A few months ago, back when Moana was just hitting theaters, we got wind of a game that had soft launched in several countries on mobile. A game about farming. A game about island living. To say that we, the Disney gaming community, were excited is an understatement. So we waited…and waited…and waited, until today, seemingly out of nowhere, the game dropped at our digital front door and we jumped in to a new island life. I’m going to level with you here, Moana: Island Life is EXTREMELY similar to Farmville: Tropic Escape AND Paradise Bay. In fact, if you like those games and are looking for something very similar, I’d say just skip this review and go ahead and download this game. You will love it. But if you’re on the fence, let’s take a closer look at what makes this island life worth living.
In Island Life, you find yourself on a new island sometime after the events of Moana, ready to shape the world as you see fit and build a new civilization from the ground up. As a wayfinder, you’ll plant crops, build buildings, fish and create in order to grow your civilization across the island itself.
Like many of these games, you’ll start with very limited resources, making only simple rope at first and harvesting basic crops. You’ll use these small items to fulfill quests as well as make more complex items in order to fulfill more difficult order. At its core, this is a resource management game. As you build your little settlement, you’ll be working to find the most efficient ways to fulfill the needs of your island’s people, while not over producing past your limits.
Throughout this whole affair, you’ll also be joined by favorite characters from the Moana franchise. And as much as I hate to say it, that sort of is what makes the difference here. It’s one thing to play Paradise Bay and complete a quest for a random pirate, but here, you’ll be completing quests for Maui and Heihei and others. It all feels a bit more personal for a Disney lover like myself. And while the graphics are nothing to write home about, they are enough to make me feel right at home, learning about these characters after the events of the movie.
Like many games of this nature, you’ll get hooked quick. You’re constantly leveling up, earning new rewards and new possibilities for customizing your island. This makes it possible to really make your island feel unique to you early on. You’ll also be leveling up your relationship with each character you meet, which means that they too will give you various rewards.
To top this off, you’ll also be earning achievements, completing quests and even selling excess goods on the market to other players. All this is to say that there is frequently a lot you can do, and while there are timers on things that get progressively longer, as I roll towards level 10, I don’t feel particularly bogged down in timers. In many ways, it’s a welcome time to take a short break and scavenge the island, where you’ll find small sea creatures and starfish do give you bonus xp, as well as less frequent treasure chests filled with goodies.
Before long, you’ll have a functioning system down, and I am happy to say that just looking around the outer rims of the game, where you’ll find secrets awaiting your leveling up, there seems to be a lot of content here. I’m excited to delve more into the game, and so far I’ve found it to be very inviting. My only real concern might be that the game is so similar to others of its type, it may get overlooked, but I’ll need to progress a bit further to see if that remains the case. I’d also love to know that the game will receive continued support as often times, games that are more specific to a single series like this, get updated less often. Only time will tell.
If you love Moana or if you love farming sims, you owe it to yourself to try this free to download game. It’s worth a gander and is easy to get into. With a very comprehensive tutorial, I found myself the master of a small farming utopia in no time at all. So jump in, plant some mangos, and let me know what you think of the game in the comments below!