The fourth game in the series, Virtual Villagers 4: The Tree of Life, continues the story of the island of Isola, where several generations have coexisted with the island in happiness and peace. In a turn of events, the fauna of the island has begun to diminish and, as such, the chieftain of the villagers has sent an expedition to investigate the causation of this phenomenon. In their travels, the expedition party stumble across a clearing with an enormous dying banyan tree, dubbed the Tree of Life, the hypothesised answer to the villagers' problem on the eastern shore of the island.
In terms of gameplay, in contrast to previous games in the series, The Tree of Life permits the player to choose his or her starting tribe members, which comprises five people; similar to previous games, there are 16 achievements, called "puzzles", to be earned. Aesthetically and graphically, The Tree of Life features an updated user interface and a detailed hand-drawn map.