The concept is pretty much exactly the same. When I first heard the words "Love Island" I thought it was more Bear Grylls but with someone you're trying to flirt with surviving a harsh beach, but instead, it's actually a fairly expensive looking resort scenario, and I'm pretty sure they're getting fresh food and drink in constantly. Very disappointing.
But the TV show does at least stay faithful to the game in this aspect. It is still, unquestionably, the same kind of thing. A bunch of beautiful, half-naked people running around a villa, constantly kissing and flirting. I thought there was some sort of prize to win, but as it turns out, the prize was the relationships we made along the way.
This is truly incredible. I thought the game's blend of macho, charismatic, narcissist men and shrill, jealous, hostile women was impossible to replicate in real life, but lo and behold, here they are. Self-obsessed, intensely shallow, and seemingly a 2D caricature of a real person, they are incredible replications of the characters you see in the game.
There are perhaps one or two seemingly "real" people out of the whole load of them. The rest I would absolutely dread to meet on a night out or at a friend's party, they all seem like they'd ask me if I knew who they were. Ew.
The cast basically gets put into weird positions where they kiss one another or do vaguely sexual things that the producers can show on TV. It is overt and a little bit sickening, honestly. Gosh, I sound like such a prude right now, but I don't actually want to watch implied sexual activity for entertainment?
I just want to say, I had a friend who once told me that he sat and watched porn for like an hour while rolling cigarettes, and showed me a tin full of crisp, clean rolls. I always thought that was one of the weirdest things anyone has ever bragged about. Who just sits and watches porn? Like, for entertainment? Love Island is basically that, except the bit where the pizza guy is being convinced to join in is the whole thing.
Unfortunately, the narrative falls flat in the TV show. In fact, there is no narrative here, things just happen. People get changed around, or new people get introduced, sometimes people scream about having been sent a text… The structure is the same, but the dialogue is completely vapid and shallow. Poorly scripted, honestly.
Now you look at Love Island: The Game and, oh, wonderful, amazing, marvelous. How they created something so pure is a mystery. The magic of a good writing team, which the TV show clearly needs.
While it's certainly easier to get the full story from the TV adaptation of Love Island, thanks to its availability and the fact you can watch ads to see the next scenes, it's not as good as the mobile game.
Love Island: The Game, meanwhile, hides much of its story content behind paywalls, and you can't just watch adverts to get through them either. Disappointing.
As a result, I must conclude there is no definitive way to enjoy Love Island, but the Love Island TV show is as close as the team could get to the majesty of the mobile game in live action.
Bravo to the producers for creating something that I can't turn away from. And introducing me to the word "graft" used in a context I am still just not used to.