Cave men, meet the Cave men. They’re an ancient, stone-age family. From their tiny island, they’re a page right out of history. So what has inspired me to badly re-write the Flintstone’s theme song? Well, its a little game called Many Years Ago that absolutely reminded me of the famous Hanna Barbara cartoon from the moment I started playing it and it is packed full of cute cave man themed simulator fun.

Many Years Ago follows the survivors of an ancient tribe with possible the worst luck in history. First the small tribe manages to barely escape destruction after a volcano destroys their entire civilization and home, then when they finally find a new home; it’s threatened by another volcano eruption. Truly no luck, so you as they’re overseer must help the tribe and their chief built new homes, gather food and evolve in order to once again escape on a boat to another new homeland before this island’s volcano erupts.

As the overseer, you must help the tribe’s chief and other members to gather food, built homes, have babies and gain new knowledge. You can do this by picking up the tools required to perform the tasks and then lead members to job spots on the island like coconut trees or quarry rocks. The materials or food you gather from the island is gathered in community supply huts which can be upgraded to hold more as time goes on.

The materials you gather can be used to feed your tribe, complete tasks or build new buildings on the island like homes or a stable for dinosaurs. Each building type helps in improving the tribe’s quality of life. They can also be used to build totems which give you tribe new knowledge like fire but they also open up mini games. These games aren’t required to finish the game but playing them earns you extra experience points and materials for your tribe.

As you assign jobs to your tribe members, they will develop experience towards that skill which will help them perform the task better. You can increase their skill levels by shelling out more experience points that skill from a community point pool. Points are gained from achievements, mini games and coins collected on the map.

Your tribe will start off small but you can increase their numbers by either pro-creation which will happen as tribe members socialise and have alone time, or by building new homes.  Babies on the island must be housed the kindergarten area until they grow into teenagers and then you can get them to gather fruit or fish. Only adults can complete all tasks.

During all this work, you must keep an eye on your tribe members because even though they will stop working to eat, sleep and socialise, they will get sick and you must feed them medicine plants to heal them. Ultimately you are given tasks to complete throughout the game which must be completed in order to reach your ultimate goal: leaving the island before the volcano erupts. All tasks must be completed in order.

Many Years Ago is inspird by games like Virtual Villagers and My Tribe, but this game has your tribe building and advancing much faster, and its tutorial explains everything you need to know from the get-go instead of having to click around blindly.

I loved the 3D graphics in this game because of how much the tribe member and dinosaurs looked like the Flintstones cartoon. The women were dressed like William and Betty and there was even a flying dinosaur. The music was a mixture of island calypso beats and strange gypsy sounding European music.

The mini-games though kind of a fun distraction in between all the materials gathering, it really didn’t help the game as a whole. The experience points you gained were nice, but the material amounts were so small that they didn’t even register as helpful. They could have been left out completely. My other complaint was trying to complete tasks that required a certain amount of food because your tribesmen would keep eating it and it would make it harder to reach the goal.

Anyone who is interested in games like The Sims or Virtual Villagers would like this game as well. Controlling all the little tribesmen and watching them grow and interact is entertaining and will suck you in for hours. Watching them sail off in the sunset after all their hard work is very rewarding and I think other is find that too.

For similar games, try Virtual Villagers, My Tribe, and Escape from Paradise.