Developer: Last Day of Work
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Think The Sims and Virtual Families 2 isn’t far behind that except, frustratingly, it’s nowhere near as interesting.

Players start out by adopting an adult. It sounds a little bit Tamagotchi ish or reminiscent of Nintendogs and that’s because it kind of is. There’s even a Praise and Scold button to encourage or discourage certain types of behavior. Once adopted, it’s down to the player to keep that person happy. I found mine keen to marry fast, probably because of the tutorial’s strong encouragement in that direction. At first, the tutorial likes to boss players around more than offer advice, but once through the gauntlet, it’s a more relaxed experience. As expected, the key to the game is to keep the little people happy.

It’s possible to have children here, too, although in a rather out-dated fashion, it’s down to the woman in the relationship to care for the offspring. Everything works in a form of real time, meaning leaving the game overnight meant that the baby had grown into a four year old boy. It also meant that everyone in the house was very hungry as I forgot they’d have to eat! Much like a Tamagotchi, Virtual Families 2 needs regular maintenance otherwise players will just find themselves doing damage limitation when they do play.

The interface is a little clunky with some inaccurate buttons and drag controls, but there is a lot of potential underneath such cumbersome issues. It’s possible to upgrade the house and buy increasingly better furniture and items, as well as earn promotions at work. Money is pretty limited, though, meaning there’s always that nagging sense that spending real money would speed progress up a lot.

Speed is another issue in that, unlike The Sims, there’s no way of speeding things up meaning there’s a lot of watching the people put groceries away and go about their day. It’s about as fascinating as it sounds.

It’s unfortunate that Virtual Families 2 suffers from such problems, as the foundations are quite solid. The language might be a little odd (adopting an adult? Really?) but with a bit more focus on fun rather than humdrum day to day activities, Virtual Families 2 could be something quite special. Here’s hoping that the promised updates shake things up a bit.

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