Sawbuck Gamer

The Island: Castaway

Washed Up

The Island: Castaway puts you on a Lost-style island. Then you pick fruit.

By Samantha Nelson • May 23, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Like the survivors of Lost’s Oceanic Flight 815, the characters in The Island: Castaway wash up on a mysterious tropical island. Lost was filled with conflict and action, but G5’s game offers a glimpse of what the show might have been like if everyone else on the island were super-friendly, and the hardest thing Jack had to do was make piña coladas.

You control Tom, who winds up leading a band of survivors from a shipwrecked cruise ship because he’s the one most willing to run errands. Your island-mates are central-casting types like a ditzy young mom and a Native American who teaches you survival skills, since he’s in touch with nature, obviously. The bad stereotypes continue when you meet the island’s natives, a primitive tribe happy to help your “white man” in exchange for novel gifts like a salad.

A fusion between a simulation and adventure game, The Island: Castaway offers a huge number of missions that range from hunting poisonous snakes to farming potatoes. Not terribly challenging to begin with, these missions are made even easier by the presence of shortcuts that let you essentially zip around the terrain on autopilot. You learn more about the island and its people as you explore, discovering ancient idols and rumors of spirits and blood sacrifice. Also, one of your shipmates might be going crazy. But any time Tom seems to be getting close to something, he gets distracted by yet another gathering quest.

Tom’s only in danger if you forget to have him eat regularly or don’t keep him stocked with the protection potions that make the islands animals ignore him—even as he shoots them with arrows. The game does offer some mindless collecting fun, but it doesn’t provide enough novelty or staying power.

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636 Responses to “Washed Up”

  1. George_Liquor says:

    ┬áSee you on… The Island!

  2. PugsMalone says:

    There’s no way a standalone game could do this scenario better than Final Fantasy VI did.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I was always bummed that all that fishing never seemed to level me up. I guess they were all Level 0.

  3. Effigy_Power says:

    I haven’t played it, but via the review this game sounds insanely racist, but torn between the noble savage and the savage savage.