Statistics are very much in my mind now – not the least reason for which is due to my profession. First off we have March Madness kicking off, and I employed a non-linear regression technique to try to predict my way through the tournament rather than just guessing like I normally do. We also have the release of ‘The Hunger Ganes’ movie next week, which uses the phrase ‘may the odds ever be in your favor’.
What does this have to do with The Island: Castaway? Well, before I started playing I was thinking – G5 has had a really good run. Nearly every review I have given has been at least solid if not very positive for their games. There have been a few mediocre releases, and a couple games I passed on reviewing, but on whole a very solid run of releases. Can they keep it up, I wondered? With a bunch of releases in March, would they stumble and release a clunker? Read on and find out!
Intense challenges await you in The Island: Castaway, an extremely addictive simulation game. You are one of the lucky few to escape a sinking ocean liner. Stranded on an island, you will have to learn to fish and hunt for wild boars, catch snakes and find rare plants. But it’s not all about staying alive. Explore the enigmatic island to find clues, solve over 200 diverse quests and decrypt ancient writings. Solving these mysteries could be your only chance to get back home! Dive into this riveting adventure today!
12 Absorbing locations
14 Unique and fascinating characters
Over 200 quests to solve
Huge, perplexing island to investigate
Plot that’s full of twists and turns
Game Center Support
iOS 4+ multitasking support
Let me cut the suspense by telling you that The Island: Castaway is an excellent game, and one of the best real-time survival games I have ever played on a portable device. This sort of game is a twist on real-time strategy, as you need to not just accomplish tasks, but you also need to keep track of your health while doing tasks for others.
The Island: Castaway tells the tale of a group aboard a boat swept away in a shipwreck and stranded on an island. You are the lucky few – but after discovering few resources you think your luck might run out quickly! Fortunately everyone in the group has some knowledge of survival, and someone to accomplish their tasks – YOU!
There are a few main areas of exploration you will encounter in the game: recipes, item creation, trading, exploration, hunting, fishing, and talking to other characters.
To get around the island you simply tap the place or direction you want to go and you will move there. If you want to talk to someone you tap on the person; if you want to interact with something you tap on it. The game is excellent at providing first-time tutorials, but you can bring them up again at any time if you feel lost.
When you interact with others you will notice that all of the lines are fully voiced. This is a great surprise, and the actors do a solid job bringing the game to life. The graphics and controls are similarly excellent – nothing technical intrudes on you having a great experience!
From the very start you are tasked by Mike, the de facto leader, to obtain resources in the form of food. You can find raw food like apples or kiwi which you can eat for energy, but you also come across crabs and boars you need to catch or kill … and need to cook before eating. This leads you to learn recipes. You start simple with a fish salad, then move to crab dishes, fruit salads and steak. Every recipe requires a number of resources in differing quantities, as well as some wood for the fire. Once completed the dish provides more health than the individual components, and can be traded for more currency as well!
Aside from making food, you will learn to create arrows for hunting. Unlike cooking which can be done at any fire, there is a single location to craft arrows. So while you will find resources thin early on it is worth stocking up on arrows as much as possible so you can more easily travel wherever you want.
The other thing that makes your life easier is trading. If you are diligent you will collect everything you can get as you roam around, make as many full meals, chop down trees, go fishing and hunting … and eventually be able to upgrade your tools. Upgrading your storage allows you to carry more stuff – which is the most essential thing you can do and should be your first upgrade.
Other upgrades make your life easier, allow you to do things quicker and allow you to preserve resources. For example, chopping down a tree takes about 10 whacks with the axe. Upgrading once reduces it to seven, and the second upgrade reduces it to five. Since each whack takes a certain amount of energy, you can go longer between eating by upgrading. The same is true with hunting, where eventually you can one-hit kill everything.
The story itself is very well done. Characters are interesting, and the developers did a great job of providing a main story that isn’t totally obvious so you want to finish the game to figure out what happens. Also, there are bronze, silver and gold awards for pretty much everything in the game, so you will want to keep on hunting and fishing and harvesting to get gold trophies to fill up your room.
There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t enjoy – voice acting was well done, music was enjoyable, the tasks made sense and were well paced, and the game itself was fun from start to finish. I spent a bunch of hours – because I was obsessive about getting gold trophies and about picking everything up that I found. It was a blast!
Review: The Island: Castaway
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