Virtual Villagers: Origins
For millions of time management and simulation fans, the opening is unmistakable: a ragtag, desperate group of people fleeing the volcanic destruction of their home wash ashore on the mysterious island of Isola, a place of wonder and magic. With that prologue began one of the most popular and best-selling village sims of all time, Virtual Villagers. Now available for all iOS devices is that very first adventure, Virtual Villagers: Origins, lovingly designed by Last Day of Work.
Virtual Villagers: Origins is essentially Virtual Villagers: A New Home re-tooled for the touch screen mobile device. The premise is pretty much the same: your small group of people (guided by you) must learn how to provide food and shelter for themselves, all while researching scientific advancements that will allow them to expand their settlement, support a larger population, and solve the many mysteries scattered about the island. Simply dropping a villager onto a task, set their preferences to that task, and keep them on it until they work on their own. Before you know, you've got a lovely little settlement full of happy people. Assuming they don't die from disease or hunger!
Virtual Villagers: Origins consists of 16 different puzzles to achieve, ranging from the simple (finding a clean water source) to the complex (producing the magical "golden child" who will bring peace and fortune upon your villagers). The village, tasks, and puzzles are pretty much the same as the original PC release, with a few neat additions. You can use excess tech points gained by your little people researching at the lab table to buy fun new upgrades. Time Warp, for example, moves the game ahead three hours, while Grant Youth de-ages a villager by 35 years. You can even make villagers faster or masters at their trade, something that would take ages to accomplish without the little boost.
Virtual Villagers: Origins is completely free, though there is a small banner ad running across the top of the screen. If you want to move the game forward at a faster pace, some micro-transactions are available to purchase extra tech points and the like.
For those who already love the series Virtual Villagers: Origins is a nostalgic look back to the beginning. For those who have never played it is a fun, free, and above all portable introduction to the origins of the mysterious land of Isola and its magical inhabitants. Either way Virtual Villagers: Origins is an adventure not to be missed.
Update: (May 08, 2012) — Update for Virtual Villagers: Origins is live! New ways to spend tech points...make bigger tribes!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPhone. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.