Llama Villa describes itself as being The Sims but with llamas and that’s pretty much exactly what you get. While it may lack a lot of the advanced features of the games that inspired it, it more than makes up for it with the cute factor. Simple and accessible to play, Llama Villa is the game equivalent of easy listening.
The game’s main appeal is absolutely the fact that it has cuddly fluffy llamas doing things instead of humans. If you’re not innately charmed by the concept of a llama playing on a laptop because he thinks he’s people, you might not be the target audience. Surprisingly enough, such a goofy concept does have sticking power, and makes for a solidly enjoyable game.
Sokpop are the four-person team behind the game. With a focus on smaller, cuter games, the Netherlands-based developers commit themselves to putting out two short games a month for their Patreon subscribers and have released other quirky games like Simmiland, Lisa and Bamboo EP. They’re currently selling Llama Villa for $3.00 on itch.io.
Watch Your Llamas Become Human
You start off at a ranch, where your brand new llama arrives and begins placidly milling about. There are two modes to switch between: “Manage” and “Buy”. In the Manage mode you control what your llama does and try to keep them satisfied with life. The llamas have bars you need to keep full for their various needs: thirst, fun, bladder, cleanliness and energy.
The Buy mode is where you can stock up on the necessities for llama life, like a nest of hay, a bucket to drink out of and cardboard box to play in. This is also where you can buy more llamas if you want to expand your villa. Keep your critters happy while they grow out their valuable wool, which you can then shear and sell off. The more llamas, the more wool and earnings, but the harder their needs are to juggle.
Now, you could keep your new friends perfectly content outside in their pen, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re a fan of The Sims or any other game where you get to deck out a house, flex those building and decorating skills you’ve built up by building your llamas their own personalised bungalows. As you earn you can put up walls, lay down carpeting and fill your new llama home with adorable decorations and furniture. Items like beds, TVs and showers all fill up your llama’s to a greater extent so it’s actually a good idea to upgrade them to a more human lifestyle.
When Simplicity is Too Much
Even if somewhat uneventful, the game has a calm, laid-back playstyle. With so few things you have control over, it’s a very low maintenance game and, when not issuing orders, all you can do is sit back and survey your burgeoning llama empire.
The llamas have a short attention span, as they don’t commit to an activity for too long and tend to wander off, which actually makes the game great to play if you also have a short attention span yourself. It doesn’t demand your undivided focus and you can easily play while multitasking.
Mechanically, the game is incredibly stripped back and basic, maybe a little too basic. This is especially true for the UI, as well as there being no real setting or control options. Minimalism is great, but it does have to be functional.
The lack of refinement is kind of a given considering how quickly Sokpop gets these games out. The only other real gameplay issue is that occasionally the llamas have trouble pathfinding, but even this is pretty rare.
The visuals are appealing, candy-colored and above all simple. Much like the gameplay, the game’s aesthetic has been boiled down to basic shapes and colors. Sound-wise, it’s a little stark. The ambient music goes a long way to round out the silence punctuated by the little “doing things” noises your llamas make, but it could’ve been a great opportunity to add even more of those quirky noises.
- Fun, simple gameplay
- Nice visuals
- Low price
- Could use more polish
- Cumbersome UI
Llama Villa is an easy-going, highly playable game that’s worth a shot for anyone who appreciates oddball concepts and cute appeal. Its extensive simplicity is what makes fun enough to sink an evening into, although a bit more complexity could’ve helped make it even more engaging. Once you’ve exhausted most of the game’s capacity, it leaves you wishing just a little more time was spent on it.