Virtual Families 3: Our Country Home is a life simulator developed by Last Day at Work, following their previous titles such as the Virtual Villagers series. In Virtual Families 3 you move into a run-down but rather cozy home that you can decorate and renovate to your liking, possibly starting a family to inherit the property as time goes on. The house has its own stories to tell however, and you might notice the lights flickering from time to time…
Though Virtual Families 3 is similar to The Sims on the surface, there are some key differences we will have to discuss, chief among them being that you have less activities for your characters (or “Little People” as the game calls them) to do. The game is also a great deal more passive in nature, as players are encouraged to leave their characters alone to gain progress. Under your guidance, how many generations will stay?
Virtual Families 3 is rather simple in terms of gameplay, so it is very easy to learn what the game can do. Our Virtual Families 3 guide will show you what you can expect in the game, and how to really start enjoying the fruits of your labors. So stay with us and check out our Virtual Families 3 guide below for tips, tricks and strategies to live a happy, prosperous life!
The first thing you should know about your new home is that it essentially comes in “sections,” some already built right from the start. You start with a “living room” to the south of the map that needs some serious renovation; an office to the west which has a couple of computers and a phone; a bathroom to the southeast; a kitchen in the center with a dining room close by; and a main room that will most likely serve as your first bedroom up until you start upgrading your house.
Some of these house upgrades can be purchased right away, provided you have enough coins, while others will require you to reach new generations of family members before you can unlock them. These upgrades are rather pricey too: it costs about two thousand coins to add two new rooms to the northeastern corner of the kitchen, and that was the only option that we could purchase immediately.
Furniture and other assorted items can be purchased via the store tab at the bottom of the screen, and are divided into several categories:
Food and Medicine: Your Little People need to eat after all. Groceries come in sub-categories (such as regular food or organic food, for example), and are purchased one at a time. Acquired groceries can be placed onto the food tab at the top of the screen, selecting the chosen grocery, and tapping the dining table while the grocery is selected. Any unoccupied characters will head to the kitchen and start moving groceries to the refrigerator. Meanwhile, medicines are used to treat any illnesses your characters might have.
Flea Market: Assorted knick-knacks and consumables you can gift your characters, ranging from pick-me-ups to more activities they can do in and around the gardens. The Flea Market’s stock changes on a daily basis.
Career: Job-related items to improve your characters’ work performance. We will discuss careers along with characters later in the article.
Home Improvement: If you want to expand the house, this is where you go. Aside from new rooms, this category also includes gardens, decks, and even a pool. Home Improvement options are perhaps the most restricted as it can take several generations before you can even access some of these options.
Furniture: Beds, appliances, and decorative items, essentially stuff that your characters can regularly interact with. You can access purchased furniture at the top of the screen, next to the food tab, select the furniture you want to place, and drag it to its desired location. You start off with a cheap-looking couch so your starting character has some place to get some sleep, though you can find an affordable bed if you prefer mattresses over cushions.
Clothing: For some added character personalization. Beyond that, it is mostly cosmetic.
Upgrades: This store section has services to make home management a bit easier, such as a hirable maid with a daily paycheck or adoption services for when you want to expand your family. There is also the lottery if you want to try your luck, and an option to force a random event if you feel the day is a bit too uneventful to your liking. You can enter the lottery for one hundred coins, which can pay out big time or just reward you with free groceries.
Pets: Currently unavailable at the time of writing, we can assume you can purchase your own furry friend or two to brighten up your humble abode.
Around the yard, there might be collectibles scattered around the garden that spawn in at random times, indicated by twinkling effect above the item in question. You can leave them alone, or you can command your characters to pick them up, though some collectibles of them will require gifts from the Flea Market in order to start collecting them.
Now, we mentioned earlier that there is something off about the house, and truth be told, the place appears to be haunted. Aside from the flickering lights, you might see the ghost of a little girl from time to time. Moreover, some letters addressed to the previous inhabitants mention some tragedy involving their daughter. Clearly your realtor should have mentioned that before you bought the place.
We have no idea how this storyline progresses based on our limited playtime, but here’s hoping we can give the little girl some closure. The girl is harmless, though her sudden appearances can startle you if you are not prepared for them.
2. Founding Your Family
Before you can move in, you will have to create your first Little Person. The game will essentially randomize what your starting character will look like, along with other details listed next to them. These details are as follows:
Name: Your character’s name of course, and the only detail you can really customize.
Age: How old your character will be. Expect this to range between their early to their late 20s. Characters age at a rate of one year every few hours.
Gender: Whether your character is a boy or a girl. Sexual preference will be covered later.
Profession: What your character’s job is. This determines what work station they will have to go to in order to earn cash. Food-related jobs will work in the kitchen; office-related jobs will work on the office computers; and construction-related jobs will work in workshops you can build later in the game, and thus will not spawn in at the start of a new family.
Salary: How much money your character earns on a daily basis, along with how much money they have on hand. They will earn this money passively, as characters cannot lose their jobs as far as we can tell, though you can manually move them to their chosen work station to get more money, earning extra cash every hour they do more work.
Wants Kids: How much they want to have kids of their own.
Likes and Dislikes: What your character likes and does not like to do. These sections may be left blank, with children starting off with no likes and dislikes at all.
Once you roll a character you like, hit the “Accept” button to move them in. While in the house, you can select a character by tapping on them and showing things like their age, their profession, their current mood, and their current activities. Tapping on their icon brings up a more detailed menu which shows the following along with their previously mentioned stats:
Level: Their job’s current level, which affects their salary as they are “promoted.”
Progress: How far they are to the next promotion. This bar goes up the more they work.
Happiness: How happy they currently are, of course. Happier characters will do more activities.
Health: How close they are to an illness. Keep this high so you do not need to buy medicine as often. Illnesses can range from simple, under-the-weather cases to potentially fatal maladies.
Fed: Their hunger meter. Characters will head to the fridge to get a meal if this goes down enough, so remember to keep your fridge stocked. Your family will remind you if your food stores are low, though it does not hurt to see for yourself.
Energy: If this meter falls down low enough, your characters will become exhausted and seek the nearest couch or bed to get some sleep.
There appears to be arrows to the sides of their icon, presumably to cycle between family members. However, we have had trouble pressing them and either go to their detailed pages or simply exit our selections.
As a rule, your characters will do what they want to do, and while you can force them to do certain activities by manually dragging to them to your chosen location, you will get more mileage by encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors. At the top left of the screen are two buttons to praise or scold your characters for their actions, which in turn allows them to manage your house more efficiently while you are away.
For example, you can dedicate one character to working for extra money while another one cleans up the place. Characters may occasionally wish for certain things like room-related items or house upgrades, which will give you an idea on what you should purchase. They may occasionally send you emails or make a call upon starting the game, telling you about their current problems.
Any random events will fire when you start the game, indicated by the flashing email or phone icons on the right side of the screen. In that case, move a character to the computer or the phone, respectively, to see the event. Sometimes these events will make you lose money, while other times you will get a nice reward.
Gameplay more or less progresses in real time with no real option of speeding it up, aside from a time warp you can purchase from the Upgrades section of the store. As such, gameplay in Virtual Families 3 will consist mainly of telling your characters what activities need to be urgently done, and what they should and should not do. You will also have to leave the game for a bit and come back to see how far your family has come. The game does come with a small tutorial system when you visit different menus for the first time.
Naturally, moving into a house introduces its own list of problems, some of which we will list below:
You will have garbage to properly dispose of, unless your character wants ants roaming around in the kitchen. There is a garbage can in the kitchen, which will eventually get full and have to be emptied outside. Also, a note on ants: your family will step on them to get rid of them but generally, you will not see an end to it. We haven’t quite figured out how to permanently get rid of them.
Dirty laundry is represented by the occasional sock lying about, though you will have to buy a washing machine and a suitable dryer separately.
Dirt smudges can be easily cleaned up, though this can take away valuable time. Hiring a maid will help you deal with dirt and the other assorted messes we mentioned above.
Weeds in your garden, which will become a bigger problem when you start developing the outside of your house. You manage this by manually commanding your characters to pull the weeds out themselves, by hiring a gardener, or by purchasing some weed killer from the Flea Market.
Appliance breakdowns, where you will have to decide between hiring a dedicated repairman and trying to fix the darn thing yourself.
3. The Tying Of Knots And The Pattering Of Feet
Of course, it can get pretty lonely living in such a large house with your lonesome. This is when the game’s dating site comes into play. From here, you can select the chosen gender of your significant other, as well as what interests you want them to have.
The game will cycle from about four choices until you find someone that you like. Just like your starting character, their name, age, and other details will be listed, their name can be changed as you see fit, and any money they have on hand will be combined with yours.
After you have made your decision, they will move in and marry your character, so cheers to the newlywed couple! In our example, we married a woman named Magica who works as a Sustainability Specialist.
If you want someone to inherit the house, you will need kids. You can either locate adoption services via the Upgrades section of the store, or drag one of your newlyweds to their significant other to get busy. It is just the two of them dancing in place on the nearest bed, so nothing too explicit. Once they are done, you will be blessed with your own little bundle of joy, possibly even twins or triplets if you are (un)lucky enough.
The newly-minted parents will take care of their baby by holding them as they go about their activities, and you can control which people are in charge of baby duty via the character screen. As in real life, the chance of getting new kids goes down the older the couple gets. Until they grow up, babies will not need beds of their own, sleeping alongside who is currently taking care of them.
Once the baby is two years old, the child will become semi-independent and more or less start behaving like a regular character. You can encourage or discourage them as needed. Your child will become a fully grown adult when they are 18 years old, and are capable of finding a job, getting likes and dislikes, and finding love. Your family members will start visibly aging at around forty-five years old, with their hair turning grayer and grayer until it becomes white.
4. A Couple More Buttons To Press
There are two more options beside the Store button: the Menu and the Bank. The Bank is simple enough, as it lists your daily income based on the combined salaries of your working characters, while the Menu has the following options available:
Family: Showcases your family tree, of course! Over time, this entry will get pretty far, starting with your first character and potentially ending with lots of descendants over multiple generations.
Goals: Essentially the achievement system of the game. Completing a goal nets a one-time money bonus. Some goals are mutually exclusive in the sense that you will need to wait for the next generation to complete them both.
Coins: If you are low on cash, you can make an in-app purchase for a quick income boost. Alternatively, you can get two hundred coins by selecting the “Free Coins” button at the top right corner of the screen and watching an ad.
Collections: Any collectables your characters can find will be listed here, sorted by the type of collectable they are (such as toys or bird feathers, to give a couple of categories) and their arity.
Help: A simple, scroll-down list that covers the basics of the game. Good for refreshers.
Settings: Volume controls and the like. You can pause the game if things are becoming too much for you to handle, or even reset the game if you feel that your current family is at a dead end.
To the right of those buttons is the current amount of coins you have, and selecting it will take you directly to the in-app purchase section of the menu we discussed earlier.
5. Home Management For Newbies
We have covered all the details that Virtual Familes 3 has, so let us give you some pointers to make handling your family a great deal easier:
Patience! The game generally runs on real time, with no way of speeding things up, outside of purchasing the time warp. You will have to trust your Little People that they can get the job done, checking on them from time to time if they need a little extra help or more food.
Carrots and Sticks. The encouragement system will be your best friend as it will more or less dictate what your family will do while you are away. Encourage them for activities you want them to do and discourage activities that consume too much time.
Listen to what your family members want. If they want new stuff for their bathroom, a painting to liven it up will suffice. We personally bought a weighing scale.
Some ideal first purchases. Some of the things you can find in the Store can get rather expensive, but ideally you should get a couple of extra beds so that your new family will have more places to sleep. We also recommend getting a washing machine and a suitable dryer in order to deal with the laundry.
Get that free coin boost often. The start of the game can be an uphill battle, so you will need to get as much help as you can until your family can start raking in money on a regular basis. Two hundred coins is quite the boost when you are starting out, but over time this amount will fall off as your family starts earning more than what that the ads offer.
Collect what you can find. There are goals for completing a given collection, so locate any twinkling things in your garden and have your characters pick them up.
Thank you for reading our Virtual Families 3 guide! With some hard work and a lot of time, you can turn that old house into a beautiful mansion of your own design, housing a family that stretches back to your first character. If you guys have any tips or tricks that we may have missed, please let us know in the comment area below!