Elven strategy goodness inside.
Females everywhere take a sharp intake of breath.
You hear a lot of people say that if they won a shed load of cash on the lottery, they would purchase their own tropical island to live on. What they probably mean is some kind holiday resort set up minus the other plebs, rather than the one you encounter in The Island: Castaway 2.
In the original Castaway, you were part of a shipwrecked group who encountered the locals. In the sequel the roles are reversed (but with a different bunch of characters) and you control young Yati, a member of the island tribe. Yati is placed on a quest to become a New Man amid him experiencing strange visions. As part of this rite of passage, Yati will learn numerous skills including hunting, cooking and even sorcery.
The mechanics of the game are 100% identical to that of the original title, so if you played that you’ll feel instantly at home. Yati must collect copious amounts of the fruit, herbs, wood and animal carcasses scattered liberally around the island in order to create food to eat or to use in the many fetch and bring mini-quests. To do this you simply tap on the item lying on the ground and Yati will hoover them up in order.
This is where the game will either become addictively absorbing, or will have to holding down the icon ready to hit the delete button. For me, I found it very compulsive to just wander around filling my man-bag with as many items as little Yati’s back could carry. However, others may see this as nothing more than a form of ‘grinding’ to artificially lengthen the game and take a not unreasonable dislike to it.
The collecting of items becomes even more important once trading is opened up fairly early into the game. Essentially, you can sell any of the items you’ve collected in exchange for pearls. You can then spend pearls either on the same stall and purchase other items you require and can’t be bothered running around for, or more likely on the upgrades to your tools. Each upgrade of your various tools – man bag, digging tool, bow, fishing line and axe – assists in making the relevant tasks easier and thus use up less energy.
Yati has the metabolism of a growing teenager and will require feeding up after pretty much before, during and after every task you get him to perform. You will learn recipes throughout the story so as to create meals that give higher levels of energy replenishment. But the constant need to feed is yet another reason to try and quickly upgrade your tools! It’s worthwhile spending 15 minutes wandering around the shoreline catching crabs (or multipedes as they are called in the game) selling them for a large sum of pearls and then blowing them all on an upgrade or two.
The storyline is a quite interesting as you follow Yati on his path to becoming a man of the tribe along with discovering about his past and the island is a pretty enough place to spend hours wandering around. With how the story is constructed, it’s also pleasing to say that you don’t feel like Yati is just the skivvy running around doing stuff for people too lazy to do it for themselves - as was very much the case for Tom in the original! However, the heavily repeated nature of tasks may soon grow tiresome, especially as there are apparently 300 tasks to complete. One other slight gripe to mention is the once again quite hideously long initial loading time. When a game takes so long to load that the screen switches off, it’s taking too long! As mentioned previously, it’s a title you will either become hooked on fairly quickly, or have you wondering why on earth you are wasting your time. I personally found it a lot of fun but I wouldn’t call you a heretic if you were to have the complete opposite opinion. At least with G5 Entertainment’s policy of making games free to trial you can have a quick go and see what you think.