It wasn’t that long ago when building games like King’s Paradise Bay were as plentiful as coconuts on a stereotypical desert island. Building your own tropical getaway was as easy as downloading the latest Hawaiian-flavored FarmVille clone.
At some point, the genre’s warm, fecund waters were over-fished, and building games appear on the digital marketplace far less frequently as a result. Frankly, Paradise Bay’s most noteworthy trait is that it’s a rarity in today’s market, and that’s definitely good news for people who enjoy the genre – or have been feeling nostalgic for it lately.
But nostalgia aside, Paradise Bay also does a decent job of standing up on its own, even if it’s short on original ideas.
The game casts you as a trader (not to be confused with “traitor”) who’s been tasked with reviving a tired island economy. In order to do so, you need to grow, build, fish, and cook to meet your new friends’ demands. Whenever you manage to deliver on their requests, they reward you with money, experience, and items that go back into expanding your island and its economy.
Paradise Bay is an enjoyable game thanks in part to its brisk pace, as well as the fact it gives you lots to do. Selling starts with raw materials; for instance, you grow cotton to make nets, which are used to catch fish (with the help of some friendly turtles), which can be grilled and otherwise added to dishes that bring in big money from the island’s denizens.
The islanders’ requests are endless, which helps keep you on your toes. Completing tasks listed on the checklist feels pretty good, even if whatever you clear away is replaced with another task in short order. But cleaning up requests also brings you closer to the island’s occupants, which is how you receive particularly useful rewards like items and tools that go towards expansion.
But despite Paradise Bay’s sparkling graphics, fun characters (cats and seagulls craft things for you!), and attempts to keep you busy, it’s still a free-to-play building game and comes with all the ages-old trappings of the genre. Wait times can be agonizing unless you spend hard currency (gems) to move things forward. Said gems are scarce, though you’re rewarded for unlocking achievements. Still, the sums you receive are paltry; it’s obvious King intends for you to buy into a bundle or three.
To be fair, you just might wind up making a purchase. Paradise Bay isn’t extremely special excepting its rarity in this new age of mobile gaming, but even if it isn’t paradise, it’s a pleasant island to pass the time on.