If you never used the rosebud (infinite money) cheat in The Sims, you might have done what Artist Colony has you do: control a group of simulated characters struggling to get by in life. In this case, instead of encouraging your Sims to go out and get mundane jobs to earn money, you control a group of struggling artists primarily dependent on the whims of rich old men who occasionally visit and make offers on your artists’ masterpieces.
The story of Artist Colony is about an artistic commune that used to belong to three people, who had a dramatic love triangle that ended in a fiery disaster for the colony. One of their children comes back to the colony with the intent of recovering the past and rebuilding the colony to its former glory. Starting out with two people, you are tasked with creating an inspiring colony, rebuilding the studios, and luring more artists to come and add to the colony’s art and drama.
Who’s your muse?
Artists occasionally fall in love with each other, and when this happens, you can drag artists onto each other to see if the feeling is mutual. Their inspiration is affected in some way afterwards, whether the characters are walking around with their heads in the clouds or walking downtrodden in a sepia-colored world. So, emotional sensitivity of artists captured? Check.
Apart from love and sorrow, the colony falls into disrepair if left alone, so you have the responsibility of making sure the artists keep up with the menial labor as well, lest they lose inspiration from staring at rubble. Each artist has two specialties to train and create masterpieces in, as well as meters indicating energy and inspiration.
There’s always enough going on to keep busy, but not so much that it feels hectic. If it ever does get overwhelming, the game has different speed settings as well as behavior settings for each character, so it always feels manageable. Characters come to the colony as it grows, but sadly you can’t name them or customize them in any way, which leaves it feeling a bit less personal.
Your chance to grow rich in the art market.
Besides the lack of customization, our only complaint is that the plot leaves something to be desired. Cutscenes have awkwardly long pauses in them, and the characters look a bit like bobbleheads as they stand around exchanging lame, emotional speeches.
Artist Colony has charming character, and despite the lackluster plot, it’s one of the most addicting sims we’ve played on the iDevice. The game acts as a time vacuum as it pulls you into the constantly-increasing goals of the striving and struggling artists. The clever concept is complemented well by the smooth design, and we highly recommend it to any budding artist or reasonably creative person.