Whenever G5 releases a game that is NOT a Hidden Object Adventure I am all over it, and The Island Castaway: Lost World is certainly a breath of tropical fresh air and a nice diversion from my normal pixel-hunting adventures. The game wastes no time in wrecking your ship and stranding a group of survivors on a small island. You become the leader of the castaways as you start to scavenge for supplies, at first just to stay alive, but later to branch out and explore the island and the mysteries it has to offer.
The core game is based around a mundane set of chores that is somehow made fun by the charming art design and intuitive gameplay. You’ll be farming for fruit and vegetables and fishing and trapping for meat then preparing all sorts of tasty recipes to service the nutritional needs of your group. The game is a slow burn that will have you running laps around the island at first. Later on the “Sawyer” of the group sets up a shop and starts selling you back items and you can setup farms to harvest other ingredients.
The crafting system is quite complex, both for building farms and creating tasty entrees and combining various plants to make magic potions and such. With 20 characters and more than 350 quests to complete, there is never a shortage of activities on this tropical island.
Once you have ensured your group’s survival you can then set off and start exploring the island, which turns out to be much more expansive than the initial landmass on which you start. Meet and greet the island natives, collect rare statues and decipher ancient runes to solve the mystery of the island and hopefully return home.
Previous games in the Castaway series have been great fun but also a bit costly. Lost World is a free game but you may end up paying on the backside if you lack the patience to deal with the limited inventory system that practically demands you spend some money in the in-app store. While you can easily get 3-4 hours of enjoyment from the early parts of the game, all too soon you will need to have more available inventory slots and those cost gems that cost money. Sure, you can try to get by without paying, but it is really going to sap the fun and the casual pacing right out of the game. There are numerous tiers of Emeralds and Pearls you can purchase from within the game, and honestly, if you spend around $5 (the cost of a normal G5 game) you are in good shape to have some unencumbered fun.
I’ve been playing the game for months now and there have been numerous updates, not just to patch some minor issues but also to add new content that keeps the game fresh and entertaining. The latest patch just added a new chapter with a new tribe, new creatures, and seven new locations to explore with 95 new quests. Admittedly, I don’t play nearly as often or as long as I did when it first came out, but I usually drop in on my castaways at least once a week and who knows…maybe someday they will actually get off that island.