Paradise Island - SimCity for Android on the Beach
Tested version: 1.0.13
Latest version: 2.2.7
Requires Android: from 2.2
Remember those good old days spent on the family PC playing SimCity 2000 while you're parents were still at work. And on the way home from school you used actually have fun playing Snake 1 on your old Nokia phone. Time sure does fly now doesn't it. Paradise Island is reminiscent of SimCity – but is it possible play a game like that on mobile devices?
Features & Use
Before I get started, let me give everyone that isn't very familiar with SimCity-like games an important piece of advice: when you start playing the game will completely suck you. Trust me when I say that it only takes a little while before you're totally addicted. Paradise Island is not an exception to this rule. Everything starts off simple enough. You begin with the tutorial that explains to you the basic rules of the game. Repairing the pier is the first task for attracting visitors by sea. You can't have visitors without important buildings such as a hotel, an office building and a power plant (or a windmill in this case). Oh and don't forget to put a hot dog stand, too!
As you can see, it's fairly easy to get completely carried away. Thankfully, Paradise Island isn't as complex as SimCity so it's much more manageable. This is especially true when it comes to infrastructure. All you need is electricity and a labor force, which means that you won't have to worry about water, taxes and other details. This is kind of a tradeoff because the lack of these minor details do make the game a bit less exciting and challenging. But then again, do you really need so many features for a game smartphone/tablet game?
I came to the conclusion that Paradise Island may lack some extra features, but it's pretty good as it is.
The game is free and without any pesky ads, but the developers earn money through in-app sales. So if you need to get some extra virtual dollars, you'll have to pay with very real money from your actual bank account. The same thing goes for getting more piastres – the local Paradise Island currency. Like Cuba, Paradise Island has two currencies that function side by side. While most everyday things can be purchased with dollars, piastres can be used to pay for special offers and deals such as repairing or painting all your buildings at once.
The reason why I'm mentioning all of this is that buying in-game currency makes the game way easier to play. Personally, I tried playing the game without purchasing any fake money with my hard-earned real dollar bills because I believe that it should be possible to play these kinds of games for free. Playing without paying makes the game more challenging and fun to play. That's why I would like to give a couple of tips: buildings that take in more money, take a longer time to collect. The most important buildings in the beginning are cabins and hot dog stands. Try to build as many of them as you can at the onset. Don't forget to keep the wind mills going and improve the office buildings in order to increase the work force.
Paradise Island is also full of trophies waiting to be had – just like most classic city building computer games. Whether it's building roads (and please build lots of them because they're free), expanding buildings or playing the game for an x number of hours – Paradise Island has a trophy/award for every occasion. With trophies comes money and experience points which can then in turn be used to access higher levels and unlock more buildings.
Unlike many Android games, Paradise Island is very time-consuming. You really have to take good care of your buildings, watch your finances, conduct routine repairs and list can go on and on. If you're into city building strategy games then you're in for a treat. I have to admit, though, that the game definitely needs some extra features to make even more fun to play over a longer period of time. The game should be more than just about making more and more money and building bigger buildings. That kind of stuff gets old pretty quickly. That's why SimCity is in a league of its own in comparison with Paradise Island. Nevertheless, Paradise Island manages to bring some of that SimCity flavor to your smartphone or tablet guaranteed to keep you occupied for hours on end.
Screen & Controls
The graphics of Paradise Island may be pretty simple and two-dimensional, but they are still well-designed and hark back to the Age of Empires days. Unfortunately, the screen becomes a bit fuzzy when you zooom in too close, especially on the Galaxy tablet. Otherwise, the game works perfectly on tablets as well as phones. The controls are very good and self-explanatory.
Speed & Stability
Paradise Island performed perfectly during the test. Quick, reliable and totally glitch-free!
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