If you’re wondering how the free-to-play phenomenon has made such wide inroads into Western mobile gaming, look no further than the examples set by Game Insight. They may have just recently opened a new publishing office in San Francisco, but truth be told, they’ve long been juggernauts in the simulation market. Last year they topped the Android charts with the likes of Paradise Island and My Country before porting these and a string of other sim hits to iOS. The latest developer to team up with Game Insight for a genre outing is Divo Games, and we took their collaboration – The Tribez, available for iPhone and iPad – for a spin to see what all the hubbub is about.

The story goes that scientists have discovered a time travel portal, and in true mad science fashion they send you, the player, right on through to see what happens. Luckily this isn’t one of those adventurer-gets-cannibalized-immediately situations. In fact, the Stone Age tribes happen to be on the lookout for a smart, godlike being to guide their civilization.

Just because you’re installed on a throne doesn’t mean you don’t have your work cut out for you! Dishing out commands with a friendly tap interface, the player directs the tribespeople to clear woodlands, sow crops and construct housing and production facilities — all in a bid to grow the tribe and advance into new territories. With every action exacting a cost in food and materials, The Tribez offers a taught resource management challenge. The player’s options are deep, both in terms of facilities progression and territorial expansion. You do receive some guidance through quests to help you along the way though.

It’s said that great risks come before great rewards, and that goes a long way toward explaining how a publisher/developer team like Game Insight and Divo Games command success —The Tribez is one of the most gorgeous games in its genre, hands down, so you can just feel the huge resources pumped into this one. It’s a great display of how a vibrant presentation can draw players in, and generous starting amounts of the game’s IAP currency don’t hurt either.

Nor does Game Insight have only one egg in its genre basket, as we’ll be taking a look at the Hidden Object title Mystery Manor later this week. That being the case, we would definitely encourage devs interested in finding a publisher to get in touch with them via their contact page. You can also watch for Game Insight news on their Facebook page and Twitter account.