ISLANDERS: Console Edition
Developer: Grizzly Games
Genre(s): Strategy, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PS4/5, Xbox One, Series X/S and Windows)
Age Rating: PEGI 3+
Release Date: 11/08/21
A code was provided for review purposes.
Starting Island Life
ISLANDERS: Console Edition is a unique strategy game that has you building up your own island city. Grizzly Games have done a good job of keeping things simplistic and approachable for newcomers whilst also keeping it challenging for fans of the genre. Its relaxing and minimalist approach will have you spending countless hours with your randomly generated islands; being the mastermind behind your own creations and thinking strategically will be the difference between success and failure.
You start off with a fairly small island which is all randomly generated. Each time you start over you’ll get another untouched piece of land. You’ll notice a score in the bottom left and it’s this area you’ll want to keep an eye on. The object of the game is to place your buildings in a way that will accumulate the highest possible score, granting you access to a bigger island with more buildings and a higher score threshold. You get the option of choosing between two different building types. Each one will hold a varying number of buildings. After a few rounds, you’ll get to grips with the different types on offer.
Certain buildings will achieve a higher score when placed around other structures, on the flip side of that there are also certain buildings that will decrease the value. Once you’ve achieved the required score you have the option of moving to a larger island to start over whilst still adding to your existing score, or you can stay on the current one and build to your heart’s content.
Building Your Cosy Island
In addition to this, you’ve got the sandbox mode which gives you the freedom to create any building type; with no need to worry about scoring and moving along to additional islands. It has a simple graphical style and easy pick-up-and-play nature, making ISLANDERS: Console Edition perfect for handheld sessions. I found myself having a quick half an hour before bed or whilst the other half catches up with some TV; it’s crazy how fast the time flies!
You can control the camera freely zooming in and out to a comfortable level and rotating around your island to ensure you’re utilising all of your space well. This can really help when you get to the larger islands as the score threshold will continually creep up. There is enough variety within the building types so that it feels fresh but also familiar after a few rounds. Learning which types will net you the highest score when placed next to one another is half the battle.
The only thing I can honestly critique, but this is entirely dependent on the type of game you’re looking for, would be its simplistic approach. It would have been good to see further expansions with the types of environment you can build upon or potentially a couple of other game modes. Once you’re on a roll with the building side of things you can waste hours on your islands, but the thought of having to start from scratch each time can feel a little tedious. It’s the kind of game you’ll jump into if you’re feeling indecisive or perhaps you don’t want to have a huge story and heavy engagement.
The developers over at Grizzly Games have created something very accessible for all types of gamers; so if you’re looking for that creative itch to be scratched then look no further than ISLANDERS: Console Edition.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can pick up your copy of Islanders from the Nintendo eShop here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.