Village Sim for Palm OS

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, April 2005
Published by: LDW Software
Requires: Palm OS based device (Treo 600, Treo 650, color Zire, Tungsten, Zodiac), OS 5.x, 4 MB RAM
MSRP: US$19.95

Last Day of Work (LDW) Software has done it again with another real time game for your Palm OS handheld or Smartphone. In the past we have solved the mysteries of the flora and fauna of the lost island of Isola with LDW’s Plant Tycoon and Fish Tycoon—both great games. This time we are going up the evolutionary ladder with Village Sim. It's a game that is based on the lives of a small group of villagers who have flown their island paradise after it is obliterated by a violent volcanic explosion. Somehow, a few villagers find their way to a new island home, but they lack the skills to provide for themselves (must have been a boatload of accountants and lawyers). It is therefore the villagers' lack of experience that brings the player into the game. Using firm insistence, you teach your little people to farm, build, learn, reproduce and explore their new home.


You are challenged right off the bat as none of your villagers are particularly young. That means starvation, disease and old age are just around the corner, so you have to decide quite quickly who is going to learn to do what. Do you need a builder right away? Is a doctor necessary right now? How many breeders do you need? Nursing women don't do much else, so if you have too many breeders who will work to feed everybody? If everyone is busy building housing, who will bear the children? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Once the basics of village life are established there are things about this new island home that need to be investigated. A large glistening rock stands in the north west corner of the village and there are ruins of a previous civilization in the south east. Strange medicinal plants are scattered around the northern border and large, heavy, difficult to move boulders seem to be blocking secret areas. Will the villagers need to cooperate in their efforts to find out what is behind the stone behemoths or will a scientist need to come up with the solution? Will these new island inhabitants ever figure out that the reason they can't get anything in the field to grow, no matter how much water they use, is that the children use it as bathroom? I haven't yet found the answers to any of these puzzles and I've got my work cut out for me as there seem to be no fewer than twelve mysteries to uncover in this new land.

Whether you are familiar with games that simulate real life or not—as popular as they are on the PC—Village Sims will likely have you hooked as soon as the first wave of stranded villagers arrive. There is just something about caring for these hard working, community minded folks that makes you want to keep tabs on them all day. And unless you pause the game, forgetting about the little guys for long periods could spell disaster. As long as the game is running, it will continue even if your PDA is off, so the adage “life goes on” has meaning in this world too.

Village Sim is a game that changes constantly, giving you seemingly endless combinations of people and situations and keeps game play fresh and fun. Multimedia is, surprisingly, front and center too. Approach the shoreline near the village and the sounds of waves lapping gradually increase in volume and quality. Approach the river and you'll be greeted by the sounds of the jungle with birds and other animals reacting to your presence. Approach the planting fields and sounds of the people working the rows gradually increase. Sounds of life abound in other words, adding to the texture and atmosphere of the village. It provides another dimension of interest which helps keep you rapt and attentive to the needs of your village. Highly recommended.





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