The Sims Castaway Stories features either a story-driven mode titled "Shipwrecked and Single" to a more sandbox "Wanmami Island".
Shipwrecked and Single
In "Shipwrecked and Single" mode, the player is subjected to a scenario-driven style of gameplay. The player must choose to play as David Bennett, Jessica Knight, or create a customized Sim, who boards a cruise ship for singles named Solomon Queen, only to have it crash and leave them drifting on the ocean clinging to a steamer trunk. The crate happens to float onto land, after which the player is left to help the Sim survive. From there, there are short movie scenes throughout the game.
Gameplay on Wanamami Island is much more open-ended, enabling gameplay reminiscent of more traditional Sims games. The player is allowed to design their own Sims and start families as in The Sims or The Sims 2.
Comparison to other The Sims series
- The clock format used in the game is represented visually instead of numerically. There are 8 orbs representing the 24 hours of the day, with 1 orb being equivalent to 3 hours.
- The currency used in the game are Resources rather than Simoleons. Sims can choose a career as a Gatherer, Hunter, or Crafter in an effort to earn Food and Resources. All jobs have the same working hours and Sims are to work daily. However, there are no penalties for missing work.
- All of the objects, clothing, and building tools available in the Sims series are designed to fit the Tropical and Tiki themes. Also, most of the icons used in the game are also designed to fit into the theme.
- If a Sim wants to go to a community lot, they must go through a portal and go to adjacent lots, or they can simply use their map for instant travel.
- Unlike the other releases in the The Sims Stories series, The Sims Castaway Stories offers one 24-chapter story, compared to the Sims Life Stories and Pet Stories which offer two 12-chapter stories. Moreover, some of the rewards are not directly delivered to the main character. They have to dig at the shore to unlock them.
- The Sims Castaway allows multiple player profiles to be saved, saving the need to delete profiles to reset the game.