G5 Entertainment has launched their newest offering for iOS: Jack of All Tribes combines elements of city-building and combat with tons of resource management as you find yourself swept back in time to save a land of prehistorical villages from the elements, and from raiders. Playing as Jack, you literally plunge into an adventure after your roller coaster train derails, sending you through a wormhole. From there, you're introduced to Rainbow, a native that can help you understand her people's relationship with nature and the elements.
A shaman has foretold of your arrival - that you will bring peace and prosperity to the land - so (most of) the villagers are eager to follow your direction. Through each level (there are 40 in all), you'll be given a smaller set of tasks, from building cottages and huts to gathering a specific amount of food or wood. As you progress further in the game, you'll even be able to mine for gold, build bridges to reach new areas, and fight off raiders that would steal your supplies for their own use.
Jack of All Tribes places you in the role of an overseer, as you tap on objects thus commanding your villagers to complete tasks associated with them. House plots are clearly marked on the land, and by tapping on a lot, you can send two or more villagers to complete its construction. Each hut or home adds more villagers to your current level, allowing you to multi-task even further by having these same villagers move on to construct more homes, while your new helpers harvest Food from fields or berry bushes.
Gameplay is made even more complex with the addition of both Wood and Food production facilities. While they will automatically add Food and Wood to your totals (Wood is otherwise earned by chopping down trees), you'll need to lose at least one villager per building to keep them open. You can add or take away villagers from each building, adding a huge element of strategy to each level, as you must look at your goals and decide just how quickly you need those resources to move on. Furthermore, each new structure you want in your city costs Wood, so if you don't have enough Wood to build a new home, and yet your town only has two citizens, your progress will be incredibly slow and you may not pass the level in the expert time given.
Speaking of score, at the end of each level, you're given a score based on the number of buildings you constructed, along with other bonuses for how thoroughly you completed each of your required tasks, and how quickly you completed them. If you complete them fast enough, you'll unlock a special flag on the world map, along with receiving trophies and other rewards along the way that make your villagers work faster, become hungry less often, and so on.
Another game element, combat, is included via both dinosaurs and raiders, and even some tower defense. While you can simply tap on a raider's head to scare them off, if you build a Dinosaur Pen they'll chase them off automatically. The same can be said for towers which are located on the outskirts of some villages: these towers toss coconuts at the enemies, thus driving them back.
In order to earn more funds in each level, you'll be able to upgrade your cottages and huts to produce more rent, add entertainment structures like baths or theaters, or even allow your villagers to ride on your pet dinosaur for the fun of it. All of your actions have two purposes: to not only complete each level's overarching goals, but to keep your villagers fed and satisfied. The happier they are, the faster they work and vice versa.
All told, Jack of All Tribes is far more difficult to describe in words than through actual practice. The game is available on both iPhone and iPad in two separate apps, costing $2.99 and $4.99 each, respectively. You can download a free trial of either game to see if the gameplay is to your liking, but I'd be willing to wager that the downright adorable graphics alone will be enough to keep you coming back for more.
Have you tried Jack of All Tribes, or is this something you would rather play on Facebook instead of your iPhone or iPad? What do you think of the game? Sound off in the comments.