LifeisXbox’s Castaway Paradise review | I only recently got the chance to review Cozy Grove, and here I am again with an Animal Crossing- like game! Castaway Paradise, developed by Dutch studio Stolen Couch Games, first released as a game on Facebook back in 2014. Soon after, versions for iOs, Android, and Steam were made available. The popular consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 followed a few years later. Another three years later, the Nintendo Switch is finally getting its own Castaway Paradise release today!
Looking back on the previous releases, Castaway Paradise has received some mixed reviews. While Steam players are fairly positive about the game, others are less excited. The overall Metacritic score stands at 66% for team Xbox, and 46% for team PlayStation. Let’s see how I feel about playing Castaway Paradise as part of team Switch!
We played Castaway Paradise for 5 hours on the Nintendo Switch. This game is also available on iPhone, Android, Steam, Xbox One, and PS4.
What we liked!
- Gameplay | I have to admit that the gameplay is quite simple and it’s definitely nothing groundbreaking, but it definitely has its charm. As I mentioned in my intro, this is an Animal Crossing-like game, and I’m just all for those types of titles! You can basically do what you want and decorate the island you’re on to your own taste. You also have your own little house that you can gradually expand. I absolutely loved decorating my place; from the cutest wallpaper to adding silly items in all my rooms. Your house will also get cobwebs, just like in real life! It’s a small detail but I appreciate that you have to look after your house if you want to keep it clean. The same goes for the island by the way; you better get rid of those weeds every now and then! The rest of the gameplay is pretty standard for these types of games: you can go fishing, catch bugs, grow various things, or help other islanders with their quests, which will earn you items and puzzle pieces. Getting puzzle pieces was a tad more difficult though (which I liked!) because you needed those to open up interconnected and new parts of the island.
- Real-time growing | This might be a controversial opinion because I know some people are dead against it, while others are total advocates. Growing flowers, vegetables, fruit on trees, and so on takes time; like real-time. A little countdown will appear above whatever you planted (after you’ve watered it, of course), indicating how much time it needs to grow. Some things will only take 5 minutes, while others require a bit longer so you’ll have to wait for several hours. I really like real-time growing because it makes sure the game keeps me coming back for more.
- Features worth mentioning | Besides everything I’m mentioning in this review, there are also some small, yet important features I feel are worth a mention, just in short. First of all, the game saves automatically, no need to save your progress when you’re done for the day! Second, Castaway Paradise offers special events and celebrations, for example when Christmas or Easter. If you’re a daily player, you’ll get rewards each day, with bigger rewards on day 3 and day 6.
- Graphics | As you can tell from the screenshots, the graphics are mediocre. They have a certain charm to them, but they feel very basic, and thus could not entirely convince me. I did, however, enjoy the bright and lively colors that were used. And I was very happy to see that my character had tons of choices when it came to outfitting choices. Some are very basic, while others fun, there is definitely something for everyone there.
- Sound | Somehow, I feel like all games in this genre have the same kind of supporting soundtrack? I mean, it’s never totally the same, but they definitely provide a familiar feeling every time. So even though Castaway Paradise has a good soundtrack, it lacks originality. It also got a little repetitive after a little while.
- Town Hall | So, at the town hall you can make some money (gems in-game), which I really liked. There are two ways to make money here: the stock market and depositing gems. I very much enjoyed purchasing and selling stocks, which you can do for three products: accoleles (accordion-ukeleles), apples, and stocks for the northern hemisphere. As in real life, you best buy them when they are low, and then wait for prices to go up. I. liked checking in on my stocks every now and then, and selling them when I earned a profit. The depositing and withdrawing of gems were where I got confused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super easy to do: you leave a certain amount of gems at the bank, and after a certain amount of time, you withdraw them with a profit. However, the deals didn’t make sense. For a ‘Quick Casher’, you pay 100 gems and in return, you get 50% more after 5 minutes. You also have the ‘Easy Earner’ where you pay 2000 gems, wait 6 hours, and earn 30% more. Last, there is the ‘Big Bucks’, which requires you to leave behind 5000 gems and in return, you get a 20% profit after 24 hours. It just doesn’t make sense to me that you get a lower percentage after waiting a longer time? Why would I put away 5000 and only get 20% more AND wait 24 hours, when making 100 gems into 150 gems only takes 5 minutes?
What we disliked
- Camera | You cannot change the point of view from the camera, and this was so very annoying! The only thing you can you is zoom in or out. Honestly, I just want to be able to look at my pretty little island from different perspectives. I guess because of the mobile feel this game was giving me (I’ll get there in a second), it just felt even more frustrating that I could not rotate the camera.
- Can’t shake the mobile feel | It’s just a little too obvious that Castaway Paradise was originally a mobile game. First of all, the graphics immediately reminded me of the Facebook games I used to play. Second, the interface is a dead giveaway. I also feel like the VIP status that you reach once you get to level 15, is some leftover from a pay-to-play option. Even though I’m really glad that there are no micro-transactions in Castaway Paradise, the mobile feeling kept lurking in the back.
- Bugs | Unfortunately, I also ran into bugs sometimes. I don’t know what exactly happened, but every now and then (I think this happened like 3 times so far), the game just totally froze and I couldn’t do anything anymore. This usually happened when accessing my inventory/quests/store tabs. I couldn’t click anything, couldn’t go back, just had to close the game entirely and start it up again.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂