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Virtual Villagers 5: New Believers is the fifth installment of the Virtual Villagers franchise. You select 5 villagers. It takes place in a village of masked "heathens" native to the island. Explorers from the Tree of Life village are captured by the Heathens and must deal with life among these hostile, superstitious people. It is also in the centre of Isola. The explorers try to convert the Heathens by doing helpful tasks such as healing the sick and explaining "God" (the player) to them. Basic tasks such as getting firewood and food are made more complicated by the fact that the Heathens chase the explorers away from resources, requiring ingenious solutions and the occasional intervention of "God" -- you, the player. You also have god powers such as bees, fog and crop grower. You also get a skill of devotion.
First you get a bush of berries but first you have once you complete a first puzzle (to dismantle the totem in front of it before you can access the berries). Then later you get crops where the purple-masked heathen is crying (otherwise known as the field, you need a master scientist, a master builder, and level 2 construction in order to get it up and running). Later you get fish like in Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life.
Virtual Villagers 5 features several of the familiar buildings from its predecessors such as huts for lodging that can be built to increase the population cap and a honeymoon hut for reproducing. Additionally, construction sets for a clothing hut and a nursery can be found by improving technologies. The clothing hut allows villagers to change their clothes for 5000 tech points a villager and gives access to dyes used in a puzzle. The nursery allows children and mothers with their nursing infants to learn and develop skills early on when an esteemed elder begins teaching a lesson.
There are 16 puzzles to complete in this game. Each one has different requirements such as villagers with specific skill sets, improved technology, and the completion of other puzzles. Most puzzles revolve around destroying totems to take control of heathen territory, converting heathen masters, and repairing various structures.
- The Sick Heathen
- The Prison Break
- The Hungry Totem
- The Knowing Totem
- The Hydroponic Farm
- The Buried Mausoleum
- The Blocking Totem
- The Hollow Totem
- The Heathen Builder
- The Lake
- The Pain Totem
- The Rainbow Totem
- The Heathen Scientist
- The Tribute Statue
- The Blind Totem
- The Heathen Chief
- Main article: Heathens
Heathens are group of villagers that cannot be controlled by the player since they don't believe in the player which acts as the villagers' god. Because of this, they are unable to be moved around by normal means and their details are hidden from the player. There are four different types of heathens which can be distinguished by the color of their masks; blue, orange, red, and purple. Additionally, there is a tribal chief with their own unique mask.
Blue-masked heathens are similar to regular villagers and go about their day performing various tasks. These villagers are passive and can be persuaded into joining the player by having a villager preach to them and giving them a bit of faith. Some heathens will require multiple conversations before their faith is high enough to convert them to the player's side.
Heathens that wear the orange masks are aggressive and are frequently found among blue-masked heathens but may act as guards. These heathens aren't dangerous but will chase away any of the player's villagers if they come near or if the heathen decides to cross the path of the player's villagers, often interrupting their current task. Orange heathens can be temporarily subdued using god powers such as Swarm of Bees, Lightning Strike, and Fog of Doom. The can only be converted to the player's side by using an Earthquake god power to prove the player's existence and wrath.
Heathens clad in red masks act as sentries and often guard totems and other key structures to prevent the player from gaining access to them. Unlike heathens with orange masks, these heathens are passive but villagers will find them very intimidating them and will run from them if they get near. This makes them difficult to work with as they also tend to be resilient against the player's god powers. These heathens can only be moved away from their posts by a strike of lightning and can only be converted by earthquake.
There are only four heathens with purple masks and each of them is a master of their discipline, excluding healing. These heathens have special requirements to be converted and are each connected with a puzzle. They are passive and will not scare villagers; children villagers will often sit nearby and comfort them. They can all be found sulking in their respective areas.
The adept doctor is found in the hospital and requires medical assistance. The master farmer is found weeping on damaged farmland and requires repairs to their farm. The master scientist is found thinking in the research area and requires a proof to be solved. The master builder is found staring into space near the mausoleum and requires a challenger to beat them in a building contest.
After converting a purple-masked heathen, they will drop a piece of a necklace. Converting the master farmer will initiate a cut scene that reveals information about the heathen chief and the fate of the heathen tribe.
The tribal chief of the heathens wears a decorative red mask and is not aggressive. He can only be converted once all the purple-masked heathens are converted and the necklace is fully assembled. The chief is a jack of all trades, meaning that they are a master in all six disciplines available to the villagers.
- Main article: God Powers
God powers are a new mechanic added to Virtual Villagers which allows the player to invoke natural and supernatural forces to improve the lives of their villagers and invoke their wrath on the heathens. They are essential to solving various puzzles and gaining specific achievements and are generally very useful for keeping villagers healthy and well-fed.