The Sims 2 Castaway
| The Sims 2 Castaway

With activities such as being a DJ and keeping pets, The Sims have had a pretty wide-ranging life on mobile, but it's nothing compared to the PC version of The Sims - that's involved everything from hot dates to going to university and becoming a superstar.

Things have taken a bit of a turn for the worse recently though, at least for the mobile Sims as, after a boat accident, a handful find themselves washed up on a deserted island - like better dressed, if jibberish-talking Robinson Crusoes.

For the player, the news is better as this game packs in almost as much content on mobile as the DS and PSP versions, and has a nicely paced set of goals and lots of exploring to get stuck into.

Of course, on the face of it, a deserted island might not sound like it would provide much entertainment but this one has more to it than just sand and caves. Fortunately for your starving, homeless Sim, there are fish to catch, wood to build fires with and palm fronds to build shelters from.

And while it might seem a world away from the typical consumerist Sims experience of house-building and home-making, beneath its sunny exterior, The Sims 2 Castaway is actually a very typical Sims game as your washed up Sim possesses all the usual needs as the common-or-garden variety.

So, to keep hygiene levels up you need to get him to take a shower - in this case beneath a waterfall. To keep hunger at bay you need to find your Sim food to eat by shaking trees to get fruit and spearing fish in the sea. Your Sim also needs to sleep regularly in their shelter, as well as have fun and talk to other Sims so they don't go completely stir crazy.

Yes, you might be on an island but there are fellow shipwreckees who also need to be found. This is where the bulk of the game lies as each character holds an assortment of goals. These 'fetch quests' call for gathering items, such as red snapper fish or coconuts (Sims can be quite picky). Once you've completed them the Sims will normally give you a new item in return, so after some progression, new clothes become available as well as a dancing mini-game which ups your Sim's fun levels.

At the start of the game, there are only four areas in the island open to explore, but unlocking an item to cut through vines provides new ones. In this way, the game slowly builds in size and difficulty and your quest becomes less linear as you explore further and find ever more useful items. And speeding up an otherwise fairly pedestrian game is the handy map screen which lets you warp between areas - sparing players long slogs from one end of the island to the other in search of driftwood.

Controlling your Sim is simple too. The numbered keys or phone joystick control an on-screen arrow and clicking on an area or object moves your Sim to it. The icon changes when something can be interacted with, although not every interaction is a good one. Accidentally highlight some quicksand, for example, and you have to say goodbye to your sinking Sim and return to your last save point.

But in conclusion, The Sims 2 Castaway is a very likeable game. Our only gripe is with its heavy reliance on gathering items. Some are only available at certain times of day and if these coincide with your Sim becoming hungry or tired you might miss the slot and be forced to wait for the next one. Slogging around looking for a single coconut tree can be a tiresome task if you can't remember where it is and the game's control method often feels like it would benefit from giving you direct control of your Sim to speed up the process.

These are small matters though and the rest of Castaway's island living is near idyllic. Forget keeping pets and going bowling, it seems being involved in a tragic boat accident is far more fun if you're a Sim.

The Sims 2 Castaway

The Sims 2 Castaway provides typical Sims gaming in a unique island setting full of fun goals, mini-games and puzzles
Kath Brice
Kath Brice
Kath gave up a job working with animals five years ago to join the world of video game journalism, which now sees her running our DS section. With so many male work colleagues, many have asked if she notices any difference.