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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delicious - Emily's Holiday Season is the latest time management game from Game House Studios. Much like the often-forgotten Miss Management, this game plays like a TV sitcom, complete with incidental music and cheesy sense of humor! The variety of gameplay is a welcome addition to the genre, and unlike most games that make the same attempt, it doesn't come across as forced innovation.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!