[iPhone] Rebuild society on a desert island with Robinson’s Island

mzl.bifdgaqq.320x480-75From “Robinson Crusoe” to “Gilligan’s Island” to “LOST,” Western society has had a centuries-long love affair with stories set on desert islands. I think we’ve all thought about what life would be like on a deserted island from time to time. Now, there is a game that will let you live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasy: Robinson’s Island.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Robinson’s Island is an iPhone game where you plant crops and build a city.

Pros

  • Invite Facebook friends to be a member of your tribe
  • Tons of items to discover, which keeps the gameplay fresh
  • An element of mystery: what’s in the treasure chest? And is that the ghost of a pirate haunting your settlement?
  • Improve you critical thinking: developing new technologies is a matter of logically combining items you find on the island

Cons

  • Tutorial is a bit heavy-handed and long-winded
  • Fairly large game file
  • Some players might find the colonialist “master-servant” undertones of interacting with Friday a little unsettling

Discussion

mzl.yvkpupjt.320x480-75After your plane crashes down on a deserted island, you’ll discover that the island is not as deserted as it first appeared. You will be aided by Friday, a sexier version of the classic Friday character who helped Robinson Crusoe. She will walk you through the tutorial process.

Throughout the course of the game, you will need to clear land, raise animals, build shelter, grow food, and solve mysteries. There is a real sense of pride when you figure out how to fashion new technologies from the primitive items on the island.  For example, once you build a workshop, you can work a piece of ironwood into a hefty club. Fasten a knapped quartz rock to it, and you get the hand-axe you need to ward off that pesky wolf.

Despite being a fairly fun game, there are some weird colonialist undertones, what with Friday being so subservient and referring to the player as Master all the time. Interacting with Friday can be a little weird at times. The difference in skin color between the player character and Friday is pretty obvious, and the player character can’t change their own skin color from what I’ve seen.

The tutorial is a little heavy-handed: with all the directed tapping you’re forced to do, it doesn’t really feel like you’re in control of the game for quite some time. However, at least the tutorial is thorough.

Conclusion and download link

Given all the flak that the new version of Sim City has been getting, there are a lot of disgruntled fans of the city building game genre who would like to find a new game to throw their energy into. If you’ve always like SimCity but wished it took place on a deserted island, this could be the game for you. But beware: this game owes as much of its style to FarmVille as to SimCity, and that might be a turn-off to some players.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.81.1

Requires iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS version 4.3 or later

Download size: 100 MB

Robinson’s Island on Apple App Store

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