By – Jarrett Riddle

Castaway Paradise Review He

Welcome to the world of walking, talking animals who all carry enormous lists of things for you to do. Sound familiar? It should, as Castaway Paradise from Stolen Couch Games takes heavy influence from certain unique games of yesteryear. Mixing the scenario of daily life among these demanding creatures with some light farming and chores, the developers hope to provide a fun, all-ages appropo experience. This game is labeled Complete Edition because it’s actually a Facebook game. Thankfully in this version there’s no need to bust out the wallet to buy in-game items, but is that enough to warrant its purchase? We shall see.

The adventure begins like any good stranded island scenario, only you don’t have the Crusoe family name nor a volleyball named Wilson. Washed ashore in a pile of seaweed, you’re accosted by Viktoria, the mayor of the not-so-fine town on the island. Being a kind and giving politician, she promptly puts you to work the second your seaweed comes off. Apparently the same storm that threw you from your ship devastated her village, and for some reason it’s up to you to restore it despite all the able-bodied anthropomorphic animals just standing around. Sheesh, talk about an unfriendly welcome!

First and foremost, it’s meet and greet time with the citizens of this disaster area, each who naturally have errands for you to run upon your very first encounter. Rest assured that everything from grumpy baboons to flamboyant clothes designers will need you to complete their tasks. Nevermind that you may have serious injuries from being out to sea for who knows how long, but if you want to unlock the other areas of the island you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. By performing deeds you earn experience and money, both of which aid in getting further into the adventure. Level ups can be earned after accruing enough points that unlock new items in the store. Cash, in the form of gems, aren’t just for buying snazzy outfits and IKEA bedroom sets, but also allow for the purchase of puzzle pieces which are used to build bridges to other parts of the island.

Castaway Paradise Review 2

So what can you do to help? By planting flowers, growing vegetables, and completing asinine tasks for others, of course. A funny thing about a lot of these chores is that the game still feels exactly like its Facebook counterpart, in that when the player, for instance, plants flowers and waters them, a timer pops up over the plant displaying how long it’ll be before it blooms. The same goes for chiseling away at rocks; It rarely takes just one whack with the pickaxe to destroy a rock, rather it takes multiple clicks and animations to get rid of the pesky landscape eyesores.

Like other games of this nature, you get money and rewards for finishing jobs. Or if you’re playing the Facebook version, you can whip out your credit card and just buy everything you want, but good luck getting a home loan later when the bank sees what you’ve been charging. Otherwise, in-game money can be used to purchase things like clothes and furniture, the latter being sort of odd at the beginning seeing as your “house” is just a tent with a big zipper in front. By all means though, feel free to buy expensive furniture for it!

There’s also a few side activities like fishing and bug catching. These unfortunately never quite reach the same level of fun as in previous games with the same elements, due mostly to the fact that to succeed all you pretty much have to do is click on a popup box when getting close to a fish/insect. Your catches can then be sold at the store or put in the museum. The tools used for these actions have a limited number of uses, which can be replenished either with passage of time or by using in-game money.

Castaway Paradise Review 1

That’s the gist of the gameplay in Castaway Paradise. “But what gameplay?” is what you may be asking, to which I say, “Quiet you!” in my best Mr. Peabody voice. Honestly, the formula isn’t much less complex than most Facebook games, whether that really says anything or not. The various tasks, while monotonous, can be fun and probably even addictive to those who adore games of this nature. Add the fact that I haven’t come across any bugs and the result is much better than it could’ve been.

Castaway Paradise is not without color, that much can be said. Both the island and its inhabitants are vibrant and full of spunk. Characters bobble about in a blocky 3D style that suits the game well and would probably appeal to children or those who are young at heart. Everything looks nice at 1920×1080 resolution in full-screen, though many other resolutions and windowed mode are available. Music and sound effects serve their purpose, but are otherwise unmemorable. I must admit I miss the garbled voices when the characters talk like a certain game this one tries to mimic, and the background tunes could stand to be a tad peppier, but what do I know? I’m just some guy covered in seaweed.

The player character is controlled with either the mouse, WASD keys, or arrows, whatever you prefer. During my time with the game, my attempt to use a controller seemed to be in vain, and seeing as the game appears to be optimized for tablets, that’s not too surprising. Other than the fun-hurting aspect mentioned earlier, the controls work well enough but can be annoying when the bobblehead performs an action on a piece of land you didn’t intend to touch. What happens especially often is when trying to root out a stump, the character instead digs a hole next to it. Overall, the controls are fine and never overly cumbersome.

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Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

Alright, I’ve been avoiding saying it so far but let’s get real here: Castaway Paradise is an Animal Crossing clone. I don’t usually make direct comparisons, but every aspect of this game is nearly identical to those seen in the beloved Nintendo franchise. Most anyone who plays this will inevitably measure it up next to the time-tested series. The problem that lies therein, however, is that this game lacks much of the charm and enjoyment found in those that it tries to replicate. Because of this, I can’t recommend spending $14.99 for Castaway Paradise.

Castaway Paradise Technical Summary:

Castaway Paradise Review Sum

  • Time Played – 7 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – 3.7 GHz AMD A10-6700, 768MB Radeon 8670D, 8GB RAM
  • Control Scheme – M/KB
  • Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
  • Saved Game Location – SteamApps\common\Castaway Paradise\Castaway Paradise_Data
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