Escape from Paradise


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Rating: 4.4/5 (63 votes)
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Escape from Paradise

JohnBEscape from Paradise (Windows/Mac) is a simulation/adventure game similar to Westward and Virtual Villagers where you lead shipwrecked castaways on a quest to build a tropical paradise. The interesting twist is the inclusion of minigames that help you earn supplies as well as distract you while your villagers work. It's an intriguing genre-bending concept that puts you in the role of resource manager and resident puzzle solver, and despite its not-so-polished presentation, pulls it off quite well.

escapefromparadise2.jpgThe first question I found myself asking: if this is paradise, why bother escaping from it? Around fifty passengers of a cruise ship have been stranded on this island, so I guess they're pining to get back to their posh lives of pressed polo shirts and bits of things stacked on crackers served on shiny trays. You begin with just a few castaways and a couple of run-down huts. One of the tiki mask-clad natives appears to guide you, saying that if you harvest 50 wood you'll get a surprise. Axe in hand, select your villagers with the mouse and drag them to some trees to start chopping.

As you accomplish goals set by the tiki folk you'll uncover almost 20 minigames. Some are found by exploring the island, others as a natural progression of the game. While the villagers build and harvest, set your synapses on simple games like Word Jumble, Chinese Checkers, and Towers of Hanoi, all of which earn you a handful of food and wood. You also get skill points which can be used to upgrade your castaways' proficiency in carpentry, wood chopping, and providing for the village. In addition to managing resources and minigames, you'll also need to keep an eye on each villager's needs, such as hunger, thirst, and overall happiness.

escapefromparadise1.jpgAnalysis: Ok, let's get this one out of the way: Escape from Paradise versus Virtual Villagers. The similarities aren't subtle, as both share a common story theme and setting, but these games really are two different animals. Escape from Paradise lays out challenges on a map, making progression smooth and linear by comparison. Its heavy emphasis on minigames makes it more varied than its counterpart, though it does break the immersion factor Virtual Villagers happily provides.

Standing on its own, Escape from Paradise pulls all of these disparate shards of casual genres together into a very entertaining final product. The interface and visuals are a little rough around the edges and could use some buffing up, but that doesn't detract from the game too much. The minigames are a nice addition to the village sim genre and are playable from the main menu, adding some replay value to the game. Unfortunately they're all rehashes of games we've seen before, but at least they weren't butchered beyond playability.

The game is a bit slow-paced, especially at the beginning, and relies on gathering materials to lengthen the overall experience. Fortunately the minigames allow you to pass the time, but even with the occasional word jumble you'll long for an in-game speed throttle.

A great addition to the village sim world and a light-hearted way for simulation newbies to ease into the genre.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Escape from Paradise is available to download from these affiliates:
(Note: Mac version is only available through Big Fish Games)
Arcade TownBig Fish Games

51 Comments

Kirkpad Author Profile Page March 1, 2008 1:47 PM

I was wondering when a review for this would come out. It certainly is a change-up from Virtual Villagers. I found this game to be too confusing for casuals, and too boring for hardcore people. Overall, it's genuinely enjoyable though.

Good review JB.

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Wow, I'm suddenly inspired to go back and replay it.

My main frustrations with this game:
-- the lack of collection sites in each of the four areas you unlock. Yes, you can build a place for your people to take food or wood to, but in the meantime they're trekking all over creation, which adds to the time factor. I would have preferred to see the food bowl and wood sled you start with available in all areas, and the built structures be solely for the purpose of increasing how much you can store.

-- the 'discard' factor. Because you move along the map, those huts you built in the first section aren't much help to you later, unless you feel like dragging people to them and wait, wait, waiting for them to get there... and then remember to scroll back later and put them to work!

-- the inability to skip a minigame you, quite simply, suck at. Shuffleboard, anyone? The controls on that one... argh.

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Oh -- er, all that said, I did finish it. Twice, even. And enjoyed it. Just realized that all came off quite negatively, when I meant it as things that ought to be fixed in any potential sequels...

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ThemePark Author Profile Page March 1, 2008 8:35 PM

LS, actually all the minigames I've seen so far have had a Skip Game button in the top right corner.

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"Trial Time Expired!"

But...I just downloaded it. That was an extremely quick trial game. O.o

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Darn...Imagine my excitement turning into a quick letdown when I realized this is just a review for Escape from Paradise and not Escape From Paradise 2!!

I have been hoping for a 2nd installment of this game for some time now. It's one of my favorites from last year. I found Paradise to be fun, yet pretty challenging at times.

If you are a fan of games such as Virtual Villagers and especially Westward, then I recommend giving this game a try.

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mar hoffman March 2, 2008 3:46 PM

I tried this game and liked it so much I purchased it. I am loving it, but struggling keeping everyone happy, fed, etc. and I agree with the earlier comment about the time it takes to build each area and then sending everyone else all over the place. But, we'll see!

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ThemePark Author Profile Page March 2, 2008 4:59 PM

I just completed it, and a word of advice to those who intend to do the same. Unfortunately it spoils the ending, so don't read it until you're actually AT the ending.

You will be given a choice between staying and leaving. Choose staying. Unfortunately I chose leaving, and I did leave, and then for some reason the game decided to start a new game, and overwrite my old one. So now I have to go through it all again, to see the staying ending.

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Has anyone else had problems seating people at tables in the Diner Dash-style game? I've tried releasing my cursor at many different locations on both tables, but I cannot get anyone seated.

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so am I the only one to get stuck? Anyways can't flipping build the fishing dock, have tried and deleted things , just don't know where it goes.. Help pls guys and gals. cheers

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Oh yes while I remember, the spear to hunt, guess am not ready yet hmm? If other wise, let me know :-) still working on getting fishing dock hmmmmm. Heeeelp

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Hi, Ok sorted out fish docking and spears for hunting, at the moment am stuck getting the last pink eye in the middle god, argghh.

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Help me i am stuck on the last few radio peices. One of the clues from the game is what is return completed can bring big rewards, remember where because it wont always be there... i am so lost on that one. The other is so silly, you have to look in the right spot. sounds easy enough so why am i ripping out my hair??? Now i know for the l;ast peice i need 9 first, and i am assuming it takes the whole village and something with that circle thing and the foot prints but i just can't get it. Please, please please help me i am going crazy here

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how do i build a well :(

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To build well:

You just click any castaway and at the bottom is says Build,then you select water well then drag the well in a pool of water. Hope that helps.

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I dont get the beetle shape thing with the footprints on it..?

i think you just need alot of level 3 people.drag a person that is a level 3 at something and 1 of the footprints will glow.Keep on doing that, and when all the footprints glow i dont know whats gonna happen... but it is very hard.

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jksldds July 15, 2008 6:25 AM

I just can't seem to find 1 radio peice - the one that says you have to look in the right spot....is it just finding the right x...or is there a place a question mark should form...?? Please help!!

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Kailani7727 Author Profile Page July 19, 2008 1:46 PM

Having trouble looking for the radio parts?

Dig in the first X that appears (right above a dilapidated hut)

Bring 4 castaways to the big boulder in the southwest corner of the first map.

Fish in the BIG pond in the middle of the second map.

Move a castaway to the absolute top-right corner of the second map. Notice a crack along the ground. Have him chop at the tree just northeast of it. When he finishes, he will step on the crack and find the radio part.

Fish in the small pond in the north part of the third map.

Bring a castaway with at least level 2 carpentry to the middle of map 3 where the stone Tiki statue is.

Drag a villager to the bottle on the beach, next to the shipwreck. Complete it (you can just click on "complete word" until it's over) and you will get a radio part.

Go fishing again - right to the Southeast of the 3 giant Tikis in the fourth map, there is a tiny little pond. Fish in there for a radio part.

Bring two female elders (with maxed skills) to the 3 giant Tikis in the fourth map. I also tried one male and one female elder.

Bring 7 castaways with the highest skills to the stone relief in map 4. Bring each one to light up the feet marks, then drag EVERYONE ELSE to the last one. They don't have to be right next to it! All you have to do is click and drag to the middle part of the relief, and their heads will gain some question marks. Once EVERYONE has question marks above their heads, you will have unlocked the last radio part. (you need 30 castaways)

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Kailani7727 Author Profile Page July 19, 2008 1:51 PM

Here's a better discription for the radio parts..

1: X on ground. Drag a castaway to the X's to dig up the radio part.
2: Push rock in first area over with 4 or more castaways.
3: Right side of lake in second area near waterfall. Go fishing.
4: Crack in ground, second area right of Diner minigame. Cut down tree to reveal.
5: Fish in pond just over bridge in third area.
6: Stare at tiki in grove of trees located in third area.
7: Bottle on beach next to original crash site. Word jumble game.
8: In pond in fourth area south of volcano. It is almost all surrounded by rocks.
9: In 3 tikis between levels 3 and 4. One man and one woman maxed in respective skill.
10: Crab on ground in 4th area. One man and one woman maxed in each skill.

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Kailani7727 Author Profile Page July 19, 2008 1:52 PM

These are all the challeages

Challenge #1: Collect 50 wood. This unlocks ability to build a hut.
Challenge #2: Marble toss. Unlocks shovel.
Challenge #3: Build well unlocks levels in minigame shipwrecked.
Challenge #4: Build 5 huts. Unlocks level 2 skills in lumberjack.
Challenge #5: Chop down tiki unlocks ability to build food storage.
Challenge #6: Game unlocking level 2 carpenter.
Challenge #7: HINT.
Challenge #8: Build a food hut. Unlocks fishing.
Challenge #9: Game. Unlocks medium hut.
Challenge #10: Build 12 huts. Unlocks higher skill levels.
Challenge #11: Gather 1000 food. Unlocks Tribal feast levels.
Challenge #12: Checkers game unlocks wood storage.
Challenge #13: Build wood storage hut unlocks levels in shipwrecked minigame.
Challenge #14: Minigame Pegs.
Challenge #15: Complete bridge, unlocks skill level 3 for carpenter.
Challenge #16: Minigame shuffleboard.
Challenge #17: Gather 5000 wood. Unlocks level 3 skills.
Challenge #18: Gather 5000 food. Unlocks level fishing dock.
Challenge #19: Chinese checkers.
Challenge #20: Build fishing dock. Unlocks hunters to reach level 3.
Challenge #21: Get 20 castaways. Unlocks large hut to build.
Challenge #22: Max a castaway. Unlocks firewalk game and allows entrance to fourth area of game.
Challenge #23: Game ACES HIGH. Unlocks spear.
Challenge #24: Gather 5000 wood. Unlocks spear hunting.
Challenge #25: Game WAR. Unlocks levels in shipwrecked minigame.
Challenge #26: Reach 30 Castaways.

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Anonymous August 16, 2008 7:52 PM

I dont get the beetle shape thing with the footprints on it..?

put all your people in there 30... then youll have a radiio part...

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Hi.

I'm just confused. I don't understand how you build 5 huts. I've already built my 3 and now I have no clue what to do. Please help!

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I have a problem. I'm on the build the bridge challenge and I read that I have to beat the tower of hanio mini-game to unlcok level two carpenter so that I can build the bridge. Is that correct? I have played the tower of hanio game but I haven't beat it and I only got to the level with the 8 stacks. Is there another way to build the bridge?

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I have the first 9 radio pieces but I still cannot figure out how to get the 10th. I've tried to get all of the footprints to light up but they won't. One of them just won't light up.

Thank you.

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Why does it take forever to build the huts? Can someone help me? I am in map 1 and I havent even finished my first hut.
Is there a shortcut?

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InPinkClover October 28, 2008 4:19 PM

When looking up tips for this game I keep seeing that we can change the shirt colors of the characters ... but not one of the tips I've found explains HOW. Does anyone know? Being able to do this would be a great help to these old eyes. :D

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Where can I find a spear for hunting?

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I need help! How do I level up to 5000 wood?

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I need help! How do I get 5000 wood????

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where and how do I build a fishing dock?

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I've tried to get all of the footprints to light up but they won't. How can I light up all of the footprints? Help me, please!

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Gabrielle March 11, 2009 8:20 PM

OK now I'm at challenge 24 and I'm asking why do I do that again?

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To get 5000 wood - build two more wood storages.
You build a fishing dock at the edge of the sea and what not. And you build it by buildin' it.
Because you can't advance if you don't get him the five thousand wood. Which, I personally think, is stupid.

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Tracey36 Author Profile Page June 8, 2009 9:55 AM

I cannot complete the puzzle where I need to stare at the tiki in section 3. I have my character, who is level 3 everything, plus I have tried with every person who is a level 2 carpenter or higher. They all just say they are awaiting orders. None of them stare at the statue. I have finished all of the other puzzles, collected all other radio parts and just need this one to finish. It worked the last time I played this game. What am I forgetting to do?

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Jessica June 8, 2009 11:01 AM

Ok - I finished the game- it was interesting. I must say that while it says you can not get the last piece til you get the rest- Ive seen several people getting different pieces last- so, really- you get the last piece last cause- its last lmao. The Tiki eye puzzle and Crab puzzle were the fun ones. Took a minute but finally relized that the people withe the highest skills were the key. I did not have to drag all of my people to the crab to get the piece.... just the highskill people to light up the feet.... I couldnt imagine having to drag every person to the center. I spent forever trying to figure out how to get to the volcano- duh- you dont. Those letters found in the sand were really stupid- I do mean really stupid lmao. Overall it was entertaining. I finished it in less than a day tho which was disappointing. Lets hope theres a part 2 with more oomph.

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Do the people ever learn to feed, water and rest themselves and if so, when?

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To drag lots of people at once, use the green highlighted box around them. If you've noticed a green box that appears sometimes, it is the way to drag lots of people. Just "corral" them in the box, then lead any one to where you want them to go and everyone in the box will go there.

I haven't been able to get the 3 idols to complete. I have at least 3 maxed out people there and all eyes have lit up except for the left one of the middle/large tiki. Any tips?

I restarted another game to train the people well first before building everything. I would still like to know if anyone knows when they learn to feed/water and rest themselves, if at all.

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Tracey36 Author Profile Page June 9, 2009 10:51 AM

kathimac, you need to have 1 male and 1 female on each of the three giant Easter Island heads. Notice the males produce the blue eye and females the pink eye. How very modern thinking of them. Anyway, get a level 3 male and female on each of the heads and you should get your reward.

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Tracey36 Author Profile Page June 9, 2009 9:13 PM

I found that fourth radio part - okay, my son did! In the second area, it is in a group of trees at the top of the pond. It is not the trees with the crack in the ground, but it is right under those. Right at the edge of the water. I still don't know what good it does to stare at the tiki, but it never did work for me or for my son. Meanwhile, I have all the radio parts! Yay!

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Does any body have a spoiler for me where I can find all the skulls? I still need one to go...please

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For the skull locations, please have a look at the comments for
Escape from Paradise2: A Kingdom's Quest

Greetings, Kayleigh

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okay i have everything...all 30 people etc. and i have at least 1 of each gender maxed out in a specific category...yet i cannot for the life of me get the pink crystal eye in the center (the carpenter?) statue to light up....i have tried all 3 of the females that i have maxed in that category and it just will not light up....any suggestions?

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ieatpiepie Author Profile Page July 28, 2009 8:18 PM

has anyone had it where you log out at a challenge then you log back in and look at "escape progress" map and you look and isat 2nd to last one "gather 5000 food" when you haven't even finished building your 1st food hut?

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how to chop down the tiki

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To chop down the Tiki you need someone with lumberjack skills or something like that...

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It's quite fun. I didn't like that you couldn't pick your villagers up and drag them to where you wanted to... Also, the collection site thing was rather annoying...

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I can not for the life of me figure out where to place the fishing dock...? can ya help me out?

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for Shay:

the fishing dock can be built on the ocean shore (bottom of the map), not in rivers nor lakes.

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I found the 10th piece of the radio and I then clicked on escape progress. I came to a page from the beginning of the story talking about how the islanders came to be there. In the bottom right corner it said click to continue. I did and nothing happened. Help!

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how come i didnt have female villagers? its automatic or i gotta do something?

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Martha Stocks July 1, 2011 4:34 PM

If anyone is having trouble keeping up with all the villagers, then sit them at a camp fire. It will show a peace sign when your cursor is over the camp fire. The villager's needs do not decrease as fast.

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