The Island - Castaway|
Iíll preface this by saying that I donít use my iPhone for much gaming. As a serious gaming platform the iMerch just doesnít stand up to a purpose built machine. My opinion is thatís like playing God of War on a PC . . . sure, I imagine you could do it, but why? The Island: Castaway did nothing to change my mind. What it did do was remind me of all the terrible B-movies Iíve watched in my life, ah nostalgia ...or is that toast burning? It also represents a low point in gaming, that of commodity over quality. Thatís always been lurking about the edges of the industry to be sure, but itís never been so obvious as the iStore and Facebook have made it.
So the interface of the iPhone leaves you with exactly one input: poke the screen. Poke it over here to collect that fruit. Poke it over there to chop down that tree. Poke it over there to shoot an arrow at a boar. Poke it over there to run to that spot. There is the variation of poking, the hold your finger down, but really, thatís only for advanced players. Wouldnít want to challenge anyone. Here is where I would drop some plot on you, if there were any. Take Gilliganís Island, make the characters more two dimensional, take away even the vaguest ideas of storytelling, internal consistency, or ďactingĒ and youíre beginning to approach this game.
This, like every other game from Farmville on down to the rat pushing a button for a treat, is simply a stimulation of your brainís pleasure center. Sure this one has some window dressing, but itís the barest minimum necessary. Iím embarrassed to think people actually put their name on this. So run around and collect tools and fruit and hunt some animals and...thatís it. There is no real challenge to this game. You just repeat the steps given and collect the rewards.
Itís always a surprise to see game graphics on my phone. It shouldnít be, I mean the thing can play videos, surf the web, etc, etc, just for some reason I always have a ďWow, itís impressive they did this on my phoneĒ moment. That being said the game looks. . .ok? Itís trapped somewhere in between NES and Super NES level visuals, which seems to be about par for iOS games. The chapter images they got together are actually good, but thatís more a compliment to the artist than anything the graphics department did technically.
The voice acting in this game is the aural equivalent of someone smacking you in the face with a fish. Not the satisfying ďThwack!Ē, but the slimy residue and bruising. Unfortunately you donít get the concussion either. The characters in this game are the most stereotyped of archetypes. Actually calling them archetypes is a misnomer as it assumes they are anything other than stereotypes slapped together over pieces of cardboard. The voices are just as clichťd. It really makes you want to punch a game developer in the nuts.
I beat this in about five hours, so at $4.99 youíre looking at about a $1 per hour in value. As a rate of return thatís good (as a gut calculation I think the average console game gives you about 40 hours of content for $60), though to be honest I think I would rather take that $5 and go pay a bum to poke me in the eye for ten minutes. Save your $5 for a coffee or a deserving bum with thick fingers. These developers donít warrant the encouragement.