You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Review: Virtual Families

August 10, 2009



Virtual Families is a real life simulation of a family. You begin the game by adopting a little person from limitless random choices. Once adopted, your little person moves into the house, and then after awhile will receive e-mails for marriage proposals. You can accept the first e-mail or wait and be more selective or choose not to marry at all. Families_adopt Your little person will have a career that they advance in, and make money. You can choose whether your little people will have children, and all you have to do is drag them on to each other. Most actions in the game the little people will handle themselves; unlike the sims where you have to tell them to eat, and use the restroom, etc. Your virtual family will play by itself when you’re not in the app or even when your iPhone is off. The lifespan of one of your little people is about a week, and when one passes the next generation will move into the house, and start their own family.


In the game you have two main tools at your disposal, the praise and scolding glove. If you like a behavior of your little person praise them, if you don’t like it, scold them. The controls are simple enough, just drag with one finger to look around the entire house and yard, and tap on your little person, and then drag to move them. Families_baby In the store there are multiple options to upgrade your house from small purchases like a radio, pool, and TV to full upgrades of the kitchen and office. Also in the store you can buy groceries, medicines, and varying miscellaneous items like pets and new clothes. While playing the game there are collections to fill with random objects that appear in your yard. You can collect coins, bugs, nature items, and puzzle pieces with 12 of each. There is a very detailed achievement system as well in the form of trophies. There are over 100 trophies for different life events including making a certain amount of money, praising certain behaviors, having kids, having a little person reach different ages, and so many more. The best feature is that your little people keep living while you’re not in the game. They do almost everything by themselves, but you can change any action by just picking them up, and dropping them. If you want them to do something in particular, just drop them in a particular area, for example drop them on a rare item to pick it up, or drop them by their work area to have them start working. Families_dinner

The Good

The Best aspect of Virtual Families is the amazing gameplay. The life simulator is totally immersive so that you’re emotionally attached to your little people. It takes a little while to get into the game, but once you’re married with your first child you will officially be hooked. The little kids provide the most enjoyment with their crazy actions especially for their age. This game may have highest replayability factor in the App Store. Since the game plays by itself, you can pop in any time just to check how they’re doing, dragging them around to take care of certain things, and see how they age. Your family will continue for generations, so virtual families never has an end, and every week you’ll have a brand new family. The save system worked perfectly so you can see your little children grow up, and then have their own children, with all the fun along the way. Families_collections Also adding to replayability are the numerous trophies with some that are easy to achieve, and others that are quite difficult. Then there are all of the collectibles that pop up randomly in the yard. It’s great to slowly but surely complete your collections, and sell duplicates along the way. Also any house upgrades you add will stay, so when you buy the pool, the pinball machine, or the office upgrade they will be there for the following generations. The visuals are nice, and your little house is beautifully designed. The worst part of the visuals is the design of the little people whom can be quite ugly. The animations are a little weird from their making a baby dance to their weird workouts. The sounds are outstanding with four unique mellow soundtracks playing the background. The sound effects of all your little people are amusing, and a nice addition. Families_family

The Bad

There is occasional crashing after using your iPhone all day, but can be fixed with a simple reboot. Also the first time I played, I pressed start over, and then it never saved progress which was easily fixed by reinstalling the app, and never starting over. Other than that there is nothing wrong with this game, unless you like to be very controlling of your virtual life.

The Verdict

Virtual Families is an amazing game, and the best simulation game yet on the iPhone. It’s wonderfully executed, and an engaging and fun experience to watch and guide multiple generations. Since it plays in the background it will provide long lasting gameplay. It’s perfect to pop into for a few spare minutes in your day. This is a completely different experience from the Sims, and luckily your little people can handle themselves. This is an outstanding game, and for $3.99 it’s a should buy, and with the recent price drop to $1.99 even more so. [gallery link="file" columns="4"]

Related articles