Farmville fans who play Meteor Game’s Island Paradise may find themselves in familiar territory. Instead of a farm in the middle of nowhere, however, players find themselves on a peaceful island with the tranquility of the ocean waves putting their stressful workday jitters to rest, if only for a few minutes here and there.
At first glance, you are placed onto a small island that’s looking pretty barren. But through gaining XP and harvesting your crops, options to expand your island will become available. One of the main goals in doing so is accumulating coins. During gameplay, items like tree branches and shells will wash up on the sands earning you more XP. Aside from planting crops, fruit and trees are also available when the proper amount of XP has been accumulated. This is where the players focus must be harnessed. Though the fruit on the trees planted will not expire, the crops will. Each crop has a certain amount of time it will take in order to come to fruition. This helps when planning out your next visit to Paradise Island, as you can plant crops based on the next time you think you’ll be available to come back online to harvest them. Do this long enough and more items like flowers will become available for harvesting too. Like others in the same genre, Paradise Island wants you back, again and again. The more you come back to the island, the more you won’t be able to leave (pardon the cheesy Lost reference).
As your levels increase and you’re able to plant more types of crops, decorations and gifts to share with your friends will also pop into play. This is a great way to keep what can sometimes be a repetitive process, fresh. With the amount of preferences and player control, I was amazed how entertained the game felt days in, with only a small island at my fingertips. To add to the experience, networking and inviting friends to join you as your neighbor will help both of you. Harvesting, selling, or even stealing crops from each others islands, helps to gain coins and XP. Kudos to the easy navigation Meteor Games gave to the interface. It makes for an easy entrance for players that are familiar with these styled games, as well as inexperienced newcomers. Tutorials explain the game and within seconds you’re able to plant your first crops or construct your avatar to your liking.
Island Paradise offers more than just planting and harvesting crops. The in game store dons items like flags, chairs, and other decorative additions players can use to spice up their island. Visiting other player’s islands also helps to show how much is available to that once bare island you found yourself on, with one issue. These additions have you playing for some time until they become available to you and your island. A way to help players motivate to play further or hinder their progression through frustration. Aside from decorative items, the store offers useful items to help players gain more XP. For example, a cooking pot will help to make food you can sell for more coins. Creativity of the tools and items at hand will have everyone’s island looking and working differently, making those visiting trips even more exciting.
Meteor Games has learned a bit from other similarly styled harvesting games and incorporated it wisely. Though Island Paradise doesn’t bring anything too new to the table, the calming vacation like sensation the island brings, mixed with an easily adaptable interface, makes for a welcomed addition to this genre.