Hands On The Sims 3

Island Paradise – It is a pack for everyone.

A big thanks as always to EA UK and EA Benelux for arranging these great events, as well as to @SimGuruGraham and @SimGuruSmitty for taking the time to speak with us.

When we were first introduced to Island Paradise, houseboats were the main feature we were told about. But after playing the expansion pack I have to say its not even one of the most important features.

There are loads of just as big features. There are resorts, mermaids, building lots on the beach, houseboats, scuba diving including underwater diving spots, allll the different ways to travel on the water, uncharted islands, adventures, water and beach activities.


First resorts. Yes it will satisfy your Open for Business desire to micro manage. You can micromanage everything from what food you serve to how much you want to spend on your maintenance staff. Or to just deal with all the upkeep yourself to make the most profit. You can start a resort in two ways, become a resort owner or turn a private lot you already own into a resort.

Becoming a resort owner does not cost you anything I believe, you get a low star resort that you have to fix up and make great/profitable. You get a lot with a lobby, some amenities, a room and the resort rabbit hole. Check the reviews and you will see that people want different food (can set one type of food per buffet table), or hot tubs. As you add amenities you star rating will go up, however the game does not give a list of like ‘you need all these amenities for a good rating’. We will be making a guide on all the amenities as soon as we get the game!

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The second way is more for the rich Sims! You can now buy a second (or third or fifth) residential lot when you have enough funds. This lot then becomes a private lot which can be turned into a resort when you want, or back into a home. What you can also do is move your household to this lot which then becomes your home. The lot that was your home then becomes a private lot.

To summarize, you have 1 home lot, the rest of the residential lots you own are private lots. Then you can own business lots (introduced in Ambitions) which you cannot turn into resorts.

Ok so you have a resort, you have pretty amenities on your lot. Then you have to maintain it! This is where those that love to micromanage (and loved Open for Business) will really get a kick out of this pack. I saw 4 different places where Sims have to work on the lot. Reception desk, pool bar, drinks bar and maintenance. For each of this you can hire a Sim, you can decide  how much you want to pay per day, a low quality maintenance worker only costs 25 per day but might not clean or fix much! The reception desk clerk you actually pay per shift, morning and afternoon shift cost 25 for the Sim currently maning the desk while the night shift cost more.

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This does mean that you can decide that your family of Sims can run the resort during the day and the night is covered by NPC. Can even give the NPC a nice uniform and edit that uniform.

If that was not enough micromanagement yet, there is also an overview of your daily finances and occupancy of your resort.

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Mermaids are gorgeous, they have a tail in the water and out the water they have just scales on their legs. Their special power is that they can swim as long as they want underwater without running out of oxygen. And after a dive to the depth of a dive lot they do not have to depressurize (regular Sims do, meaning they cannot dive again for 2h)


Also instead of hygiene, they have the hydration need. They need to be in the water every once in a while or they die of dehydration.Screenshot-172

For the builders.

Builders are going to be super happy with this expansion pack. Naturally they can work on resorts and build a fantastic resort. But there are house boats and houses on the water edge.


Houseboats can be as quirky as you want. Most of the houseboats we saw in the hands on time were like 4 floors high. These boats do not capsize, truly the boats that will never sink.

You can also have 1 floor below deck if you like. There is one small restriction, pools can not be built on the ground floor (or below deck). You can have community lots, rabbit holes, festival lots. Resorts might be difficult as you do need quite a bit of space for them with all the amenities and the rabbit hole.


If you have pets, Graham told us that they will be fine with living on a houseboat. However, if you want to keep horses on a houseboat, they are too big to walk across the gangway, so they will get their own boat to board the houseboat.

Building lots on the water edge.

This is such a great new feature, your house is on the edge of the coast but you have full controll over the terrain. Meaning you can change the coastline a bit if you like!


Underwater lots

This IS for the advanced users and requires some lotunlocking cheats, similar to tombs in World adventures. All I managed was to create a few lots and give them the diving spot characteristic (one of them was on land… I suspect that is a bug that will be removed). These underwater lots have caves that you can explore, similar to how you can explore a mausoleum. In these caves you can find nice items, travel to another under water lot. I wonder if you can get attacked by an animal too, like you can in the tomb.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is one of the new big skills and can help you find hidden treasures very deep into the ocean (so deep that you cannot build diving lots in any other worlds, not even in upcoming store worlds). You start off snorkling till lvl 4, then you can dive down on dive lots and exploring. Be careful of sharks! You can find fish, hidden treasures, maybe a mermaid. With The Sims 3 Ambitions installed you can even be a self-employed diver as the restaurant and science buildings have some dive work for you!


Water and Beach Activities

There is a lot of emphasize in this pack on the new water activities. Scuba diving as mentioned earlier, but also splash each other in the water, windsurfing, jetskis, waterskiing (athletic skill). speedboats. The storytellers are going to love all these new activities. Though if you spend a long time with your boat out in the water, you might get attacked by a kraken. This attack equals a meteor attack, meaning super super rare! In all the time I have played The Sims 3 I have had only two meteor attacks happen.






A beach needs a lifeguard and this is the new profession that came with Island Paradise. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but my Sim was a lifeguard and she would patrol a beach (they run or walk from one side of the beach to the other) Only… there were no other Sims that were drowning! So I could not see the lifeguard in action. Though they do get a baywatch slowmotion run when they go up the career.

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Uncharted Islands

There are many ways to discover the new islands, but sadly simply going to them with a boat unlocks only 1 of the many islands. There are also treasure maps, or if you befriend a mermaid she will guide you to one of them. When you discover an island it will turn into a private lot for you, which you can then turn into your home or a resort.


Private lots

Private lots are a new lot type and it comes down to you being able to own several residential lots. One of these lots will be your home, the rest are like vacation homes (or house boats). This is perfect for rich Sims because very often after a few generations you have to wonder what you will spend all their money on!


Hidden Gems

In every The Sims expansion pack it’s the little gameplay details that really matter. In Island Paradise, you can finally move your Sim family to another town, for just 20,000 Simoleons. Found this one together with @simparool 😀

TS3W 2013-05-29 16-00-48-43Edit: @Simgurugraham has confirmed that this hidden gem gets added to everyone’s game in the patch!

There is MORE!

Island Paradise was a huge pack, so keep watching our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next few days for more information and exclusive screenshots and videos.


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  • Island Paradise just keeps impressing me! Moving to a different town will benefit my current households SO much! Thank you to the producers who included this with the pack!!!!!!!