Freemium mobile games typically create a lot of controversy. Critics cite lack of gameplay mechanics, pay-to-win mechanics and ridiculous pricing models as the main thorn in the genre’s side. This is particularly true of EA mobile games, which have a terrible history of objectifying their players (i.e. Dungeon Keeper Mobile). EA is back with Minions: Paradise, a mobile game that they hope will make amends for the past.
Minions: Paradise is an original story within the Despicable Me universe. The Minions are partying on a cruise ship until Phil crashes it. Marooned on an island, Phil must create the ultimate resort in order to win back his friends. It’s best to think of Paradise like you would The Simpsons: Tapped Out. You’re given a set amount of land to build on, and then tasked with populating that land with buildings, attractions and different set-dressing. Minons shares a lot of its DNA with Tapped Out, but there are a few things Paradise does to distinguish itself from other titles.
Scattered around the island are special mini-games players can participate in. These are simple little activities that feature a simple one touch interface. In the demo, one of the minions went fishing and his bait was caught by an alligator. Minions became a skiing game for a few seconds with me tapping the screen to avoid rocks and collect coins.
Paradise also hopes to distinguish itself through its pay model. There’s still a premium currency (gold doubloons), but there aren’t crazy pay-walls. A developer told me that all characters can be purchased via the normal currency (sand dollars). Gold doubloons are primarily used for speeding up activities and buildings.
EA has a grand plan for Minions: Paradise at launch and beyond. There are three main islands to explore, plus the Villain Island. Once acquired, players can start unlocking villains and building their specific buildings. It’s a pretty big package on day one, and will only get bigger as time goes on.
Minions: Paradise is a good looking mobile game with pleasantly detailed models and textures. Special detail has been given to the minion’s animations. They’re hilarious and vary depending on the activities they’re tasked with. It’s a cute game with plenty of charm.
Time will tell whether Minions: Paradise can be the redemption EA’s mobile titles so desperately needs. Based on the demo, I found Paradise to be a charming mobile title that kids will fall in love with. EA says there won’t be a huge paywall on most of the content and that sounds like a step in the right direction.