Coral Isle has one of the deepest systems I've ever seen in a Flash game.
It is not often, I get to see this kind of depth as far as inventory, questing, gifting, farming, feeding, helping and building goes in a Flash/Browser based Facebook game. As far as "Builder" style games go, Coral Isle has a very rich, interesting and complex system underneath it's relatively simple facade. You may need to even get a guide online or join some Facebook Groups to help because there are a lot of tips and tricks to mastering this island! Well, four islands actually. The Crash Site, Wolf Island and Icey Mountain were the first three. Now there is a new land just added called The Highlands.
My wife was the one that initially discovered the game on Facebook and it has a lot of promise by the looks of things. The graphics are pretty standard for a quality Facebook Flash game, although the objects and environments in this game are very highly detailed and beautifully fleshed out. The artwork is shaded well and gives good realism.
The developers, a company called QuartSoft have definately exploited all they can from Adobe Flash. The sunflowers really look like sunflowers and tomato's look like tomatoes, so the detail is definately there. That is not what is most impressive about this game though. It's the gameplay itself.
What starts out as a simple enough builder game in the beginning and a seemingly vanilla cookie cutter game, eventually turns into a game that goes much, much further. It takes time and patience to progress because they don't just hand you everything. You have to grind and grind to progress and it helps to have lots and lots of neighbors. That said though, the amount of inventory, work, quests, gifts, crafting, secrets and just "stuff to do" is simply staggering!
You'll need, as I mentioned lots of neighbors as this game has a heavy social help aspect to it and their are lots and lots of items to collect and things to make, with those items. To do it all with just a couple of neighbors is too hard and you will hate the game as a result because of very slow progress. This game has a lot of inventory to collect for different quests, so neighbors help tremondously in that aspect. If you don't have neighbors, you are sunk and will quit. I've seen it happen.
Don't worry though about not having many neighbors. There are Facebook "Add Me" type pages out there where other people looking for neighbours also go, to find more neighbors. Try to get a good mix of high, middle and low level neighbors, as different items will be available from each sometimes. Higher and middle level players are a must however due to more variety of items available on their islands.
You start out as one character (named Boy) stranded on deserted island and you quickly discover there is a girl who you found knocked out on the beach, who is called, you guessed it, Girl. Then there is Grandma. All three starting characters can all be given invidual tasks. From chopping wood to gathering stone to cooking, it gets to be a very busy island.
Remember I said that the game was deep and complex? How's 69 pages of possible dishes to cook for the survivors strike you?! How does that kind of inventory depth in other buildings strike you? Oh how I love a broad range of choices and this game has got a ton of choice. Many of those item choices/creations have a purpose in the game too. If not now, then later.
Other characters also follow to add to the staggering amount of work that needs to be done to survive: A Stewardess, a Soldier and a Nerd, (all from the plane crash that put you on this Island), in addition to a Native from the Island. The game loses a point for it's lack of name originality, but it is original and good in so many other ways, I pay it little mind.
What makes the game interesting more so than other builders, is the crafting aspect. Most quest objects require multiple parts and finding them can be rather unique. Especially when visiting neighbors. Depending on what buildings you choose to harvest while visiting neighbors, you have chances to get special items that you either need, or are part of collection or quest. Similar to old Cityville's or Farmville's collections that you can get.
Examples of this would be if you needed Energy. You would go to your neighbours Pottery building (if they have one), to get Chocolate Bars which are worth 2 Energy each. Another much better example would be, let's say you need Rope or Water, then you would visit your neighbour's Lighthouse. If you don't get special loot from a building that offers what you are looking for, then you get Friendium, the standard loot when visiting neighbors. It is also useful in the game and we will get to that later.
Most items on the map are moveable which makes for a nice level of customization. The flexibility in this game is quite decent. You can even spell out your name (or name the island or whatever) in wood letters and diamond decorations behind them. Same can be done with torches and it makes for a cool effect. I asked my wife to be my Valentine on my Isle, thank's to another user's idea. She loved it!
WARNING TIP!!! If you decide to play this game do not cut down all your food or material producing trees! You need that stuff and if you cut it all down, you cannot progress and have basically broken the game. Not unless you buy some trees to replace them and they are not cheap.
What goes into a good quality Facebook Flash builder-type game is a ton of work. The database management system in this game, is truly something of excellence and worth mentioning because it is at the very core of what makes this game great. It keeps track of many things at once and never loses track. It is large and broad. Another good example of this ambitious style of game development would be the fact that they actually have a trading system built in too and even achievements! It is quite something for being a simple Facebook game.
The trading system is where the Friendium I mentioned earlier comes in. If you join a Facebook group called Coral Isle Help Group, The Adventure Continues, then you can spend Friendium on things you or your neighbors need by posting your trade offers on that page and also friend requests for more neighbors etc. In turn, they spend their Friendium on what you need. A unique aspect that I think brings a different sort of social aspect to the game. There are many pages dedicated to this game, so help is not far away.
All in all, it is an unique Facebook builder-style game and certainly worth a look. Especially if you are a fan of this style of game, but want something a little different and more challenging. This game is not just a builder/farmer game but survival too. In closing I think no Facebook game review would be complete (not mine anyway.) without mentioning the progression/payment aspect.
The game does offer "pearls" that you can buy with real money to make in-game purchases, but it is not necessary, as it a free game and is not a "pay to win" type game. You can progress fine without paying too, and you can still get pearls for free from some quests and achievements you will just have to work harder and wait. If you visit and have a lot of neighbors you can literally play for hours on end by hitting Potteries for energy.
So, try it out and don't give up on it right away thinking it is just another boring builder. Some people make that mistake with this game because it is tough and slow in the beginning due to the typical grind. Once you level up some, though it's anything but boring. There is a lot to do. A whole lot! It just keeps opening up and getting bigger and more interesting.
Update: Still loving this Facebook game and still playing it heavily. One of the best builder/sim games on Facebook. The engine has just been updated, it is smoother and more intuitive than ever. These are developers that care about their game because it shows in the the updates and workings of the game. The engine is second to none.
Sheila WyattNovember 25, 2015, 8:07 pmGreat that you like this game so much, so do I- but, no neighbours- I genuinely cannot get my friends to play. Would love to be your neighbour, add me
billd75November 27, 2015, 4:11 pmContributorSure! No problem. I can add you. However, there are lots of Sheila Wyatt's on Facebook? There is also an excellent group for that too on Facebook. People post add me all the time in there and you can get tons of neighbors. It is called: Coral Isle Help Group, The Adventure Continues. It might be easier to add me as there are not as many of me on Facebook. My name is Bill Dent and my Facebook profile currently has the header pic "We're all mad here" with the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.