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The Sims 2: Castaway Review

Sadly missing a smiling, punctured volleyball

There aren't too many games where you half expect Wilson The Volleyball to show up and give you your next objective but then again, there aren't too many games where you're asked to befriend a chimp. That's the beauty of The Sims 2: Castaway. The Sims might be sagging around the edges and drooping in unsightly places with old age but by adding sand, the Sims team has found a way of reinventing an old favourite.

You start off by finding yourself shipwrecked on a desert island and you're then left to fend for yourself. You start by eating clams and building campfires but soon move up to fishing, joining a tribe and sending out SOS signals to potential rescuers. It has all the desert island clichés you'd expect; you'll build a raft to get to new islands, cobble together new clothing with vines and leaves and shimmy up a coconut tree to get food.

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Yet, because shipwreck games are rarely ever done, it feels fresh and interesting, even when under the surface the same old Sims core of having to keep your hunger, health and happiness under control are in place. As always, it's about spinning plates - trying to meet your objectives while keeping your Sim content. It's surprisingly addictive and the new surroundings mean that even those who have been here many times before over the years will want to get stuck in again. This isn't so much about filling your virtual life with distractions but building up your virtual life from scratch.

Island In The Sun

Castaway also benefits from the Remote. Rather than getting bogged down in menu after menu, you can use the Nunchuk to move your character around and the Remote to zip through the menus. The result is more time eating coconuts and hugging monkeys, less time wrestling with menus and swearing as you go to the toilet rather than pick up driftwood.

True, it's little more than The Sims on the beach. But The Sims is pretty good and hey, so is the beach. So while we can't ignore the fact that it is yet more Sims and are a little annoyed by the weak graphics on show, the underlying fact is that it's just a damn good game and that's more than enough for us.

Comments

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  1. fisher2007 Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 03:11

    I don't know who in EA is responsible for bug testing on the Wii, but apparently they did miss a few quite annoying ones. (PC SIMS players are familiar with this phenomenon.)

    I own the PAL version, so maybe it's related to this one.
    Three bugs I encountered in the 10+ hours I played so far.
    1. Changing sims causes the action of the previous sim to be displayed, and can be confusing when you try to cancel the action (not possible anyway)
    2. Building a hut close to an interactive object on the ground can cause the object to become useless and you'll be unable to remove it unless you destroy the hut first.
    3. The arrow disappears for no reason, which causes you to navigate through the menus like a blind person. The only way of dealing with that is to use the 1 button on your Wiimote, use the nunchuck to navigate to "save & quit" then reset the game. Now I'm at the stage to give up on the title all together, since the 3rd bug is getting very annoying (crops up every 30 minutes or so). What is of course the most annoying part of this, is that there will be no update/patch, since it's a console title...

    I hope that this is only a very rare occurring bug, just liked to several circumstances, because starting all over from the start doesn't appeal at all to me.

  2. justshellee Sunday 19th Jul 2009 at 14:10

    havent played the wii version,
    but the ds version is rubbish!
    the whole game is too short,
    and very boring!
    veyr disappointing for the sims series :roll:

  3. Okami Saturday 15th Aug 2009 at 10:18

    This doesn't really sound very promising, especially now I've just read Fisher2007's post.
    And the box of the game just made it look so awesome. >< Good thing I didn't get it.

    I think EA should calm down a little with The Sims.
    Sure, it was a huge hit, a great game and everything, but now they've released about a million expansion packs for The Sims and The Sims 2, they've just released The Sims 3 (and a new expansion pack for it just recently), MySims, SimAnimals, etc. etc.

    If EA don't tone it down, everyone is going to get fed up of hearing about The Sims, if they aren't already, of course. :roll:

  4. Rabbid_girl Thursday 8th Oct 2009 at 07:16

    I've got sims 2 castaways myself and I play it all the time! Seriously, its very addictive and it has a real sense of adventure flowing through, and every time you unlock a new place, its just magic! If you love sims, then I advise you to buy this game, as it has a great storyline and its really enjoyable. I will settle for 80%

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