Game: Castaway Paradise
Genre: Adventure, Education, Simulation, Lifestyle
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, PS4, Xbox One & iOS)
Developers | Publishers: Rokaplay
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU €19,99
Release Date: April 29th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Rokaplay
Originally conceived as a Facebook game in 2014, Castaway Paradise was then released on mobile and Steam back in 2015. Come 2018 the game was released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Now, seven years after it made its debut in the gaming world, it’s the turn of the Nintendo Switch to host the game. But has time been kind to Castaway Paradise? Let’s find out.
The main idea of the day is that you’re on a deserted island after being trapped in a storm in your boat, in the middle of the raging ocean. Yep, you’ve been basically shipwrecked. You land on an island, which becomes your home. If you’ve ever played an Animal Crossing game, you’ll know what to expect. Collecting fruit, catching fish and insects and donating them to the local museum are your main gathering activities.
You can play as either a male or female character, after being washed up on shore you meet the mayor of the island, a pig named Viktoria. Then you are immediately taken into a very simplistic tutorial. After that it’s on to the main island to go about your business as you see fit.
Explore and do Basic Tasks
You’ll start performing some basic tasks, like picking up litter, until the game tells you you’re ready to strike out on your own. Then you’ll be performing more complex quests for the island’s anthropomorphic residents to earn some money, items, and experience.
Earning experience will unlock even more items for purchase, and there is plenty of items on offer. Each level gained opens a huge number of customisable objects such as clothes, seeds and furniture. The clothes and the furniture are all cosmetic. But offering such a large selection means there is something for everyone.
Live in a Tent
Castaway Paradise offers you a tent for free at the very beginning of the game and allows you to upgrade into a house. A house which you can add furniture to and customise by adding wallpaper and flooring. You also are upgrading a few other buildings on the island by repairing them. After all, the homes on the island were damaged in the storm too that ravaged the island and made you a castaway in the first place.
Quests range from a simple fetch quest, particularly in the first couple of hours, to quests asking you to grow a few crops for them. Crops which are not cheap to buy the seeds for I will add. The quests aren’t always the most engaging. But with a game like this, you don’t have to complete them all in one go and can instead focus on other things such as picking weeds or smashing rocks. Along with the quest to complete, there are also daily objectives available to finish as well.
You can also grow a large variety of flowers as well as many different fruit trees and you can collect shells that wash up on the seashore. There are trophies for collecting all of these, as well as every flower, every crop and every fruit. You can collect shells, bugs and such and donate them to the island’s museum. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Especially if you have played Animal Crossing, as a lot of the games activities are the same, only on a smaller scale.
Carry on Working
In the mobile version of Castaway Paradise, you had to wait for stamina or water to recharge to be able to use your tools such as the watering can. Or have to buy a premium currency to increase their maximum uses and speed up recharge times. Of course, in the Switch version, you can carry on working with the tools till your heart’s content, as there isn’t a recharge time at all.
Much of the rest of the game still operates through timers. As it can take an hour for your newly planted tree to grow and bear fruit. You will have to wait a few minutes for your freshly planted flower patch to bloom. While you do have the option of harvesting your crops early, you don’t get as much yield as you would for holding out. At first, these timers may seem stifling, but before long, you’re filling the gaps with other activities.
Unlock all areas
Extra areas on the island can be unlocked by collecting Puzzle Pieces, 9 for each area. You can get them as a reward for completing some of the quests. But don’t expect to rush through the game as everything takes time to complete including opening up the other areas of the island.
Castaway Paradise currency is Gems, you get them for completing quests and such. The game also offers you the chance to invest in the bank in the form of stocks. When the stock market is on a good turn, your investments will gradually turn into profit. It’s a nice little added bonus of cash for the ongoing investments you need to raise to improve your island as most items cost a lot of gems to purchase.
Visual and Controls
Castaway Paradise has a bright and colourful cartoony look with block-like characters which are kinda similar to Minecraft characters. The music is quite cheery and chirpy, but it does get repetitive extremely quickly.
The game controls work fine, I didn’t encounter any problems controlling the game. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for how the game runs on the Switch. The frame rate jitters and the game pauses for a second or so as your moving across the islands at times. It is not massively noticeable and it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the game, but it is there.
Castaway Paradise is a great time sink, it is very easy to spend an hour or two just mulling around the islands. Catching a few fish, pulling out some weeds or just tending to your crops.
Gameplay that will appeal to most gamers, especially those that have played Animal Crossing. The Switch is a good home for the game as the portability of the switch would be great for checking in for the daily rewards in Castaway Paradise on a commute to work.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot