My Tribe came to my rescue during winter break. I can’t play fast action games like diner-style games because of hand surgery. My Tribe and hidden object games kept me entertained as I couldn’t do much else including typing and laundry (staring at a pile of laundry racks up the guilt, so it’s not a good thing though it gave me a valid excuse not to do laundry).
Generally, I try to avoid comparing games in a review. As a Virtual Villager fan, I must compare My Tribe and Virtual Villagers (VV).
Both games call for patience especially the start where you need to build up on science points that can get you places later. But once you have all the science points in the world, you don’t need them anymore.
Innovative in My Tribe is the use of moondust and stardust. These help you with potions, building, increasing villager strength, hair style changes (whoopee di doo) and more. I like the way you mix potions using the potions screen instead of having a tribe member fetch everything and mix it up.
I’d rather hunt for one moondust or stardust at a time than for VV‘s collections, which make me dizzy. You can also build lunar and celestial towers to receive a shower of dust all at once. Although it’s tiring to keep your eyes open for flying dusts, you can build an observatory that lets you know when one lands. Well, I can’t hear the sound it makes over the music and other sound effects. I’ve tried playing with the sound controls, but nothing worked. The game should have an option for visual notification.
Trees and flowers are available for planting. Flowers don’t do anything except add color. Trees provide wood. The tree feature should work like the flower feature — keeping the plant window open until you close it. I often plant more than one tree at a time and have to keep opening the plant window. The flower window stays open and lets you spray flowers.
The potions screen has three types of potions: element, liquid and catalyst. Elements include solid things like mushrooms, rocks, wood. Liquid is seawater, rain water, and fountain water. Catalyst consists of stardust, moondust, and golden relics. Pick one item from each category, mix the potion and pour it on an object, ground or person.
The game’s marketing materials say you can mix loads of potions. Half of them are cosmetic, so no sense in wasting moondust to give a villager a new hairdo or color job.
Both tribe games involve earning points so you can upgrade science, construction, etc. Well, one of the four categories is art. I don’t see much difference between level 2 and 3 art (clothing design and nothing else).
Art lets you build a clothing hut and make clothes. Males and females get three tops and three bottoms plus you can customize the color. After two or three outfits, it loses excitement unless you were big on Barbies and dolls as a kid. Well, in Virtual Villagers, science points help you buy clothes. Not exciting there either.
Both provide skills for each tribe member. My Tribe goes overboard in including rock and wood gathering skills. I’d lump these under construction. I’d also blend farming and fishing so the villager can do both as he or she pleases.
My Tribe does a better job of increasing a villager’s point earning capability. VV would sometimes take ages even when you keep pushing the villager to do something.
Barrels also show up at sea on occasion. They might provide recipes, ingredients or change a person. Or they might destroy buildings or explode.
Both games let you produce babies. My Tribe, gratefully, doesn’t take women out of commission until they’re babies are two-years-old as they do in Virtual Villagers. Instead, the mama goes right back to work.
In Virtual Villagers, only children under age 14 can pick up stuff. In this one, anyone can pick up stuff except babies. It was annoying that adults couldn’t pick up anything in VV. If they could build buildings, they should be able to pick up things.
My Tribe limits the population to 50 (you can get 52 if you manage to have two couples produce twins at the same time as I did). I prefer the limited population so you don’t make yourself crazy trying to give everyone a preferred skill. It forces you to control your population’s age.
I love that you can build a dock and ark so your tribe can sail to one of millions or billions of islands. Don’t be impressed by that number. They look alike after you’ve solved all eight of the mystery items. Each island holds three mystery items. You also work to collect 25 trophies. Once you do all that, you might not be motivated to play the game again unless you simply like to hang out with the tribe.
The game lacks keyboard control. Yes, arrow keys can move you around the island, but not as well as it could. You can use the Map view to see the island from a higher perspective, but it pauses the game. Map view doesn’t open very fast. Virtual Villagers provides plenty of keyboard options for easier management and traveling around the island.
The game has a bug as of this writing — if you have tree saplings that haven’t bloomed into trees and you hop into the ark, the game crashes. It sets you back a little, not much.
My Tribe is neither better nor worst than Virtual Villagers. It provides another addicting experience for those craving a new world of villagers. Once I get pass the slow start, the game captivated me that I checked on my tribe too many times even with fast speed (you can do pause, slow and normal speed as the game keeps going when you exit unless you pause, of course). Speaking of which, I need to check on ‘em as I want to set sail for another island to earn the five island trophy.
Download the game from Big Fish Games.