Review for PSP - Sims 2: Castaway
Sims 2: Castaway is yet another version of the popular strategy game from Maxis.
The storyline is both brilliant and simple. A group of sight-seeing tourists are
stranded on a deserted island after a storm sinks their ship. Most players,
clearly of a younger generation, liken Sims 2: Castaway to the television show
"Lost" or Tom Hanks' movie Castaway. Players over thirty immediately recognize
this as a video game version of "Gilligan's Island", right down to creating
things from coconuts.
The graphics are familiar to anyone who has played a Sims game before: more than
adequate, if a bit rough and at times choppy. Visibility can be a problem as the
camera angle moves, and some of the special objects aren't so much difficult to
collect as hard to find due to poor visibility. Options in creating your Sims
crew members are moderately varied, however the graphics aren't clear and
detailed enough to use the options to best effect. One Sim will look pretty much
like the next, only with a different hair color. Even so, the graphics have a
familiar Sims feel to them and are more than enough to assist the game along.
Game play is significantly different from other Sims games. Collecting and
managing friends is a big part of play in Sims. Sims 2: Castaway still has a
social motive which needs to be filled, but players spend much more of their
time concerned with locating and gathering resources. This is half the fun. In
Sims 2: Castaway, players get to fish, climb palm trees, hack through bamboo
stands with stone machetes and dive for clams. Resources thus accumulated are
then used to build bigger and better mouse traps - actually, fish traps, plus
huts for shelter, assorted furnishings, stoves on which to cook and small
watercraft to provide transport to and from the game's islands. By far the
biggest portion of game play is spent collecting resources with which to
maintain and improve the characters' survival.
The player's Sims characters still have motives which must be filled in order to
keep the Sim happy, just like in the other Sims games. Amusingly, players fill
social motives early in the game by making chummy with chimps, or imaginary
friends built from sand and coconuts. Later in play the Sim will meet up with
the rest of their crew members - players can make up to six Sims per game - but
those are the only people on the islands. The Sims can't sleep out in the
weather so players must build shelters, lest their Sim drop from exhaustion when
a hurricane blows through the game's island chain.
The Sims' inability to sleep with rain driving in their faces is part of the
goofy "realism" which adds one more fun layer to the game play. The clothes a
character is wearing when shipwrecked tear and fall apart with time and
exertion, and must be replaced with clothing made on the island from materials
at hand. A character who doesn't replace their clothes will wear nothing but
ragged loincloth-like remnants after a time. Men grow impressively shaggy beards
and hair, which can be styled back to a more civilized look.
The game has a few frustrating aspects. The load screen which pops up as a Sim
travels from one part of the island to the next is cute the first few times, but
after that it's simply tiresome and takes too long. The game has a tendency to
freeze in the midst of play, and if it doesn't resume on its own then players
must simply restart from their last save, potentially losing lots of play. A Sim
character can also just lock up. The other characters will obey directions as
normal but the frozen Sim will neither move nor follow commands, not even to
eat. Eventually the frozen Sim starves to death. The set-up for a new game takes
far too long, akin to watching a slow web page load up.
Sims 2: Castaway is a refreshing take on the Sims franchise, and fun both on its
own merits and when compared to more traditional Sims strategy games. Despite
the flaws in the system, and a lack of depth, Sims 2: Castaway earns four out of
five stars for fantastic game play.
- Fun game for teens.
- Fantastic gameplay.
- Reasonably challenging.
- Freezing, some long cut scenes.
- Lack of depth
For more information, user reviews, or to buy:
The Sims 2: Castaway
Reviewed: February 2009