The GU iOS Game of the Week -- The Island: Castaway

The GU iOS Game of the Week -- The Island: Castaway

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 9th Mar 2012

The Island: Castaway

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The basic plot for The Island: Castaway is familiar to anyone who watched Lost on TV back in the day -- a transportation accident leaves a group of unique and different characters on a desert island that has a supernatural force present within it. In the case of Castaway the cast of characters also includes a village full of natives who present a mixture of help and hindrance, with the majority being friendly enough, but a few -- most notably the Shaman of the tribe -- being overtly hostile.

Your role in the game is mover and shaker, with the bulk of the tasks being yours to complete, like obtaining food by foraging, fishing, catching crabs, hunting for pigs and snakes, and planting and harvesting veggies, and of course you will be harvesting and collecting other items -- like pearls from shells on the shore, sticks for the cooking fire, and timber for making the things you and your fellow survivors will be needing... In fact there is a lot to do on this little island that is divided into distinct zones, but we will get to that in a moment...

While your first few tasks on the island involve finding and getting to know the other survivors and locating the tools and parts that you need to progressively improve your lot in life, there is something else going on -- a mystery -- and while you are not personally equipped to solve the brainier parts of it, you fortunately have a few allies among the survivors who are, including an anthropologist and a member of the Navaho tribe. Consider yourself lucky, because the mystery that you stumble upon is an interesting one, and solving it will take you all over the island.

A Little Hand's-on Gaming

The beauty of Castaway is that it contains plenty of low-time-impact actions that are instantly rewarding, so it can be played in tiny slices of time -- five or ten minutes here and there -- or it can be played in long and involved sessions, and still deliver a measure of quality and entertainment that is rare enough in app games to be worthy of notice.

The game begins with a cinematic series of cut scenes that set up the events that end up sinking your ship, leaving you washed up in a beach and having a dream sequence that provides a little foreshadowing, and then you wake up. What comes next is learning how to play, as the game progresses through a basic tutorial system that quickly teaches the gamer how to use the different tools as they are acquired, during which they also get a taste of the mystery that they need to solve if they want to get off of the island alive...

Play in this app game is neatly divided between your efforts to solve the mystery and the process of survival and seeing to your own needs as well as those of the castaways whose leader you have become. This is made easier by your efforts in expanding your relationship with the local natives, who are willing to trade with you for unique food items that you create, and for the pearls you find -- or earn by trading food items as well as doing favors for the tribe. The tribe merchants not only sell you tools that you need, but offer you upgraded versions as well.

Upgrading your tools is useful since every action you complete in the game takes away from your stamina, which you refill by eating, so the higher your efficiency is in completing the different chores and tasks you must complete, the less effort you have to put out in harvesting, gathering, fishing, and cooking.

The basic structure of the game is split into three basic themes -- the first being a goal-oriented system of unlocking capabilities by finding, making, and acquiring tools, made up of a series of quests you perform for your fellow castaways, followed by the discovery of the natives and a series of quests that you complete for them, and finally settles into the solving of the underlying mystery, which becomes the focus of the final third of the game.

The Island: Castaway ends up being a fun romp through a Lost-like adventure that, while it will not leave you confused and wondering what you should do next, being well-driven and easily mastered, still offers enough of a challenge to the player and keeps the quests and missions to the sort of bite-sized chunks that are ideal for casual play, making this one a golden app for most mobile gamers.

We give The Island: Castaway a solid Two Thumb's Up!

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