Developer: Last Day of Work
Release Date: April 22, 2009
The creators of "Plant Tycoon" and "Virtual Villagers" have been working on a new project. "Virtual Families" takes the concept of "The Sims" (we all love managing families, right?) and puts that together with the real-time game engine of "Virtual Villagers." Last Day of Work sent over a beta build of "Virtual Families" for me to check out. Beta builds are work copies of games that haven't been finalized yet. Features discussed here may or may not be in the final copy.
First task is to adopt a person. You hit the random button until you are happy with the character's attributes. Next is to move into the house and get yourself familiar with house. Hoot, my first character, was given a couple of tasks from the tutorial. We had to pick up the wrappers on the floor and learn how to check email. Through emails we learn about bills, get spam, and get marriage proposals. No sticky dating scene here.
It took some time, but Hoot did eventually find someone who wanted children as much as he did. Hoot's new wife showed up on the doorstep after he accepted her proposal. They were elated. Jumped around in happiness.
I couldn't wait. I had them work on making a baby right away. Selected Adware (his wife) and dropped her on top of Hoot. A few tries later they were on their way to the bedroom. The mating ritual is sweet, but odd. A baby is born right away. The mother carries around the baby, until it's a child.
Hoot and Adware are now focusing on their careers (they work at home on the computer) and finding magically appearing collectibles. Bugs and coins mostly. Maybe in a few days they will have another child. Right now though, they are focused on earning money so they can organic food.
I'll explain a bit about the real-time engine. The game's time cannot be changed. You cannot collect all the coins in one day or earn all the trophies. While you are away from "Virtual Families" the game still continues to progress. Children age, food runs out, and emails arrive. It's a game to play in small, regular increments.
"Virtual Families" will be available online on April 22, 2009.