Home Reviews Games Where to live my virtual life?

Where to live my virtual life?

I’ve done a survey of the most popular towns to live.  For kids with access to a tablet such as an iPad there are a myriad of virtual villes to manage, and for parents the ever present danger of micro transaction requests.  Let’s do a flyover above several of the iPad pads that can be inhabited.

The games that follow are all based around the premise of managing a town or geographic region, by tapping, designing, completing quests or mini-games and general planning the player’s world can flourish.

A small sample of eleven year olds revealed the following favourites in ascending order of enjoyment and involvement:

First up and number six on the list, is DT (Diner Town) Zoo requiring players to build a zoo full of rainbows and unicorns.  The kids enjoyed looking at the animals, but the gam’s overall aim is a little hard to grasp.  In essence this is the most overtly money grabbing, Facebook style of game we came across during the test.
Generating gold to buy more animals that generate gold whilst playing a small collection of DT themed mini-games and trying to keep track of multiple goals – some of which assume social-media membership – at a time.

Number five on the list is Tiny Village, a prehistoric themed world where Tools and various buildings and enclosures must be built using a variety of resources.  The game sets lots of goals, some of which involve dishing out real-world money, which is somewhat outrageous.
Continuing the theme of making a grab for dollars, the initial real-estate afforded a player is about as tight as virtual land comes, with in-game expansion a slow grind.  All up Tiny Village is  a good game, but mean spirited towards its potential players.


Fourth on the list is The Simpsons Tapped Out – Once the long load times are waited through it is time to launch into a virtual Springfield, inhabited by all of the characters we know and love direct from Matt Groening’s noggin.
Another major disaster has befallen Springfield, and it is no surprise Homer is to blame.  The balding yellow man is also your starting character in the game and he is tasked with cleaning up and rebuilding iconic parts of the animated town.

This is an excellently presented fun and indeed, funny game, full of character, crops and Krusty Burgers.  Electronic Arts take the opportunities to throw in themes such as Winter and Halloween Zombies whilst the base game has lots of goals to accomplish specific to unlocked characters.

There is a bit of reading needed by players and lots of poking to gather XP and Money, which is not so much of an issue in our number three game.

Also a licensed product, Ice Age Village was released alongside the fourth film in the animation franchise and sets players the task of managing a prehistoric zoo.  Gather animals together, play mini games to earn money and Acorns (which parents are encouraged to buy with real-world money), and then get the animals companions which lead to errrrrm… babies.
Animations and presentation in general is top notch and players really enjoy the theme of looking after the movies animals.

The top two games on the list are truly addictive and deep experiences for tablet wielding budding Burgomeisters.  Smurfs Village is an insidious blight on humanity, if you are a parent, but if you are a kid then getting tens of little blue people to harvest crops and build mushroom shaped buildings is about as addictive as it comes.

Design the village, unlock the different specialist Smurfs to create new quests for XP, coins and Smurfberries  There are plenty of clear goals and mini games to be had and plenty of time to be sunk into the game (some crops take at 24 hours of real time to grow) to get to lofty heights.  Smurf village therefore wins the not-so-coveted prise as number one for child-to-parent real money requests.



Less on that scale but high on the fun scale is our number one village game, and it really isn’t a village game, more of a family simulator.  The Sims Freeplay has been reviewed here on iTWire.com in the past.

In a nutshell however, Sims Freeplay is about managing real people, families and jobs as well as the favoured fun of designing the layout of a family abode.
Some jobs start at 9AM (real time) and process until 5PM which can be annoying if you have your own life making it hard to level up some Sims with particular in-game careers.

There are loads of design choices that are fun to play around with, heaps of options and choices and simply watching the antics of your characters is a delight as kids essentially play with a virtualised and animated dolls house.  It is the modern day version of Sea Monkeys or an ant farm.

Some bemoan the lack of kids clothing choices and the fact that pets are expensive, but overall The Sims Freeplay wins tablet village game of choice


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.