Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Virtual Villagers 2 is #1
Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children, the sequel to last year's very awesome casual strategy game of building up a tribe of island castaways, seems to be the number one downloadable game across multiple game portals right now, according to Logler's top ten list.
I can't say I'm surprised. I really like what the Last Day of Work folks have done with the series so far. I'm not a huge casual game fan, but Virtual Villagers was a lot of fun for me for a few weeks last year. One of the problems with the first game was that I frequently felt like I was just inputting my "turn" for the day and then I was done. While that's still an issue in VV2 (though it's also a virtue... it's nice to have a game that is so undemanding of time), they added a few more things to do.
For example, in the first game helping the children gather mushrooms was very helpful in the early game, when food supply was critical. However, once you developed your farming technology, keeping the food supply capable of feeding the whole village wasn't nearly as difficult --- and the amount of food you needed if you DID go into critical levels was more than what a few kids grabbing mushrooms could really help with. With Virtual Villagers 2, there are now collectables which can be beneficial throughout the game.
I enjoy seeing what sort of issues get addressed in sequels, and how designers approach trying to top an already proven mix of gameplay. Sometimes it doesn't pan out too well - I think most of us could name sequels that screwed things up (although usually its not until the third or fourth game of the series that things start going downhill). I'm even more fascinated at seeing how "casual games" evolve through sequels and spin-offs... Will they become more hardcore, building on casual gaming skills built across previous games? Will they gain more depth? Or will they simply branch out and explore ever increasing varieties of game mechanics and subject matters, like the Virtual Villager series, or "casual" RPGs like Aveyond and Cute Knight, or the "Where's Waldo" style mystery / adventure games like Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst (another top-selling casual game)?
It'll be fun to see. I'm kinda hoping for the latter, though. Match-three games are fun and all, but I really, really prefer to see the greater variety.
And if you haven't checked these out (and no, they aren't for everybody):
Virtual Villagers 2: The Lost Children
Virtual Villagers: A New Home
(Vaguely) related stuff I found lying around the site:
* Tamagotchi Villagers
* Dead Villagers
* Virtual Villagers 2 Developer's Diary
Read or Post Comments In the Forum, if you feel so bold...
Labels: casual games
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