please?

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This was fun so far, but now I'm stuck. I have finished the game and Im going for the achievements now. But that 15th artist just doesnt seem to want to arrive, so I cant upgrade the residence hall. I have tons of money, everything else has been upgraded,all artists have maxed skills, at least 10 people are set on yard duty at all times, I have waited at least 6 seasons and nothing. Is it a glitch? Am I missing something? Any ideas?

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Where is the missing piece of photo to finish the fountain by the front entrance?
I'm struggling to finish this section - its all I need to get to stage 2.!!!

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stormyyskyy Author Profile Page January 5, 2010 11:27 PM

For the photo for the fountain, I think that I had to

wait. I think that I just waited and the last piece just showed up. I remember that one piece was found in the debris in front of the music studio, but I'm unsure exactly where the other ones were. Make sure to clean up ALL debris. It will take awhile but the are some important pieces in it and that I had to clean it all up

to find it.
Good luck!

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stormyyskyy Author Profile Page January 5, 2010 11:28 PM

So, Falc, I did what you suggested, and still no statue piece. Any ideas?

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ikyokebanget June 20, 2010 11:21 AM

i get some problem

when i paid to restore landmark and trying to restore it, the restoring is not working well.
mybe, i can restoring this landmark till whenever because the status of restoring is not working
can someone fix this problem?

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I'm stuck on repairing the statue. I have Amala trained to level 9 and she just won't repair the statue. I have found all the pieces, purchased the restoration and the ! is over it but she just stands there a looks at it. Can anyone help, what is missing?

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Anonymous April 3, 2011 1:19 PM

Doesn't Amala have to be level 10 to fix the statue? they have to have mastered their trade ;)

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