An isometric action adventure RPG, Castaway 2 incorporates a colourful anime style and some pleasant stirring music (initially at least - the opportunity to turn it off after a couple of hours gameplay is a godsend) that makes it clear from the off that you're dealing with a polished, accomplished effort. The game looks and plays like a slightly watered down version of one of the Zelda games on GameBoy or DS, and that can only be a good thing.
Playing as [opportunity to insert own inevitable rude name here], you begin the game mysteriously stranded on a desert island with no clue as to where you've been, or indeed where you're going. The only thing for it is to wander about a bit, pick a few things up, and introduce the local wildlife to an assortment of lethal weaponry.
Winning battles or completing quests (of which there are almost 100) will gain your character experience, which is converted into Stat Points (allowing upgrades to attack, defence, agility and magic abilities) and Skill Points (the chance to learn new fighting techniques or spells) which you can use to customise your character.
New to Castaway 2 is the opportunity to craft additional items by combining the things you've found. The game suggests you experiment to see what you can concoct yourself, which unfortunately doesn't work so well. Seemingly sensible combinations I tried throwing together failed on countless occasions, and I soon lost interest in trying.
Fighting consists of simply pressing the space bar to attack with your chosen weapon, plus using the assigned hotkeys to activate any spells and special attacks you've acquired. Battling bravely by your side is one of a variety of pets, whose assistance is vital in getting past the many enemies you'll come across.
And this is one of the gripes I have with the game - there are too many enemies. Almost as if used to artificially elongate the experience, Castaway 2 throws monster after monster in your direction, to the extent that battling them becomes a chore - especially when you discover every creature you've meticulously bludgeoned to death has respawned the next time you re-enter an area. Scrambling around trying to avoid trouble is possible, but the need to gain experience means this isn't a long-term solution.
My other complaint would be the map system. It's irritatingly easy to get lost, and I often found myself wandering around aimlessly, hoping to chance across an area I hadn't visited before. A more detailed map would be an improvement, perhaps supplemented by some icons indicating uncompleted quests, locked gates or points of interest.
Whilst not exactly original, Castaway 2 offers hours and hours of gameplay to those that want it. Some more puzzle-solving elements would be nice to break up the occasionally repetitive wandering-around-and-hacking-at-things gameplay, but on the whole it's a fun experience that wouldn't be out of place on a handheld console.
Creators Likwid Games made a point of engaging with the fanbase to help improve on the first Castaway game, and with some tweaks and new inclusions, the next installment of the series could be something very special indeed. Play Castaway 2 here.