Version Reviewed: 1.4447
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Want some tips on starting your new life on an island full of animal people? Check out our Castaway Paradise beginner's guide!
If you're not one of the droves of gamers who invested in a Nintendo 3DS or one of the company's other handhelds to get into the Animal Crossing craze, chances are you're probably feeling a little left out. Well, no need to feel that way anymore as one of the closest things those clamoring for Animal Crossing could ever get has arrived on iOS. Castaway Paradise is a gorgeous, full-featured, open-ended adventure that's just addictive enough to be comparable to the familiar village simulator we all know and love.
After washing ashore absolutely lousy with kelp, you're welcomed into the friendly community as a newcomer as the animal inhabitants ask you to help them out to build their island up to its former glory. You see, the storm that played a part in sinking your ship also did a number on their happy home, and since you're going to need a home the least you can do is offer a helping hand.
Of course, it's not on you to rebuild the entire town. You have to take care of yourself too, by collecting fruit, wood, crops, bugs, and more. You can sell commodities to make money and advance, restoring parts of the island to normal and building a tidy little sum for yourself in turn. The villagers will always be around to hand out new things for you to do, too. In fact, that seems to be their sole purpose - giving you a never-ending quest list. They never retire to their homes, and they're always ready and willing to put you to work. You'll be rewarded and showered with experience points, presents, gems, and other items to keep you grinding and playing to improve your surroundings and stash.
In fact, the villagers themselves are a big reason you'll want to keep at it. There are a wide variety of personalities between them that mirror that of Animal Crossing's personable inhabitants. And from the look of things, there could be additional islanders coming in the future since some of the houses seem to be unavailable in some areas.
Castaway Paradise is absolutely delightful, though it does revel in its free-to-play status. And rather than wearing it as a badge of honor, it does its very best to make sure you forget it's even involved in such shady dealings. You're able to upgrade items, collect gems, and level to your heart's content without ever spending a dime. Timers are extremely reasonable, and it's never a frustratingly long wait when you do run into them. It's such a breath of fresh air that you really couldn't be faulted for buying premium items. Of course the game is rife with reminders that said items are available, and that's one issue I came away with after my first few sessions. It's pesky, for sure, but no dealbreaker.
After spending about 20 hours in total with Castaway Paradise so far, it's safe to say it's going places. And with future updates that could transform it into an even bigger and better world to explore. But for right now, it's comfortable, exciting, and rife with things to do. You'll want to come in and stay a while. Or a few hours. Or a few weeks. You know, whatever works.