The Sims 2: Castaway (DS)
Hmm, the previous Sims 2 game on the DS I played, I wasn’t too impressed with. However, this one promised to be something different, so I thought, why not? It remained to be seen if it was worth the experience, or if the game should be… cast away.
The game is initially told through a visual novel type thing, which charts your Sim’s arrival at the island, although it is very short. Once you’re on the island, the story is told through four other Sims which you meet and have to do tasks for, although this can be accomplished very quickly. You do get a bit of backstory to the other Sims, but again, it’s told through pictures rather than text, and there isn’t much of it.
Beyond that, you’re only given the goal of escaping the island, and once that’s done, the game enters open play, where all that needs to be done is complete the collections and find every item, and possibly craft yourself the best shelter that you can.
Overall, the main meat of the game is very short, and it’s disappointing.
Okay, the main OST for this game is nothing amazing; the music has a slight “tropical” bouncy theme to it. It’s a bit repetitive however. Although, saying that, the sounds of the animals breaks it up slightly, and there is a shift in the music when the time changes from day to night, which stops it from being as bad as it could have been.
The Sims themselves speak in the standard babbling Simlish that would be expected from a handheld Sims game, and it’s the usual unintelligible mutters. However, it would be unusual if this changed, so that’s not too much of a bother.
After previous Sims games on the DS (Urbz, Sims 2), which looked to be straight ports from the GBA, I didn’t have high expectations for this game. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the graphics in this game were much improved on the older games.
The backgrounds to the areas were wonderfully detailed, and even though you couldn’t explore them, it did look as though there was depth to the areas, especially in the rain forest areas.
The characters however aren’t that detailed, I mean, okay you can easily enough identify each character, but owing to the size of the character models, that’s about it.
Some collectable items are also difficult to distinguish from the ground, either because the items aren’t that remarkable, or because of how small they are, or because they blend in well with the background, however, eventually they do get picked up.
There was no multiplayer option this game, that I’m aware of.
Honestly, I would say there was no challenge to this game, it was mainly a waiting game played with waiting for certain crafting materials to spawn in order to progress through the game. Most of the time, progression in this game felt like it was left to chance – yes, you need some nails in order to craft this one object in order to finish the current objective, but good luck with waiting for those nails to randomly show up in the spawn point for them!
There was a slight bit of challenge involved in having to take into account cleanliness of clothing, which impacted on the hygiene rating of your Sim, but this was fairly simple once the area to create new clothing was unlocked and the ability to wash clothing was available.
Overall, the game wasn’t particularly challenging, but then again, I never really expect the handheld Sims games to be so.
The gameplay is fairly standard for the handheld Sims games – you’re given one character to control, and tasked with keeping all eight motives up with what’s available. However, this game makes keeping on top of motives slightly harder as this time, rather than going to buy objects which are needed, for example, a bed for energy; you have to gather items in order to craft these objects.
This results in the game feeling more as if progress is dependent on what items you randomly obtain from the spawning areas each day – which is irritating. I’ve known a play through of this game to be done and over in a dozen in-game days, to taking a couple of hundred in-game days, all because I was at the mercy of the RNG.
Unlike the other handheld games, this game also forces you to take into consideration cleanliness of clothing, which impacts on the hygiene and comfort mood meters – this is all well and fine once you get to the stage in the game where you can unlock the item to clean clothing, or again, rely on the RNG for crafting new clothing. All quite irritating.
I will give the game, as far as the crafting side went, there must have been a couple of hundred different things to make, and there was definitely a good two hundred different objects to gather, which did appeal to me. However, collecting the items often feels like a chore depending on how lucky you are when it comes to the random spawning of items.
It’s a strange one, this. On one hand, I quite enjoy the crafting aspect of the game, and the collecting of items, and therefore I’m quite happy to play through the game for that. On the other hand, the randomness of the RNG does my head in; therefore I’d rather not pick the game up and have to deal with it…
I also think it’s a real shame that there aren’t more characters to meet in game – seriously, only something like five people on that ship which got wrecked? I think having more to do on the social side of things may have improved the replayability of this game.
Another thing which definitely impacts on this game is how brief the main game actually is, and how few quests there are to complete – if I’m going to replay a game, I’d rather have one I can spend some time on, not one which I got get through in the space of an afternoon.
Replay Value: 3
Pick it up for a brief spell, but ultimately, I think you’ll be finding that this game is better cast away.
Written by Karen