• Marion Choufa

Review: Castaway Paradise

Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

Publisher: Stolen Couch Games

Developer: Stolen Couch Games

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Castaway Paradise claims to be like Animal Crossing, and technically it is true... But is it really on the same level as Animal Crossing? Let’s find out!

Castaway Paradise is a gentle life simulator developed and published by Stolen Couch Games. The game has been around for quite a while now. It initially launched as a Facebook game in 2014, the came out on PC in 2015 and launched on PS4 and Xbox One in 2018. The latest addition was the Nintendo Switch version that was released in April 2021.

You play a boy or a girl who shipwrecked on an island filled with anthropomorphic animals. Shortly after you regained consciousness, you are greeted by Viktoria, a pig who is also the mayor of the island. Your first mission: introducing yourself to some of the island’s inhabitants. Quickly you understand what’s your purpose here: to be everyone’s errand boy/girl. That’s basically the gist of the game.

Of course, chores and fetch quests are not the only things that you can do on the island. You can rebuild your house, plant trees, buy stuff go fishing and bugs hunting... just like Animal Crossing.

So why am I not impressed by the game? Well, it’s like Animal Crossing but definitely nowhere near as good. The game borrows a lot of characteristics and features that made its Japanese counterpart so famous. It even tries to implement new features such as quests, rewards and daily missions that push you to come back regularly. However, for someone like me who played and loved Animal Crossing, that’s not enough...

And that’s where Castaway Paradise’s main weakness is. The game claims to be like Animal Crossing (but cheaper, not only in terms of price) so it makes sense that most of the people who purchased the game are fans of Animal Crossing or looking for a cheaper alternative and are looking for the same quality. Sadly, it is not there and I’m sure many people ended up like me, very disappointed.

Some important features that play a major role in that kind of game are absents. There is no night-time, nor are there any seasons. Thus, the fauna and flora availability remain the same throughout the game.

As you unlock the different parts of the island, you’ll meet the rest of the inhabitants. However, they aren't going anywhere. They won’t threaten you to leave and you won’t get other new neighbours. It’s sad because, these critters don’t really add anything interesting apart from talking a lot and waving at you every time they see you.

Another downside is that there are no real incentives to build or expand your house. In Animal Crossing, one of the main objectives is to make money in order to upgrade your house and get new rooms. Here, you get a tent as a starter which turns out to be pretty huge inside. A villa inside a tent, really? Are we in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? The only thing you can do is to unlock rooms that are already there. It kind of feels like you need to be on the VIP list to go into your own bathroom...

In terms of visuals, you probably noticed that “round” is not a thing here. Not really the type of visuals that I like, but it’s a personal opinion. I’m sure other people don’t mind it. Still, it really felt like it hasn't changed much from the Facebook game it started as.

To conclude, Castaway Paradise wasn’t really my cup of tea. You quickly unveil what is has to offer and I’m surprised that some people have deemed it as “addictive”... Yes, it is cheaper than Animal Crossing, but you get what you pay for.