Stranded Without a Phone is a puzzle RPG simulation liked game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It plays a little like the Sims with a touch of puzzle elements such as combining items and stuff as well as RPG elements such as efficiency in hunting and so on. I love simulation games and Stranded Without a Phone is no doubt a rather interesting and addictive game. It is now out for $1.99 at your local Appstore.
You play as a uniquely shaped old man stranded on an Island. The objective of the game is to simply survive for as long as you can until you manage to build a radio device to communicate with a rescue team and thus by doing so win the game. So it plays like a life simulation where you have to eat, drink and sleep to stay healthy and fresh. There are 4 life aspects of the game which you have to pay close attention to. First is the nutrition bar; your character can stay alive with an empty stomach but not for long, remember a hungry person is an angry person. Second is the hydration bar; people say you can survive without food but not water, make sure your character is adequately hydrated or watch how he die within a day or two. Third is the injury bar; fill this up and watch you bleed/poisoned/whatever death-causing injury to death. Lastly and most importantly the health bar; keep this up by resting and filling up both the nutrition and hydration bar.
The overall logic of the game is simple. What I mean is what you see and what you think you can do with that particular thing is most probably there. The game doesn’t offer a really deep depth but it is sufficient. For example you see a boar and you kill it, you get a dead boar. You slice the dead boar and process it you get both the boar skin and boar meat. Cooking the boar meat under a fire will result in cooked meat. Eating this cooked meat results in replenishing the nutrients bar. Most combination of items makes sense and the sense of accomplishment comes when you gradually adapt to your deserted island lifestyle and slowly build the more complex items. The fun comes in when you find the items and combine them to form other more useful stuff.
Important items for winning the game get washed up at the shores during different times of the days. The chances of retrieving one is based purely on luck so the most important thing is to survive until you get all the necessary items. Items such as a microphone, headphones so on and so forth vital for the ultimate goal of a radio transmitter. The real fun lies in the surviving rather than the building of the final product I guess.
Some interesting things to take note of are the randomly generated maps every single time you start a new game. It keeps the game fresh to a certain extent in terms of item locations positioning of the trees and so on. The game also offers a day night cycle but not much gameplay elements are affected other than the fact that at night the game is tinted to give a darker atmosphere. There is a weather element present as well and it does affect the game in terms of growth of agriculture and putting out of fires. All these little touches do make the game a little better especially the presence of the rain.
The game however might be frustrating at times. Inventory management is tedious and irritating. You only get to hold 6 items and if you want to get more you have to dump your stuff at a point in the land and then go back and grab some more. This back and forth action occurs rapidly throughout the game and as the game progresses it becomes a troublesome chore. You often find yourself dropping things, moving, taking, moving, dropping and the cycle repeats over and over again. Another thing is the punishing difficulty curve at the start. It is almost impossible to hunt down a boar at the very start of the game thus you have to find another source of food. Fish spots are hard to find and based on luck, coconuts barely fill you and lemons cause injuries when too many are consumed. Expect to die if luck isn’t on your side at the start. However once you get it going and your skills in hunting boars increase, food is unlikely to be a problem at all.
The graphics of the game is poor. I mean it doesn’t have a distinct style to define it nor does it actually look good even when it follows the conventional look. It plays something like a top down 3D 01-02 game but the lacking in details results in it feeling inadequately executed. What is even worse is how the HUD looks. It looks as if the game is some kind of experimental freeware game done back then. There are no sound effects in the game besides the monotonous sound of waves crushing on the shores. Luckily the game happens to be on your iPod/iPhone which means you can listen to your own music. Honestly speaking the graphics aren’t good but I guess the gameplay makes up to it.
Stranded Without a Phone is a rather fun simulation cum puzzle game but lacks in visual identity and detail. There is a steep learning curve to the game but once overcome results in a rather enjoyable experience. Interesting combinations of objects prove to give a sense of achievement when completed but the frustrating inventory management slows down gameplay and becomes a chore. Refinements can be made and perhaps even more detailed gameplay can be implemented to make the game a great one. Other than that for $1.99 the game is up to you to decide whether or not to purchase it. Simulation fans might like it but other than that you might want to look at your other alternatives first.
Itunes Appstore Link: $1.99 Stranded Without a Phone