MyTribe, by Grubby Games, is a happy Lost-ish sim, with all the mysteries and none of that annoying Others soap opera. I downloaded the game mostly because Casualicious.com’s recent post made it sound like a civilization-advancement sim without that annoying war and bloodshed part.
Your people, survivors of a shipwrecked colonizing vessel, must find a way to survive on their island. They start out without any resources, and begin to fish, gather wood, build huts, and so forth. The tribespeople are happy to work, they love their island and enjoy what they’ve built, but they suffer from Age of Empires-style autonomy. You may find a hungry person looking at a fish or a farm, waiting to be told what to do next.
The interface is an intuitive, grab-and-drag sandbox style (with the odd side effect that your tribespeople reproduce when you drop a man on a woman). Selected tribespeople share a one-line thought, whether it’s something useful like a hint about coming weather, a clue to their mood or just a random thought about enjoying island life. Unlike Lost, they aren’t all thinking about double-crossing each other.
MyTribe had a perfect level of difficulty. Tribespeople stay alive and content with very little effort, and when you want a challenge, you can experiment with mixing potions, try to win achievement trophies or unlock your island’s mysteries. There are three different “mysteries” on each island, and your tribespeople have to figure out what they are and how to use them. Once solved, they each give your island a little boost in something, like more stardust falling. I enjoyed having tribespeople will different skills investigate the mysteries, although I’m sure a little googling would yield instructions to solve.
I was very pleased that little girls could go grow up to be rock-smashers or legendary researchers or any other profession track.
The graphics are cartoon sweet without a lot of flashy effects. All the menus and sidebars follow the tiki theme, too, Kind of makes me want a fruity drink. My major problem was being frustrated by the lack of zoom. I wanted to zoom in because the tribespeople all have cute facial expressions, and zoom out to see how the island as a whole was doing, but I couldn’t do either. There is a stats screen to keep overall tabs on your tribepeople’s progress, but I still found myself useless scrolling the mousewheel, trying to get in or out.
When you aren’t playing MyTribe, your tribespeople are still going about their island lives. They’ll build, research new advances, improve their skills and grow older while your computer is turned off. Without a player, they’ll miss any random events, like gathering fallen stardust (a magical substance for potion and, um, magic) or salvage, though. And if you haven’t assigned someone to get food, you’ll find a tribe of hungry people standing around thinking about eating! It’s like an island Tamagotchi, which makes it a perfect game to play on short breaks.
Edit 1/30/09: I have finally unlocked all the MyTribe mysterious objects! My new post on ThumbGods tells you how to solve all the MyTribe mysteries.
This post is about the Grubby Games single-player game, go here for my post on the Facebook version of MyTribe.