Cost: Free (In-app purchases optional)
If you’ve held onto any childhood imagination, the idea of a little world of virtual people living inside your phone, depending on you for survival, will probably spark joy. Last Day of Work’s “Virtual Families 3” makes this magical idea a reality.
“Our Country Home” is the newest of three installments of “Virtual Families,” which began in 2009. This new version includes politically correct updates, including options for same-sex couples, allowing fathers to care for infants, and significantly improved racial diversity. Children now resemble their parents, the graphics are improved, and home decor and renovation options are expanded.
Unlike so many free games, “Virtual Families” spares players the harassment of constant ads or in-app purchases. While available for extra coins, they are treated more as a resource than an interruption.
The game is far from perfect, though. It’s yet another magnet pulling you to screens. The 2-3 times you’re tempted to check up on your family adds up. If you’re trying to break ties with your cell, maybe you don’t need the responsibility of caring for a little family. This, coupled with occasional glitches and server issues, humbles the app as essentially another game pulling you from the real world.
Nonetheless, “Virtual Families 3” is one of the few games that is simple enough for a child yet personal and engaging enough for an adult, making it a worthy option when searching for a little escape. It’s a bit of a hidden gem among the endless supply of free games to choose from on the app store.