Hippies, huggable trees and hard sell: Island life is no picnic
Eden Isle: Resort Paradise (iOS) ★★★★ Age: 12+
App stores are littered with cash grabs: greedy psychological manipulators masquerading as free entertainment. The best free-to-play games (Hearthstone, etc) pull in millions of dollars a day in revenue without picking your pocket.
Management sim Eden Isle tries to stay on the right side of that line, offering up a tropical island ripe for transformation into a lively resort. It's a familiar premise - build accommodation, provide facilities, attract guests, reap the profits, rinse and repeat.
But Dublin developer Simteractive freshens a well-worn idea with flashes of humour and lovingly illustrated visuals. From the guest vignettes (eg, planning a wedding, protecting butterflies) to the wacky demands (the hipsters who require a Beard Artistry Centre), Eden Isle doesn't take itself too seriously. Except when it comes to the hard sell.
Like all free-to-play apps, it has to make a living and misses no opportunity to encourage the player to spend a bob or 10.