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10 Apr 2023

REVIEW: Family Island (Farming game) on Android / App Store

Review by Jon Donnis
I rarely if ever review mobile games, I don't see the point, especially on ones that are free to download, as anyone can just try them and makeup their own mind.

I thought I would make an exception for Family Island. Read on to find out why.

Let's take a look at the official blurb.
"What would your life be without modern technology on the deserted island? Dive into simplicity of the primal world with the modern Stone Age family in this thrilling offline adventure game. Stranded on the remote island, a family of four - Bruce, Eva and their kids - needs your guidance and help starting a new family home from scratch and navigating through various family life situations with humour.

After their previous city had been destroyed by a volcanic eruption, help this family build a thriving town, all while looking for a way to reconnect with their family and beloved tribe. In this farm game, their world might seem ancient and alien without modern day technology, yet their daily family life and relationships are very relatable in today's world."

So to start with there has actually been an effort made to have a story, which is rare, especially in farming games. The general gameplay is simple, start off on your own little island, slowly construct things needed to survive, use the resources around you, build bigger and better things, as you progress learn to trade, and finally explore other islands. The game is full of time limited quests, and lots to explore.

Now comes the problems and sadly this is a problem with pretty much every game of this type. Every action you do uses up energy, and energy is time limited. So lets say you have a full bar of energy, say 60 energy points, to cut down a tree it might cost 20 energy, but in doing so you will earn wood needed to construct things, and you might even get a few points of energy back. Early on the game, this isn't much of a problem as you will level up pretty soon, each level up resets your energy. As you complete tasks you will get energy, so for about the frst 10 levels of the game, you will fly through it, and it is a lot of fun. Then the problems start, everything starts to become a grind, play for 5 minutes then you have to stop and wait a few hours because you have no energy, every task seems to take longer, and get harder as you need more things to complete, but you dont have them, so you have to do multiple other tasks first, but everything uses energy, and just as you pass level 10, the game believing you are hooked, will now start throwing endless links at you, for you to pay using real money, to buy energy, diamonds, everything in the game.

In other words the game tries to get you hooked, and then slows everything slows down so much so that the only realtistic way for you to progress is to spend real money, but the problem is that we are not talking about a few quid here, some tasks may literally cost you tens of pounds. And since this game is clearly advertised towards little kids, this becomes a major issue for me.

I managed to get to level 15, and then I just gave up, as everything just became a chore, I used every trick in the book that I have learnt over the years on games such as these, I followed advice online, but at the end of the day if I want to get further in the game and in a fun way, I need to spend money, and I refuse to do so.

When you start the game, you have to cancel about 5 pop ups which are all trying to get you to spend real money, it becomes frustrating, especially if you are just trying to play for a couple of minutes to use up your energy and then wait again til later. Oh and I never even mentioned the endless ads to watch, to get small rewards just to progress.

Games like this have two purposes, get you addicted, and then try to get money out of you.

Is the game fun? YES it is a lot of fun, upto about level 10. But then it becomes a slog, unless you want to spend real money.

Be very careful allowing your kids to play games like this, and make sure they have no payment details attached to the play store on the phone they use, as otherwise you might get a nasty surprise.

The Good
Nice story, fun graphics, addictive gameplay.

The Bad
After a few days of fun, everything turns into a drawn out slog, and you are bombarded with endless pop ups trying to get you to spend real money.

A fun game that is ultimate spoiled by greed.

Don't let kids play this, and only play yourself if you are familiar with this time of pay to play type game.

I score Family Island on Android a 6/10

Out Now on Mobile Formats.

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