Icebreak Games Brings Players the Farm of Their Dreams in Paradise Life

Paradise Life is a new Facebook social game released by Icebreak Games, developers of the successful Cafe Life. The new title does an effective job of reverse engineering the mechanics that have made FrontierVille and now CityVille into hits, but with small additions that should help make the game do well in its own right.

You start off on a small island teeming with trees, plants, and debris to clean up. There are fish to catch, grass, plants and rocks to clear out, as well as trees to chop for lumber and various kinds of trash. In the process of clearing out your land, you sometimes run into wild animals that require chasing off before you can continue clear-cutting your island.

Apart from those island game features, the basics of Paradise Life boil down to farming. You have crops to plant and harvest, and can nurture animals and trees, consuming energy for every action.  Both income and experience points come from performing these actions, as well as doingquests.

The building mechanics that are now standard to many sims are also present, with the completion of some buildings tied to special items gifted by friends or bought with “shells”, the premium currency in Paradise Life that can only be purchased with Facebook credits.

The social aspect of Paradise Life are also fully fleshed out, with a parallel leveling system fueled by “Favor”, points of which are collected when you visit neighbors and help out around their islands. You can also “hire” a neighbor to complete tasks on your farm, with the amount of work they do determined by favor levels.

There are also the traditional social mechanics of sending or trading gift items with friends to complete buildings and item sets.  For now, Paradise Life is also saturated with pop-ups asking you to publish whatever action you just performed.

Additional features make Paradise Life truly feel like an island-based version of FrontierVille. Debris and wild plants and trees continue to appear randomly as you play, requiring you to expend energy removing them on a daily basis. You also have a chance of uncovering special “collection” items while harvesting or clearing out your land. If you manage to gather all pieces of a collection item “set”, then you get an extra bonus consisting of resources and a special decorative item. If you’re out of energy, you can also buy energy with “food points” that are earned when you collect crops and fruit.

One FrontierVille-inspired feature that hasn’t appeared in many games since is the family. In Paradise Life’s menu bar is an option to view “My Family”, which shows a family tree with empty spots for a spouse and some children.  Of course, this mechanic originally appeared in the SNES title Harvest Moon, which allows you to find a mate to help out around the farm and eventually produce offspring, who also grow up to assist in the daily chores.

The look of Paradise Life is very much cute, simple, and colorful. The graphics give a bright, warm feeling to the game, and nothing looks out of place. There don’t seem to be any noticeable issues with the game, apart from it being sometimes difficult to click on certain items when you are doing a series of actions.

Altogether, Paradise Life has made many improvements to now-standard farming and island mechanics game without becoming overly complex or hard to learn. So far it’s doing well, having picked up 254,121 monthly active users since launching in late November.