Reviewed: April 22, 2010
Released: April 16, 2010
App Store Price: $.99
Since gamers are typically stereotyped as lonely losers I’m surprised there aren’t more dating game than there are. For some, these games are as close to the opposite sex as their players will ever get. Games like the DOA Extreme Volleyball explore girl on girl fantasies set in a lush island paradise with relations based on gift giving and knowledge of your partner.. Then you have the simpler text-based games like Sprung for the DS that explore the complex social lives of college age kids on a ski vacation. And now comes iParadise, the latest experiment in Venus vs. Mars dynamics.
The premise is simple. Purchase two tickets for you and your honey and head off to some fantastic island resort then try to keep him or her happy for as long as possible. If you think this sounds easy then you’ve never been in a real relationship because this game perfectly models and recreates the pure insanity that makes up the female species. I’ve spent hours and days with this game and have never gotten past the third day. Usually by day two my significant other is desperately trying to kill me either through exhaustion, hunger, or low morale.
iParadise is a turn-based game whereas you make a decision on a particular activity and your partner can either agree or suggest an alternative, with which you are forced to agree. Then they make a decision and you can either agree or suggest something else. Obviously, agreeing with your partner help seal the romantic bond whereas repeated contradiction will split you apart.
There is a rather complex stats system in place that ultimately determines if you are going to make the relationship permanent or ditch the crazy bitch and run home to mom. You have hunger and fatigue that can be controlled by eating and resting. Doing any of the other island activities will deplete these resources by various amount as dictated by your current mood, which is indicated by a very nice color-coded voodoo mask in opposing corners of the screen that either smiles or frowns. You also have to manage your love and impression variables and keep those as high as possible. Your overall mood dictates the value of smaller variables generated by each activity.
The game is broken down into days and as you choose activities the clock will tick away until it’s time to go to bed, assuming you even got out of bed. Yes, “Making Love” is an option and 8 times in one day is my current record. Where’s the leaderboard for that? But there are so many other exciting, realistic and even interactive things to do in your quest to make your partner happy.
Obviously eating is required at least once a day, either breakfast, dinner, or even a romantic dinner if you are lucky. You can go to the spa, try some deep sea fishing, or head to the beach were you can swing in a hammock (tilt iPhone), swim, or even go windsurfing (blow into mic). You can chill at your bungalow where you can fly a kite (blow into mic), rock in a chair to relax (tilt iPhone), shower, or if you are there at night, take a moonlight swim to boost that love meter or even use the telescope to star gaze and get some interactive info on real-life constellations.
You can also jet ski, take a helicopter tour, play golf, tennis, or go scuba diving in a side scrolling adventure where you can tap on marine life and get encyclopedic info. Just keep in mind that all these activities drain your physical resources as well as your monetary ones. It’s a careful balancing act of trying to anticipate what your mate wants and in my case, not allowing her to kill me.
Sadly, there are a few quirks in the programming that make the game hard if not impossible to win. By day two my psycho girlfriend was disagreeing with every choice I made, even when I was choosing events based on our stats. Our hunger would be at zero and I’d say “let’s eat” and she’d say, “no, let’s play golf”, and then our stats would all crash into the red zone and she’d tell me off and run back to her mom. I’ve played over 40 games so far and all but two of them have ended with her sabotaging the vacation and leaving. The other two I managed to leave her first.
Despite the improbability of me ever winning this game it sure is fun to try and see how far I can get. The various activities are as fun and realistic to the scenario and there is a lot of iPhone specific functionality included in the game. The graphics are really well done, nice designs, colorful backgrounds and impersonal silhouette characters. The sounds are excellent with cool island music and all sorts of environmental effects. iParadise doesn’t discriminate against alternate lifestyles allowing gay and lesbian couples to vacation together. Even the sex is tastefully done with two inflatable pink hearts getting it on.
This is quite simply the best $1 you can spend on your iPhone or iPad Touch. The possibilities for fun and exploration and hidden surprises are limitless. I can only hope they release an enhanced version for the iPad version soon. Until then I'll be trying to satisfy my woman in iParadise.