Not a lot can be said without spoiling the fun of playing Srdjan Susnic's entry into our CGDC#8. What you should know is that ZOO Director is a truly traditional sandbox gameplay experience. Your aim is to rise above the rank of humble Zoo Novice to claim the glorious title of Zoo Director, by creating and maintaining your very own zoo. Sounds simple, but this quirky little game quickly reveals its challenges.
Instead of playing the usual part of "hero who saves the world", Recettear fits you in behind the scenes as shopkeeper, the thankless job of providing an endless supply of items. You'll haggle with customers, make smart purchases as the guild, and even hire adventurers to strike out on your own, looting dungeons in true action/RPG form!
The road to magical greatness is difficult, littered with dragons, enchantments, adventure... not to mention test scores, rival students, detentions, and trying to keep your ghostly familiar in check. This incredibly ambitious text adventure from Black Chicken Studios is one part life simulator, one part fantasy RPG, and a whole lot of fun if you have the patience to let yourself become immersed in the tale of the making of the greatest mage of all time... you.
Out of the capable hands of Youda Games comes a time management game that will have you hooked for days on in. Youda Survivor combines some of the best elements from Youda Games' previous efforts with some stylistic influences from games like Farm Frenzy. Not only are you gathering items and converting them to better products, you're also boiling them into new and exciting potions to make you look more impressive in the eyes of the island chief!
Once upon a time, there a was a young llama with a dream. A dream and $200 adorably clutched in his hoof. With that hoof-ful of dollars, he would take the wretched turf left to him by his father and become... KING! King by plagiarizing all the neighboring cities, but still. In A Llama, A World and a Plan, a building simulation from StefanT, you can become a Lama glama and make your every ungulate wish come true.
My Kingdom for the Princess has returned in an aptly-titled sequel, My Kingdom for the Princess 2! Nevosoft brings back its casual resource management/building game with a new story, new levels, new settings, and some other little twists to give players of the original something to look forward to. If you love games like Build-a-lot but can't stand keeping track of so many things at once, My Kingdom for the Princess will suit you just fine.
Build-a-lot is back with a newly-themed release that takes us all the way back to the time of Shakespeare. Build-a-lot: The Elizabethan Era is more of the same building/management sim we've grown to love, only this time there's a distinct 1500s England slant. Gone are fancy upgrades, modern conveniences, and indoor plumbing. In are pubs, apothecaries, outhouses, and wall sconces. That's right, sconces!
Totem Tribe GOLD is a new and expanded follow-up to the original Totem Tribe, the series of simulation games sprinkled with real-time strategy and a hidden object elements. Not a proper sequel and more than an expansion, expect to find new challenges, ten new levels, different puzzles, and almost twice as much gameplay as the original Totem Tribe. Translation: say goodbye to the rest of your day.
mania for cake. She'll just have to do it sitting down. With a movie in town and a ton of hungry people clamoring for her delicious desserts, she'll need to rely on her husband Jack—and you—to make the crowds happy in Cake Mania: Lights, Camera, Action, another fun time management game from Sandlot Games.
Originally released in Japan back in 2007, Recettear is the story of an item shop, a girl, and a fairy. Recette's father took out a loan and then skipped town, leaving her to pay off the debt. Soon, she meets Tear, a fairy who is as persistent as she is... well, persistent. She teaches Recette to run an item shop out of her house, purchasing stock for adventurers who head out into the world to slay monsters. Buy and sell swords, shields, food products and more, haggling with each customer and placing items in ideal locations to attract business.
REVENGE. That's the only thing on sixteen-year-old Merui's mind when a valuable item is stolen from her... inside a popular online game, that is. The thief, Alistair, offers her a deal; if she can figure out his identity before a month is up, he'll return the stolen item. Of course, that's easier said than done when Merui's schoolwork and personal life keep getting in the way of this polished, charming visual novel from developers Sake Visual.
Caught somewhere between a time management game and a restaurant sim (but leaning heavily in the direction of the former), Burger Bustle puts you in charge of a busy cafe that somehow has the ability to exist in many locations throughout time and space. Flip burgers, create desserts, swap employee roles and collect tips as you work your mouse hand off keeping everything running as efficiently as possible!
Sometimes a little duckling in the gutter has got dreams. Big dreams. Dreams of a training montage that ends with a big, shiny crown placed on its feathered cranium. Well, thanks to Sims5000, you can live out those dreams in the new training sim Duck Life 2. It's bigger, better, and duckier than ever.
CellCraft, the part-strategy part-educational part-weird game of cell growth, is an ambitious title that aims not only to educate you, but to SAVE THE PLATYPUS HOMEWORLD.... seriously. Presented with keen detail and fascinating facts, it's an incredibly well made and even a little tricky title that could have you penning a Christmas card to your own enzymes and acids this year.
Have you ever wanted to breed yourself a colony of blobular lifeforms, only to be stymied by the terms of your lease or ridiculous laws against Thing importation? Well, now you can simulate the experience with Thingdom, a game and webtoy created for the London Science Museum by Preloaded, which manages to make learning about genetics fun. Move over, brown eyes and blue eyes; kids today are finding out how to breed for monostalks.
Hey, you! Go Be a King! In fact, let's do one better. Be a King 2! The casual strategy/simulation series from developer 300AD has returned, boasting excellent visuals, lots of house upgrading and farm building, and tons of ruined villages to spruce up, all in the name of making the medieval world a better place to live. Awww!
Alan Probe is back! In the new sequel to the popular surgery simulation game that we all fell in love with back in 2008, the good people at Adult Swim have come up with something gorier, more excessive, and far more satisfying than any of us could have ever hoped for.
The Oil Blue is a clever mixture of a time management game and a tycoon simulation where you lead a crew of workers who strike out into the sea to discover new locations to drill for oil. Each island you reclaim opens the way for your employer, United Oil of Oceania, to establish a permanent operation there. All you have to do is manage the drills, sell the oil, and do everything as efficiently as you can.
What lies beneath the shifting sands of the desert? Could it be untold riches? Or sweet, sweet love? In this cute little sim with tones of resource management and good, ol' fashioned puzzling, take control of a team of archaeologists hunting for treasure in the desert. Dig up ancient artifacts, solve puzzles, and maybe even play a little matchmaker. Just hope you don't mind sand in your socks.
More than a time management game, Farm Craft 2 combines pieces of gameplay from simulation genres into an extremely captivating (and satisfying) game. Grow and harvest crops, raise livestock, pick fruit from trees, hire workers, it's all there, and it's all great!
Royal Envoy is an incredibly addictive mix of strategy, city building and wack-a-mole. Hopping across a series of islands, you have to visit the respective villages on each and repair them. In reality, though, you are playing little logic puzzles. Each village has a set of goals — build certain buildings, meet upgrade requirements, attain a specific level of civic happiness or make a set sum of money. In your way is the clock, obtuse pirates and the odd piece of undergrowth.
Did you graduate high school and step right in to a high-paying, prestigious career? Well, now you can make up for that in the certifiably crazy Life Quest, a quirky simulation that's all about one-upping your old high school friends.
Trafalgar Origins is a top-down naval combat game commissioned by Channel 4 and created to promote their upcoming television show. It plays similarly to Sid Meier's Pirates, is mission-based, and is an entertaining and educational peek at the age of sail, and one that will take you many hours to beat with quite a bit of replay potential.
Steve's drifting through life, and it isn't working out as well as he might have hoped. His relationship with his father is a mess, and his girlfriend has left him because of his lack of focus. The last thing he wants is to spend the summer on his Uncle's farm in tiny, remote Fairbrook, but it could turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to him... provided your choices for him are the right ones in this lovely visual novel and relationship sim from Winter Wolves.
So, like, here's like, the thing. I like, have a mall and you like, don't. Like, not yet, anyway. Also, I'm like going to stop using the word "like" now because it's, like, so like annoying. Instead, I'll tell you about Mall-a-Palooza from RTS Casuals, a time management sim that's all about building stores and nurturing a thriving mall crowd, complete with annoying teenagers with a proclivity for the word "like"!
There comes a time for everyone when your mom takes away your car privileges until you get out of the house, you slob. Seriously, what is your deal? Get a job. Your father didn't fight through Contra 2 without the Konami Code to support a good-for-nothing kid. That's how my life story started. It's also how My Life Story starts, an entertaining time management sim from Game Fools. It's set in an unnamed small town, where your mom owns the only house and she's kicking you out. Time to find a job! Fortunately, like any fictional town, there are job opportunities ripe for the taking.
Bucking the trend of ever shorter hidden object games, Settlement: Colossus is an odd, unique, and fun hidden object/casual simulation hybrid, and it will keep you occupied for hours and hours as you work towards your final goal. Gorgeous to look at and fun to play, this unique hybrid is a winner. Now go build a civilization!
Little Folk of Faery is a gorgeous, whimsical, amusing casual simulation game that takes place at the base of an ancient tree inside an antiques shop. The faery realm has endured some setbacks since your grandparents passed away, and it is your job to rehabilitate the faery realm, as well as help clean up the musty, dusty shop. Little Folk of Faery will appeal to a wide range of people, from those who enjoy its fantastical look and feel to those who enjoy the casual sim genre as a whole.
Despite the similarities to the other Farm Frenzy games (or, perhaps, because of it), Farm Frenzy 3: Ice Age is still a rollicking good time. With tons of trophies to win and lots of levels to conquer, you're still looking at hours and hours (and hours of casual gameplay and replay value that is fun for a wide range of ages. So enjoy the cute animals, and look out for an appearance from a very special guest star.
A whimsical time management game from Youda Games, Youda Fairy puts you in the role of an overworked wizard who must lure, capture, store, release and protect fairies, all in the name of fighting evil! There's lots of time management fun to be had. Fast, frantic, cute, and satisfying to play, while a bit of a departure from the Youda norm, it is still grand fun.
It's time to travel back to Isola! Yes, that magical island paradise with the odd wildlife and mysterious ruins is back in Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life, the latest installment in the Virtual Villagers casual sim series by Last Day of Work. The powerhouse of the field, the game by which all other village simulations are measured, is back to delve deeper into the secrets of the island!
Absorbing, engrossing, and hours and hours of fun await those who play Fiona Finch and the Finest Flower. Play as little or as much as you like, plan for efficiency or go nuts and create patterned, formal gardens. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction from creating a lovely garden without the sunburn, dirt under your nails, or stinging insects.
Simplz: Zoo combines a match-3 puzzle game with a casual simulation for a new and compelling experience. Now, you may have heard that story before when Floating Kingdoms came along, but this one has a potent blend of the genres that interconnects so thoroughly, everything you do in one directly affects the other. The result is a game that elegantly moves you back and forth while giving you the freedom to customize the experience to your liking.
Fixing stuff is always an adventure, isn't it? Especially when it's something as complex and expensive as an automobile. Fix-it-Up: World Tour, the sequel to Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure, makes the stakes even higher by moving you around the world, fixing, painting, cleaning and modding vehicles on almost every continent (sorry, Antarctica). It's a little time management mixed with some casual simulation elements for a simple game that's even more engaging than its predecessor.
Mixing rhythm and simulation elements into one browser-based experience, Punk-o-Matic 2 also functions as a hefty musical editing tool. For those who only sing in the shower, you might want to check out that long tutorial!
Return to the farmstead in this sequel to the popular original as Anna tries to make her dreams a reality. Featuring an updated look, streamlined gameplay, and more critters and vegetables for you to make a fortune on, Farm Mania 2 doesn't add much to an established formula, but still provides an improved and challenging experience for fans of time management and farming sims alike.
If you like the Farm Frenzy series then get ready for lots more farming fun. Manage a farm, raise animals, ship goods to market, chase away angry bears, and get ready for a rocking good time. The stripped-down style takes nothing away from the basic gameplay, and what's left is very addicting and long-lasting. Especially if you go back and try to gold medal all the rounds, or earn all the side trophies, you are looking at days of gameplay with a high replay value. Now with 50% more robots!
Once in a while a game comes along that, well, you don't really know how to describe. Great Adventures: Lost in Mountains is one of those games. Designed by Fenomen Games, Great Adventures is advertised as a time management game. Actually, it's more like a casual sim. No, it's more like a point-and-click adventure with casual sim and time management elements. But really, it plays like a room escape game with RPG and hidden object elements. See? Difficult to describe. Basically, all of the above is incorporated to make one wildly fun, inventive game.
While doing little to offer any radical new ideas to the series, World Tour offers new styles, new characters, new locations, and even a new look. With dozens of stages to play around the globe and an extensive style editor, there's enough to keep budding fashionistas (and the people who would never admit to it out loud) busy for a long time.
With loads of scenarios to work through, trophies to be won, and the sandbox modes for each state, Virtual City offers hours and hours of fantastic casual gameplay. Fun to play in small chunks or while away the time in immersive gameplay. Not a clone or a knock-off, but a virtual experience all its own, Virtual City is a fantastic wild ride. Just, really, don't forget the garbage. You won't like what happens if you do.
Artist Colony is fascinating, absorbing casual simulation and time management game. For those who love casual sims, such as Virtual Villagers or My Tribe, 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!
It's a blast from the past in this remake of and tribute to the original M.U.L.E., one of the great pioneers of multiplayer gaming. Stake your claim on an alien world with three friends and make the best of your time and resources to come out on top at the end of the game. Just remember to keep an eye out for the wampus.
Are you an adventurer who just can't seem to adventure? Are you a villager whose name is Villager? If so, you'll find the perfect home in Wildhollow, a well-crafted RPG/adventure/simulation game from KarjaSoft, creator of Spandex Force. In this light-hearted, humor-filled game, you play the role of a young boy/girl returning home to find your parents missing and your family ranch destroyed. Don't frown, though, as this game takes itself about as seriously as a clown working at a pie factory.
Westward IV: All Aboard is a solid addition to the ever increasing Westward pantheon. There's not a lot of change from Westward III, but why mess with a winning formula? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Of course, Westward IV offers new characters, new scenarios, new upgrades, and the same casual gameplay fun of its predecessors.
Seek out your destiny, young knight! Or candlemaker. Or beast tamer. Or cook! In Cute Knight Kingdom, a fantasy life simulator from Hanako Games, you'll guide a young girl with a mysterious past to any one of dozens of endings. Will you become a renowned warrior? Or will you settle down and carry on the family business? Despite some repetitive gameplay, Cute Knight Kingdoms is an addictive little title that will be right at home with anyone who enjoys open-ended simulators.
What city dweller hasn't momentarily yearned for a little plot of land somewhere and a lovely green garden? A place to call your own, a place to breathe in nature, a place to make the neighbors, well, green with envy. This is the premise of Gardenscapes by Playrix Entertainment, a hidden object game with elements of time management and sim games thrown in to make a fun, exciting, and yet curiously relaxing experience.
We've been in charge of running a country during a national crisis Pandemic: American Swine Flu. We've led the nation to world conquest Mastermind: World Conqueror. But have you ever wondered what goes on during the downtime? In-between the diseases and the hostile takeovers, everyday decisions still need to be made. NationStates is a massively multiplayer online game by author Max Barry that puts you in charge of your own fledgling nation to create and shape how you see fit.
Aztec Tribe from Merry Pen Games is a casual combination of Farm Frenzy and Build-a-lot. Between building and upgrading gardens, mines and houses and managing a slew of resources, you'll help an adventuresome tribe establish a new home in a faraway land. It's a rewarding and relaxing game that delivers extra challenge only when you want it.
World of Zellians: Kingdom Builder is a simulation and city building game along the lines of My Kingdom for the Princess and Build-a-lot. Set in a moderately whimsical fantasy realm, your job is to repair a broken kingdom by mending roads, setting up farms, and getting each area's economy up and running again. It's a colorful, light-hearted and straightforward game you can jump right into and start enjoying.
Tinseltown Dreams: The 50s is a match-3 with a distinctive Hollywood flare. Here in the land of palm trees and oversized sunglasses, you play the part of a producer for a little known movie studio. Use your match-3 skills to collect the cash you'll need to fund a string of blockbusters that will put your studio on the map.
On the surface, Paradise Beach resembles a casual building game like Coconut Queen. The gameplay, however, is more similar to the classic of the tycoon sim genre Rollercoaster Tycoon. Join Mr. Gates and his cute — and occasionally annoying — granddaughter as they develop beachfront property. Travel to six different islands and work with the pair to develop a fun beach experience, all the while helping endangered species, uncovering dinosaur skeletons, finding pirate treasure, and all the other fun things that happen to folks who create vacation beaches.
Gemini Lost is a casual village simulation that works to bridge the gap between titles like Virtual Villagers and Sprouts Adventure. During an eclipse, a group of people stumble onto an ancient relic with twelve zodiac symbols on its face. Upon touching one of the tiles, they were transported to a strange new world. Now, the twelve symbols are scattered throughout the land, and it's your job to manage the small tribe so they can assemble the pieces and return home!
Smokescreen is a new alternate reality game (ARG) from entertainment company Six To Start. Social networking, blogging, and chat lingo are all part of this game that takes on the task of warning players about the dangers of the Internet in a way that makes you feel like you're experiencing them first-hand.
My Kingdom for the Princess is a casual resource management/building game from Nevosoft. Mixing elements from simulation titles as well as borrowing from the time management genre, the game puts a big casual gameplay hat over itself and delivers a deceptively linear resource management experience with a surprising amount of strategy.
From building neighborhoods to buying movie-star houses, from constructing railway stations to buying a lion for the zoo, Be Richer! is even more engaging than the original. Perfect for casual gameplay, beautiful, addictive, and just downright fun, Be Richer! once again delivers (as do the new pizza parlors)!
The series that made farming less of a "wake up at the crack of dawn, work 'til nightfall" chore and more of a "yay let's farm woo hoo!" form of entertainment is back! Farm Frenzy 3 doesn't mess with the proven formula from the first games, but it does bring a lot of variety into the series by moving you across five locations around the globe. Watch penguins eat fish in the arctic and fend off lions in Africa, all while harvesting eggs and turning them into a succession of better, more profitable products. And, as always, watch out for predators falling from the sky!
The Cake Mania series is one of the most widely-recognized names in casual gaming. Three main installments have hit PC and Mac platforms over the last few years, and you can even find Cake Mania on mobile phones! Now, with the release of Cake Mania: Main Street, the series veers into a slightly new direction, providing more varied gameplay and a host of new and interesting challenges. It's not just cake anymore, as now you'll be slinging sushi and building burgers in order to raise money to revive Jill's home town!
A tiny world is at your fingertips, ready for you to shape it. Create a cavern teeming with life... provided you can discover all the creatures hiding inside. Using sandbox tools, manipulate the environment to coax each creature into the open, or how to create them. A charming little simulation tool that encourages experimentation.
Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift is a curious combination of a free-form simulation, tycoon management title, and time management game. As customers come in, you custom-create grave plots based on their requests and budget. You have an enormous amount of freedom in how you create your graveyard, allowing you to be creative, inventive, or just plain efficient. Plus, there's no time pressure!
Appearing out of nowhere like a crazy tropical storm, Coconut Queen has arrived and is ready to give Build-a-lot (and, heck, even Totem Tribe) a challenge for its casual sim throne. Combining the "neighborhood improvement" concept with some inventive unlockables and a subtle sense of humor, Coconut Queen provides a phenomenal gaming experience with enormous replay value.
Who knew that something as boring as real estate management would make a good time management game? Hipsoft, the creators of the wildly successful Build-a-Lot series, did, and boy were they right! The latest installment in the series, Build-a-Lot 4: Power Source, has arrived, bringing with it the same balanced and challenging gameplay with a brand new theme: energy efficiency.
If you're a big fan of sports games and have been dying for something to play at work on break, this is it. Even if you aren't really that into sports games, Crunchball 3000 boasts quite a bit of accessibility. So gear up, warm up, stretch out, and pay no mind to the 6'4", 320 lb behemoth giving you the evil eye. Scars build character and you ain't got time to be scared. Are you ready for some Crunchball?
In Burger Shop 2, you are once again tasked with combining ingredients coming from an ever-producing food machine to serve the constant stream of customers coming into the restaurant. In a nice twist on the time management genre, you don't control an actual character, so your speed is limited only by how good you are at clicking.
The casual village sim Many Years Ago drops itself in a crowded genre, competing with games like My Tribe, Virtual Villagers, Escape from Paradise, Totem Tribe, and many more. Why, then, should anyone bother with another village sim? In four words: laid-back and relaxed gameplay. In one word: dinosaurs!
This is what you might get if you stapled The Italian Job movie to the Spy Hunter video game, and it doesn't get much cooler than that. You are the getaway driver as your den of thieves recruits thugs, plans robberies, and flees from the scene with the cops in hot pursuit. The Heist 2 may not be pretty, but crime never is.
Finally! It's about time a resource management/casual tycoon game came along that's more than a fresh coat of paint and a few new tricks! Hollywood Tycoon puts you in charge of a movie studio, giving you the power to buy scripts, hire actors, build sets and much more. As you earn cash you get to upgrade everything from your sets to actor trailers, prop studios, script centers, distribution buildings and more, allowing you to make bigger, better movies that rake in millions of dollars of profit. And it's fun for hours upon hours, too!
Avalon is a beautifully illustrated casual simulation game that focuses on gathering resources and exploring a magical forest. It ditches the traditional top-down point of view in favor of a sidescrolling 2D perspective which, surprisingly, diminishes that cerebral simulation feeling. As with any casual sim, it's easy to see the influence Virtual Villagers has had, but Avalon strays well off the rails with its setting, graphical style, and the ability to inspire you to explore the world around you.
It's survival of the fittest as seen through a microscope. Genetically engineer the perfect virus in your lab to combat those created by your predecessors. Discover new elements and splice genes in an increasingly hostile environment. Just... remember to wash up before you shake someone's hand.
Sprouts Adventure is the latest in the increasingly long line of casual sim games made famous by Virtual Villagers, Totem Tribe, My Tribe, etc. This one separates itself from the pack by clearing away the bloat to leave a streamlined experience behind. Sprouts Adventure gives you a clear, goal-oriented simulation that meters out its rewards at a careful pace, ensuring you are never overwhelmed with choices and fully appreciate each new upgrade you get to use.
As one of six mythical heroes, each with their own set of goals, sail off in search of treasure and your place in history in ancient Greece. Discover legendary cities, meet interesting people . . . and pound the snot out of them for your own financial gain. It's a thankless job, being a hero.
In the mood for more beach-themed Virtual Villagers-style simulation gaming? Escape from Paradise 2: A Kingdom's Quest is now available, and it delivers exactly what its predecessor did and quite a bit more. Instead of straightforward village management, Escape from Paradise 2 blends in mini-games to break up the action, and combined with a little hidden object finding and character stat upgrading, you have a game that will quickly sink its hooks in you.
You'd think that being able to do magic would make things like running a magic shop a snap. Just wave your wand and POOF everything is taken care of. Well, turns out it's not all that easy, if Mystic Emporium is any indication. In fact, it's going it take all of your time-management skills to be a successful magic shop owner and satisfy the mystical people and creatures of the realm.
The Fairy Godmother's monopoly on the potion business is on the verge of collapse due to some healthy competition, so she hires a promising young assistant to reestablish her empire. A tired genre gets a sorely needed infusion of creativity in Fairy Godmother Tycoon, a basic tycoon game wrapped in a pretty, pretty package.
As you might expect, the objective in Youda Marina is to run a successful marina. You do this by building facilities, attracting visitors, and earning money to gain fame. It's a unique simulation game that offers a very casual gameplay experience, along with the appeal of pretty boats and steel drum reggae music. Make yourself a Pina Colada (or a Shirley Temple) and settle in to live the dream!
Pizza City has so much in common with the first two Grand Theft Auto games it seems to fall somewhere between spoof and demake. Like the notorious crime sims from Rockstar Games, you roam a city with virtual free reign in your car via a bird's eye view. There is a main goal (delivering pizzas and working your way up the pizzeria career ladder), but there are also plenty of other side quests to undertake, too. Pizza City isn't for everyone and the relatively simple gameplay may turn some off, but there's more depth lurking here than meets the eye and it definitely rewards those who choose to stick with it.
While it may be built upon the same time management foundation we're already familiar with, Everything Nice skirts the perimeter of the genre with a recipe-based setup reminiscent of Miriel the Magical Merchant. Fed up with all the violent toys flooding the market, Abby has the idea to create classic, "happy" toys such as teddy bears and jack-in-the-boxes. A local businessman rejects her idea, but then she stumbles across the Wondermachine9000, a magical device that can create anything her imagination conjures. Just the thing she needs to start her own factory!
Think your amp goes up to eleven? Put your guitar where your mouth is in this rock career simulator slash rhythm game, as you attempt to rawk your way to the top!
Virtual Families is the latest addition to the impressive lineup of simulation games from Last Day of Work, makers of the Virtual Villagers series. Virtual Families takes the basic concepts of Virtual Villagers and brings them home — literally. No longer are you concerned with a village of people trying to survive the ravages of the wild. Now it's just a single family in a single house. While the concept may seem over-simplified when compared to Virtual Villagers, you'll find that it's less about simplifying the game and more about concentrating on the details.
To celebrate Earth Day (April 22), National Geographic has sponsored Plan It Green, a casual building sim in the style of Build-a-lot that joins the sparsely populated ranks of "green" games. True to its name, Plan It Green focuses on boosting your energy credits by designing green buildings and communities using four types of structures. It also manages to have an environmentally friendly message that doesn't smack you over the head at every turn.
The land of Wonderburg has been laid to waste by evil minions, and it is up to a wizard and a stalwart gnome to travel the lands putting right what has gone wrong. That is the premise of the time management strategy game Wonderburg. While it doesn't venture far beyond what games like the Build-a-lot series have established, it's a charming title that stands firmly on its own two feet.
Be a King is a new fantasy strategy title from 300AD. It follows in the tracks of games such as King Mania, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and the Build-a-Lot series and blends a streamlined building-centric real-time strategy game with a handful of casual knowhow.
Combining some of the best parts of Animal Crossing and Virtual Villagers with a sprinkling role playing know-how, Wandering Willows is something so incredibly alluring you'll burn through a few hours of game time before you realize what hit you. It's a pet-raising recipe-collecting item-bartering friend-gaining character-customizing leveling-up collect-a-thon!
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
Cleaning up is rarely fun to do. Unless you're cleaning someone else's mess, right? Hmm, no? How about if you're cleaning up someone else's mess in a casual game? That's the surprisingly successful recipe for fun in Nanny Mania 2 Goes to Hollywood. After helping Mayor Whitby and his family in the original Nanny Mania, Emma moves on to help Sophia Ashford, an incredibly wealthy woman who can't seem to keep her family affairs in order. It's your job to help raise the children, care for pets, and keep the house spotless as clueless teenagers leave unmade beds and babies create problems of their own.
Loco Mogul is a new casually-oriented sim game from ApeZone. Accurately described as a cross between Oasis and Railroad Tycoon, your job is to survey uncharted territory, build a railway connecting towns, then run a train from station to station, picking up and delivering shipment carts as efficiently as possible. It's an ambitious combination of genres that plays both like a strategy game and a resource management title, complete with rail-themed music and visuals.
Chocolatier: Decadence by Design is the latest installment in the popular Chocolatier series. Decadence by Design returns Chocolatier to its original format, allowing you to make chocolates in factories, explore new ports around the world, running errands and completing quests. So, even though this sequel is set a half a century after the first, fans of the original Chocolatier will feel right at home.
From the creator of Youda Camper comes another overtly-titled casual game: Youda Farmer. In this resource management sim you play the role of a farmer growing and gathering crops and other food products to sell in town for profit. Using the money you earn, buy new facilities and upgrade existing ones, stimulating the town itself to open new shops and expand current ones.
The premise of the time management/hidden object game Fabulous Finds is that your eccentric old Aunt from Carmel, California (most famous to me as the town where Clint Eastwood was Mayor for a time) died and left you her house with all her crap, er, priceless treasures in it. You're stuck with the property taxes, so you'll need to have a garage sale!
Totem Tribe manages to pull together some of the best elements from a number of popular casual games and create something twice as engaging without upping the complexity. Gone are resource managing, complex building/unit requirements, and villagers who act while you're away, but in are over 20 islands to explore, friendly and not-so-friendly characters to encounter, mini-quests to earn spells, and unlockable artifacts that grant your tribe special abilities.
Build-a-lot has a new competitor in town: Divo Games' Be Rich, a strategy-oriented casual tycoon game of real estate planning, building and investing. The game's title gives away your ultimate goal of raking in cash by constructing and upgrading houses in various cities to increase your profits and up your credibility. It takes a more real estate-centric approach to building than the Build-a-lot series does, although the similarities between the games are hard to ignore.
From newcomer World Loom comes the latest resource management game to take the action out of the diner/restaurant/shop/airport: Fix-it-Up: Kate's Adventure. More of a business simulation along the lines of Build-a-lot, you must help Kate expand her profits by buying cars at low prices, fixing them up, and selling them for a hefty profit. The combination of time management and business acumen creates a delightful final product made even better by its whimsical art style and soundtrack.
Casual sim/strategy fans (and anyone who enjoyed Virtual Villagers or My Tribe) take note: Westward III: Gold Rush has arrived! Following last spring's release of Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, the third installment in the series continues the new 3D visual style and basic premise introduced in the second game. Take control of three new heroes as you collect resources, construct farms, saloons, granaries and more to keep your settlers happy and healthy.
Casual games built around sets of mini-games are gaining popularity, as are pared-down strategy titles that keep the spirit of the genre intact while trimming the bloat. Then something like Floating Kingdoms comes along and somehow manages to combine both: a simplified strategy game that's one part resource management, two parts mini-games. And it does it in a light-hearted, fun kind of way that just about any age group can enjoy.
In My Tribe, you play as sort of a guardian angel for a tribe of island-dwellers, telling them what to do, dragging them from place to place, and occasionally sprinkling them with a (hopefully) beneficial potion. Harvest food, wood, and stone to build with. Your tribe continues to work even when your computer is off. It's remarkably similar to Virtual Villagers but better in a number of ways.
Dark Cut 3 is the latest visceral surgery title in the Dark Cut series from Armor Games. This time we're treated to a sci-fi, time-traveling angle with the usual historical setting. The game brings you the same intense operations you've come to either love or cringe at. The production values and story are the best so far for the series and give context to gameplay that's been toned down to be less punishing.
Normally, mixing real estate with casual gaming wouldn't seem like a smart move, but HipSoft's latest release proves you can take a complex subject matter and make it fun. Build-a-lot 3: Passport to Europe continues the highly successful Build-a-lot series with just the right balance between familiarity and innovation to lure new and veteran players alike. Hone your real estate skills as you buy, upgrade and sell houses, collect rent, and attract new residents to neighborhoods that need your expert eye.
There's nothing quite like a day on the farm: the smell of freshly tilled soil, tender plants sprouting, and honeybees buzzing in search of nectar. Some call it work, but if you've ever met Alice Greenfingers, you know it's more like play. The lovable pig-tailed girl is back, tending her Uncle Berry's farm in Alice Greenfingers 2, a sequel that does nothing but improve upon the original.
You are the CEO of a major international oil company, your job is to make money: Democracy, environment, and global economic health are irrelevant. Explore, drill, corrupt governments, hire mercenaries, engage in covert operations, fix elections (which are clearly broken without you) and most of all: have fun.
A blend of Virtual Villagers, Westward, and strategy games such as Warcraft and Tribal Trouble, Forgotten Lands: First Colony is a casual RTS game that hits the sweet spot between challenge, complexity, and captivating casual gameplay. The game puts you at the helm of a young civilization looking to strike out and settle new lands. Everything about Forgotten Lands is geared towards easing you into the experience, yet there's no shortage of depth or intrigue.
Farming used to seem like a chore, then the casual game market took hold and turned caring for crops into a resource management experience. Farm Mania is the latest of those games, following a similar path as Farm Frenzy 2 but keeping things fresh and interesting. Yes, it's yet another game with "mania" in the title, but the experience underneath is subtly different and twice as rewarding. And much cuter, I have to admit.