Even if your feet are firmly planted on concrete, the intricate attention to detail may draw you into the Campers! universe. It starts with the beautiful title sequence, which seemingly evokes a very tranquil and halcyon camping ground. You hear the sound of birds in the background, and the faint sounds of the lake, and everything feels right. But if you look closer into the photo, there is a mosquito, a bee, a skunk and a mysterious figure waiting to pounce on the doe eyed children.
Campers! begins with three children dropped off onto a nearly barren site, and it's their duty to turn their environment into a safe haven amidst Mother Nature's playground. Within your first hour of play there are so many tasks to be done - building cabins, a greenhouse, and a workshop area are among the more ambitious undertakings. There is also time for fun, as the kids can choose to go on a river rafting excursion or even travel to different camp sites to encounter various wildlife. River rafting is particularly fun in this game, as you attempt to gather as many silver collectibles as possible without crashing into a rock, fallen logs, or even a fish.
Although accruing gold coins is important in the game, the most valuable items are the arrowheads. The more arrowheads you have, the better chance at buying food for the children, and unfortunately their energy levels are way too short for my own comfort. If you find enough items along your adventures you may be able to create your own food without dipping into the arrowheads. For five bucks, I bought 100 arrowheads just out of necessity, as each child gets completely gassed after doing two or three short activities. Heck, even gardening will lower your energy bar!!
As you build more cabins and level up, you will be able to add new campers to the site, with each child given a specific amount of hours to venture around the grounds. Campers! also enables you to send one of the kids back on the bus to explore a different campsite, where they will collect pine cones, daffodils, rocks, and other random items that should aid them down the road. The ability to perform tasks on the main camp ground and immediately switch over to another site is one of the title's many wonderful facets. There is really too much to do in Campers! to every truly get bored. Credit also goes to the first rate audio that adds a real depth to the title - from the diverse sounds of the birds and animals to the catchy and diverting score, Campers! really is a pleasure to the ears.
Constantly replenishing the kids' energy ends up being a total drag, and it's that very flaw that keeps Campers! on the very good, but not great level. There was obviously a ton of thought put into this game, and I never thought nurturing a garden or interacting with squirrels would make for such a diverting experience. Just keep those arrowheads coming and the energy bars up, and Campers! should be a wonderful place to pitch your tent.