It seems as though iWin has been on a winning streak with its recent releases. After the entertaining Kelly Green: Garden Queen only two weeks ago, Coconut Queen turns out to be the first game that can really compete with Build-a-lot in every respect.

The player fills the role of the new queen of a beautiful but not so peaceful island in the Pacific. Supported by your eager assistant, Kane, your task is to satisfy the needs of your home company CoCoCo in order to create a resort that fulfills every dream of any tourist, and to avoid disturbing the natural beauty of the island. Coconut Queen features a campaign with a mouth-watering 55 levels, as well as a freeplay mode for the six different locations.

In every level you have to fulfill several goals, some of which only appear later on as an additional challenge. These goals range from upgrading a certain number of buildings, reaching a specific account balance, providing your resort with a high amount of rental or commercial income to appeal-numbers that you have to fulfill, to name but a few. Of course the main task in Coconut Queen is to build, build, build, and you have a vast number of objects and buildings that you can place on your island.

Rental buildings include Cabanas, Cottages, Hotels and pompous Palaces. For commercial buildings there are a Water Sports Store, a Market, a Buffet, a Seafood Restaurant or a Water Pak. Finally you can install so-called outdoor goods on your island, which positively affect the appeal of surrounding buildings. These can be pretty trees, bushes and palms, as well as more sophisticated objects like a large Greenhouse, an eccentric Hot Tub, or a Public Pool.

What’s really amazing about Coconut Queen is that the game successfully combines the mechanics of Build-a-lot with the flair and the freedom of building anywhere you want to from titles like Be Rich!, Many Years Ago or Virtual Villagers. Due to this, every island you visit throughout the campaign can be customized to your own liking, since there are no restricted lots.

Cutting wood and salvaging buildings provides you with extra materials, and inhabitants or tourists will sometimes join your crew as additional workers, while certain misfortunes will force you to pay refunds to harmed or dissatisfied visitors.

As if those unexpected events and the bonus goals would not be exciting and distracting enough, each stage features unique catastrophes which you have to consider and resolve. This can be sudden earthquakes or monsoons which damage your buildings, angry monkeys who bother your generously paying tourists, or sharks, which your workers have to shoo away to calm down the visitors. All these individual catastrophes and problems are nicely integrated into a larger storyline.

Coconut Queen bursts with quirky and little ideas, such as the butterflies that slow down your workers (and are not as sweet as they look), or the crabs that crawl all over your islands. Both the butterflies and the crabs can be clicked by the player to be caught, resulting in $1, respectively $5 apiece. These little animals, along with natural forces and an increasing number of amusing tourists create an extremely engaging, cute and lively atmosphere, from which it is hard to break away.

Another wonderful feature of the game is variety of convincing upgrades. Each time when you finish a level you are rewarded with a gem, which you can then invest at one of the three shops, or place on paths on the island map to reach new locations. Including the paths there are nearly 25 different upgrades, and in contrast to a lot of other games they remarkably affect the gameplay, and the order in which the player activates those upgrades is of equal importance and consequence.

If you want to know the negative aspects of Coconut Queen, you will get a very short answer. Some players might dislike that there is no untimed mode for the campaign, and during the frantic parts of the harder levels it can become difficult to find the right buildings quickly, due to the size of the map and the comparatively small size of some buildings.

Other than that, Coconut Queen is an ambitious, humorous and wonderful game, which is worth a try for every gamer, no matter of his or her general preferences. The game scores top grades in story, graphics, length, variety, innovation and the level of difficulty, and there is not much more anyone can ask for. Visit the lovely, yet slightly chaotic island and meet the angry monkey today!

For similar games, try Build-a-lot 4: Power Source, Wonderburg, or Plan it Green.