The Sims is celebrating ten years since the first instalment in the series was released.
Back in July I reviewed The Sims Pet Stories, and got a little bit excited at the idea of the Sims engine being used to create different gaming experiences and fresh interactive narratives. At first glance, it seems like The Sims 2 Castaway (not to be confused with the confusingly titled The Sims Castaway Stories) might be another step along that road since it really doesn't play like a Sims game at all. At least, not to start with.
After creating a group of up to six Sims, using a rather thin array of design options, the game wastes no time in spoiling their boating holiday by tossing them into the brine and washing them ashore on a desert island. They all get separated, so you start the game proper with just one Sim - you get to choose which one - and must then fend for yourself in this primitive environment.
Rather than guiding a floating cursor to inspect and interact with things, you're in direct control this time around, moving your Sim with the left stick and rotating the camera with the right. Stand next to an object or item and the available options pop up in the bottom right hand corner. The R1 button speeds up time, if you get tired of watching the same animations over and over. You've got a mat for sleeping on, a pocket knife and an infinite roll of toilet paper for those private moments. That's it. You can soon start filling up your inventory with driftwood and bananas you find lying on the beach, while a few swishes with your knife will earn you bamboo shoots, palm fronds and other organic building materials. There's no limit to what you can horde, so it makes sense to stockpile right from the start.