Tiny Village
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-01-26 Android City Building E (Everyone) TinyCo

I keep forgetting that I now have the advantage of downloading free games for my phone and be entertained on the bus ride to work by something enjoyable, as opposed to the screams of kids that are about to be dropped off at daycares along the way or teens going to school with horrid music blaring out of their headphones so that everyone else can hear it too.

One of my latest findings is Tiny Village, which appealed to me mainly because of the tycoon factor. And then I found out that the gameplay takes the same format as CastleVille or CityVille on Facebook, which I play on occasion, except without relying on the social factor for advancement.

Tiny Village starts you off with two cave people running from a dinosaur, eventually stumbling across a strange rock. The power of this rock seems to scare the dinosaur away, and so our couple decides to start a settlement in the vicinity.

You begin with a little pre-historic hamlet: a big weird rock monument, a storage area, a couple of houses. The mechanics revolve around harvesting resources and building structures. By completing quests you earn experience and level up, unlocking new buildings and decorations for your village.

As far as resources go, you have food, rocks and wood to start with, eventually "discovering" lumber, fur and wovenfur (cloth). The total for each resource is conveniently shown at the bottom of the screen. You will need to build facilities to harvest the resources: quarry, farm, tree chopper, animal pen, lumber mill, weaver. There are different types of each facility, and each offers different bonuses to the resource obtained. Facilities require workers, so you must assign a villager to work there so production can begin. A harvesting facility can only house so much of a given resource, so your choices are to collect them manually or to have another worker do the hauler's job, and moving the stock to the storage. "And how do I get workers?", you may ask. By building houses. Jobless cave people will stand outside their homes, and you can assign them to a job. If you don't have enough homes to staff every position available, you can hire a worker for 8 hours.

To purchase these much needed and useful facilities you need income, which is primarily earned by opening trade stores. Stores will use the different resources to create items, which will sell for a wide range of prices and give you more experience, depending on how long it took to produce. You can also earn income by collecting it from houses and decorations around the village. Each item will produce a little bit after a specific amount of time has passed.

You will progressively receive quests, which line up on the left of the screen. Completing quests gives you rewards such as money, crystals and experience. Crystals are the secondary currency of the game, which you can also purchase with real money, and if you're turned off by this kind of feature in casual games, don't worry, crystals never become a hindering factor in Tiny Village since you have other ways of obtaining them.

As your village grows, you gain levels and unlock new items and buildings, and will eventually be able to upgrade existing ones. You can even expand your village area by purchasing adjacent space.

As far for the controls, everything is a simple tap and/or drag away. You can easily browse the menus by tapping the build icon (stone hammer on the bottom left corner) to see the different categories, and drag the category menu left to right to browse what's available. Two fingers for zooming in and out, one finger to drag the map around. It's pretty responsive, and my only complaint would be I HAVE FAT FINGERS! So sometimes, harvesting a tree sucks and I have to zoom in to tap the right spot.

Other than that, there really is no negative factor for me. It's great for gaming on-the-go (I use it on the bus and during my lunch break) since you can just turn it off and come back to check how things are going, harvest accumulated resources or build a little more. I enjoy the cute and colorful cartoony look of the game and the little animations that go with it, I like the music and sound effects, and most definitely, I am enjoying expanding my little non-pre-historically-correct Tiny Village!