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Castaway Paradise

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 14 - 2018

Island life.

While being washed up onto a strange island after a shipwreck is not that uncommon in video games, then making a home on the island rather than trying to escape, especially when you have to work to the whims of the other inhabitants, is a relatively unlikely premise. Still, with a cast of lazy, anthropomorphic animals, Stolen Couch Games’ Castaway Paradise isn’t really set in reality. Coming from mobile platforms and unashamedly described as being like Animal Crossing, Castaway Paradise is now available on Xbox One and PS4, for a very reasonable price.

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The game begins with a storm that unceremoniously dumps the player’s character on a beach, soon to be greeted by the island’s mayor who straight away gets the player to work in a tutorial type way. You see, the storm has also done some damage on the island and if the player wants to live there, not that they have any choice, they will have to do all of the busy work in making the island town great again. Anyone who has played Animal Crossing will recognise much of the gameplay here, such as planting crops or talking to the other residents and finding out what they want the player to do. So, set up home and get to work.

Unlike the life lesson in Animal Crossing where the player is loaned the money for their first house and then forced to pay it off, Castaway Paradise gives the player a tent to start with. Not the most delightful starter home, but it will do, and it’s not like the tent can’t be improved over time. Through progression in the game, the player will be able to expand there measly tent to include extra rooms, and a massive catalogue of furnishings and decorations will become available for the player to spend their hard earned cash on as they personalise their abode. Players will not only be improving their own home, but also will be responsible for the upgrade and repairs to various other buildings around the town, so there is plenty of renovation to be gotten on with.

But renovation will take money, and there are plenty of different ways to make cash in Castaway Paradise. Growing crops is probably the most likely way of making an income, but can require some time as the player plants the seeds, waters them and waits for them to grow. While not offering as much choice as some other farming type games, there is still a good variety of different things to grow, with more becoming available as the player progresses. Growing fruit is a good choice and can make the player loads of money quite quickly, but a game like this is not necessarily about getting to the finish in the fastest time, but more about the choice of doing whatever the player wants.

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The other island residents are a lazy bunch, and players will be constantly given tasks to complete that can reward with cash, amongst other things. The tasks do struggle to be particularly interesting, mostly involving simple fetch quests or delivery quests, but they are still a good way to raise some money and meet the cast, if boredom doesn’t set in.

There are daily objectives that the player can complete if they choose, further adding to the things to do, giving access to different rewards. While Castaway Paradise doesn’t have a day/night cycle, it does include seasonal changes to keep things interesting. Otherwise there are plenty of distractions for the player to indulge in, such as the simple task of clearing the island up. The player can fish, catch bugs or collect shells and donate them to the museum. Then there are the broken bridges that need repairing. Repairing a bridge and gaining access to more of the island will require puzzle pieces that are given out in certain quests, or simply purchased from the store. There is even a stock market for the player to invest in, if they miss their city job.

It’s a reasonably laid back experience in Castaway Paradise and it is quite easy to drop in for a little while and do a little maintenance, while also making some more money. I think younger players will get more from the game than the older players, and the visual style would suggest that they are the intended audience. While being fairly simple, the visuals are bright and colourful enough to please the youngest eye, and while the characters may be blocky and occasionally awkward looking, they are fun. The music is very repetitive and gets annoying quickly, and turning it off will only emphasise the lack of sound effects. However, anyone who plays games in silence will not be too bothered.

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Castaway Paradise is a game that doesn’t try to hide its inspiration. While it may not have the depth or cuteness of Animal Crossing, the price of entry is much lower and it can be enjoyed by non-Nintendo gamers. If managing an island, sorting out lazy inhabitants and growing crops is the sort of laid back experience that you are looking for, then Castaway Paradise is not a bad way to spend some downtime.




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Cozy Grove Due This Spring

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