Review: iParadise for iPhone/Touch/iPad

Need a vacation, but just cannot get away?  Maybe you are single and just wish for a romantic trip to paradise with a significant other.  Either way, your iPhone can now take you away with your love to an exotic island.  iParadise offers a truly unique and deep iPhone experience.  Almost any activity that can be enjoyed at an island resort is available in the iParadise getaway.

I have to admit, when I first opened the game, I was not too sure what exactly to expect.  The idea of taking a fake vacation seemed strange.  Puzzle, word and arcade style games are my usual choices but iParadise provides a new and unique idea on gaming.

To start the game, choose the gender and names of you and your partner.  The goal of the game is to enjoy the exotic vacation while watching the parameters of yourself and your friend.  Hunger, fatigue, health, love, impression and mood must be balanced by choosing activities on the island.

Everything begins in the reception area.  Basically each vacationer takes turns requesting activities that will affect the parameters.  The goal is to raise the mood each day so that both masks the represent the players have a beaming smile.  A clock under the hunger meter helps keep track of time so make sure you do not skip your meals or sleep.  When an activity is requested the other person will respond yes or no.  If your partner requests, you will tap the answer.  If both parties agree on the activity, their parameters will adjust accordingly.  More strenuous activities will raise hunger and fatigue while a trip to the restaurant or spa lower them.

The graphics and sound help set the mood for the entire game.  Each screen is a serene relaxing scene and the music is relaxing.  The players are silhouettes of a man or woman each represented with a tiki mask next to the mood meter.  Some of the environments are  static screens where parameters are adjusted and time jumps quickly while others are animated or interactive.  The interactive screens are quite interesting.

The interactive environments are scrollable and have items that can be chosen by tapping a glowing item.  Some of these activities are animated with the character taking a swim or feeding fish.  Other activities are interactive and utilize the iPhone UI for the character.  When flying a kite or windsurfing, you blow on the microphone to add wind.  When rocking on a chair the phone is tilted to keep the chair rocking.  On the pier by the bungalow at night you can even gaze at the stars through a telescope and click on the constellations for more information.

As the game progresses, try to add new activities but be sure the activities are mutually enjoyable.  The developer hints that if all goes well, the game may even end up with a wedding.  One of the chosen activities is to make love and a random kiss is requested.  Do not worry though, the screen for making love is animated dancing hearts.  When a kiss is requested you can either actually kiss the screen or hold your finger on the lips for a set time.

The game is truly original for anything I have played on the iPhone.  The only comparison I could come up with is The Sims even though it is actually much different.  To understand the game requires hands on experience.  iParadise is available here in the app store for $.99.

What I like: Unique and deep gaming experience.

What could be improved: I would like to see a two player version where I could actually interact with my wife while she is on her own phone.

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