Castaway 2: Isle of the Titans
You ever walk into a room, only to forget what it was you came for? Ever do the same thing, only on a deserted island full of cute technicolor monsters and cryptic talking statues? This is what happens to the towheaded hero of Likwid Games'
Castaway 2: Isle of the Titans. The sequel to last year's Castaway, Castaway 2 is an addictive action-RPG with plenty of hacking, slashing, and island-bound amnesia.
After you name your hero, move him about the island with either the [arrow] or [WASD] keys. You can interact with the environment in a number of ways with the [spacebar], including attacking, picking up and using items, and chatting with various stoney shopkeepers and quest givers. When you've learned some cool RPG skills, you can drag them to the quickbar at the bottom of the screen and activate them with the number keys [1-6]. Use your mouse to navigate the various game menus, including those for your inventory, stats and skills; useful for powering up as you gain levels.
Even without the totally optional Premium Content the game offers, there is a lot to do in Castaway 2. In addition to the typical RPG fare of killing monsters, taking their gear, and leveling up, there is also a great deal of exploration, helpful pets to collect, and items to craft. Pets are friendly monsters you hatch from eggs collected throughout the island. Crafting involves collecting raw materials from monsters, shops, and the environment, and combining them to make something new and useful. With so much going on, it is a good thing that the in-game tutorials are so helpful and clear. Collect resources, kill monsters, level up, and figure out why the Titans have brought you to their island.
Analysis: How much you like Castaway 2 will depend a lot on how much you like mindless hack-n-slash RPGs. The story is not particularly deep, and while some enemies require strategic positioning and skill usage to defeat effectively, the overall gameplay is not very complex or tactical. But as an addictive timewaster, Castaway 2 is tough to top. The soundtrack is inviting, the graphics pleasant and colorful, and the monsters fun and cute (almost too cute, as I wondered why the Titans were so keen on me dispatching so much unique, adorable wildlife). The wide number and variety of missions you receive, from killing monsters to finding and creating unique items means you will never want for something to do. Castaway 2 is the sort of game where you tell yourself you are going to stop soon, except you just need to find one more iron ingot, so you can craft the Magical Monster-Bopper of Bopping, and hey, where does that gate lead to? It's not the sort of game you can pick up and drop during a coffee break (unless you're more disciplined than I), but for such simple gameplay, it's engrossing.
Fans of the original Castaway will find much they like from the first game, plus many improvements. The somewhat confusing isometric map has been replaced by a more straightforward square grid, which works a lot better with keyboard controls. The game auto-saves between screens, so you no longer have to worry about backtracking to town every time you want to save your progress before a dangerous battle. And while Castaway 2 still involves a lot of grinding, the steeper power curve moves things along, and the addition of crafting and crafting missions adds variety to the monster killing.
Castaway 2 isn't the deepest RPG around, but it's perfect for casual fans of the genre. The Isle of the Titans has a lot to do and a lot to see, and will keep casual RPG players well occupied. Just don't let it suck you in too much, or you might find that you suffer some light amnesia of your own.