Previews: The Sims 3: Island Paradise preview

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 19:15


EA recently invited us to play The Sims 3: Island Paradise! As you can imagine I was quite excited for this pack. And once again I'm blown away by all the awesome new stuff in this expansion. I will try my best to show you what this pack has to offer. I didn't get to try everything but that just shows that the pack has so much to offer, right? Well go on, go read my preview about The Sims 3 Island Paradise! I took Rosie Sim with me to the event, and you can see her on several screenshots having the time of her life in Isla Paradiso!


I am loving all the new hair and new clothing in this pack. As you can see there is a variety of styles. Of course everything is fitted for this world. Clothing for summer and also lots of new swimwear. Look at the cute stuff for women:

And The Sims team didn't forget men either:

Here's some of the new hairdos:

There is even new stuff for kids. See below:

I'm loving the new tattoos:

There is also a new skin colour, which is the skin tone that mermaids use:

New glasses for adults:

And for all ages (well except the youngsters) there is diving equipment:

Buy Mode

Of course a lot of objects have something to do with resorts or boats. One of the main new objects in the game is the All-in-one-bathroom. This bathroom has a shower and toilet. It's a 1x1 sized object. On top of all this awesomeness, your Sims can also woohoo and try for a baby in this 1x1 object. How cool is that?!

Another cool new object is a new camera. This new camera allows your Sim to take pictures underwater!

A perfect new object for resorts is the firewalk pit. Sims can walk on hot coal by using this.

What I noticed in this pack is that there are a lot of unique prints and things. So not just recolors of a painting with one print in it, but several different prints. I love that! It's the same for clothing though. There is more variety in things and makes everything just that bit more unique.

You also need to check out the roof decorations tab, because there are a couple of nice new additions there as well.

Boats. Boats. And more boats. Of course, what would a tropical expansion be without boats? And it would be very boring if everyone would own the same boat, right? Yeah I think the people who work on this game thought the same thing, because there is a whole new category under vehicles for boats. There are paddleboats, boat trailers, rowboats, aqua sleds, sailboats and speedboats. Fun for everyone!

Also, if you don't have a boat, but want to boat somewhere, a taxi boat will pick you up and get you there:

If you use cheats, you can see a new category under buydebug, which is Underwater Objects. This category contains a lot of the objects you can see underwater (well, what did you expect?)

Other buydebug categories also have new objects in them. There are plenty of new spawners. They will be perfect for builders and world creators. Happy

Build Mode

There are a bunch of new walls, roof styles, doors, windows, foundation, columns, pool items, fences, gates, stairs, terrain paint textures and lots more.

Here are the new roof patterns:

Check out the new doors and windows:

Digging this surfin' fence:

And here is the new foundation:

I am loving some of the new walls:

There aren't any new floors. I did spot new patterns though!

One of the new "stairs" is a ladder. The other stairs look nice too. But the ladder is especially useful on house boats, as the space is limited and the ladder only takes up a 1x1 square.

What is a paradise world without new pool toys? The pool department has been expanded with a pool bar and waterfalls. The pool bar is literally a bar next to the pool. Your Sim can be served a drink while sitting on a bar stool in the pool! The pool bar can be tended by someone else, or by your own Sim. That is really up to you. The waterfalls are very cool and there are several types of waterfalls to add. Besides the new waterfalls and bar, there are also two new slides. Whoop whoop!



Every time I am building a house I am bummed by the lack of choice in garage doors. I am guessing I am not the only one with this problem and that is why I am *so happy* that The Sims Studio added not one but two (!) new garage doors in this pack. One is a variation of the one from the base game, wooden with squares on it. And the other one is a glass one. So pretty! This will go perfect with my modern homes!

Trees, new palm trees but also other pretty trees:

Isla Paradiso

So in The Sims 3: island Paradise there is an all new world. It's called Isla Paradiso and you will notice that it's got a lot of islands. Now you probably know that some time ago the option was added for Sims to swim in the ocean. Well in Island Paradise you also have boats and you can travel around using those boats to go from island to island. Isla Paradiso is huge. Or at least it seems huge when you just enter this world. I spent a few hours in the game trying my best to see, learn and discover everything but I just couldn't. As for Isla Paradiso, it's the same. I wanted to see everything but I just couldn't. I did take a few shots of random buildings but I don't know what everything is yet haha.

House Boats

House boats are completely new in The Sims 3: Island Paradise. House boats are lots on the water. As a Dutchie I totally love this. In The Netherlands we have plenty of people living in house boats so it couldn't be closer to home. I never lived in a house boat myself though, but have always found this so interesting!

So house boats are not just lots on the water. You can actually move them around the world, over water. When you place a boat helm you can control the boat. This allows you to go onto the ocean to go swimming or fishing, or other activities such as scuba diving.

Here is my Sim going around the world with the house boat:

House boats can be residential and also community lots. So if you want, you can build a restaurant on a boat. But to move the boat around, you need to be the owner.

As soon as I have Island Paradise myself, I will write a quick tutorial how to make house boats from scratch, as I found it rather confusing in the beginning.

Here are some pics of other house boats in Isla Paradiso:


In The Sims 3 Island Paradise there are so many resorts where your Sim can go. Not only can Sims visit a resort. They can also start their own resort. Resorts come in various sizes and various levels of luxury. To start a resort, you need to add some commodities. These are available in several styles. 

To create a resort, all you need is a residential lot or an island. You can use your phone to open up a resort. Choose the option "Become a Resort Owner" for that and it will give you the choice which lot to build the resort on. You can also go to map view (zoom out) and choose "Convert to Resort" from there. I did this with my island.

Once you own a resort, you can build on it! In your Buy Mode you can now also find a new icon (next to vehicles) where you can find special resort items. Be sure to make your resort pretty with decorations, as decorations give your resort a higher rating!

You can customize the clothing for the resort staff by clicking the front desk (the reception object). But you can also click a separate Sim and choose a special outfit for that Sim. This is so awesome and it really reminds me of The Sims 2: Open for Business. In a way, resorts are a bit like Open for Business. You can run your own hotel and have staff and everything.

You have staff for the front desk, for cleaning, for maintaining the pool bar and so on. If you want to, you can hire a Sim for every task. But if you want to keep it a family business, you can choose to have everyone in the family work at the resort instead. For the front desk, food stand and bar the game will automatically hire people. But you can always choose to have other Sims fill the position.

I love resorts. I also have The Sims 3: World Adventures and love playing that. But we're so limited to going to a special, themed world and with The Sims 3: Island Paradise you can also sort of send your Sim off to a resort and have them enjoy a vacation there instead. It's so neat!

Resorts have star ratings, and the star rating will go up if you do better. Sims love to be entertained so you need to make sure there is enough fun and entertainment for them on the resort lot. You can set the resort price level, from affordable to moderate to expensive.

If you price it too high you might miss out on new guests if your resort isn't good enough. You can also customize the look of the rabbithole buildings, however these come with just 3 options (I would rather have seen CAStable buildings but three variations are better than just one). Sims can review their stay at the resort and this will determine the star rating as far as I know.

But you can also upgrade your resort buildings if you have enough money, and I think this also contributes to the star level. There is the option for room service at resorts. You can decide whether or not you want this for your resort. The pool bar can have someone work shifts, but it's not required.

Everything that requires work from staff costs money. As your resort gets better you earn more money and with that you can then improve the resort again or hire more staff.

Oh yeah and don't be surprised if one of the guests just goes sunbathing on the floor:

I spotted this perfect wedding place at my own resort:

Additional ownable lots

In The Sims 3: Island Paradise you can not only own a regular lot, you can also own a house boat. And a resort. And several islands. I haven't been able to test just how many lots you can own, but according to Graham Nardone who we spoke with during the Skype session, we can own as many lots as we want!


There are new blueprints in The Sims 3: Island Paradise. Some of them are perfect for resorts!


There is a new profession in this pack, and it's the lifeguard profession. So it's not like a regular career where you go to a rabbithole building and disappear until the end of your shift. You actually go to the beach to watch out for Sims who go in the water. During the demo, no one drowned. But if Sims are drowning, a lifeguard can save them. The profession can be compared to the professions from The Sims 3: Ambitions.

Scuba Diving

There are new skills in this expansion, and one of them is the Scuba Diving skill. It's a normal skill like any other and can be acquired when your Sim is a teen or older. Mermaids have scuba diving at level 10 so they don't need to learn the skill. To scuba dive at some of the diving spots, your Sim needs to reach a certain level (I thought it was level 3), otherwise it's too dangerous for them.

Once you can go underwater it's so cool:

I had my male mermaid explore one of those coves underwater. He found some neat things along the way and even ended up in another dive spot. So sometimes the coves can function as some sort of worm hole.

For your entertainment, here are some more underwater screenies:


I didn't spot the shark until the end of our play time. And when I came across it, I only spotted it while I was playing with a mermaid. And mermaids can't be eaten by sharks so except for watching the shark, I didn't get to see any action there unfortunately.


As you might know there are some new ways to die. One of them is by being devoured by the Kraken. Unfortunately I didn't come across this one. But as I've heard during the Skype session, the Kraken doesn't appear often. It's a bit like the meteor. If you stay out long enough it may strike you, and it's the same with the kraken. If you stay in the water long enough, there is an increased chance of seeing the Kraken. There's a new challenge for you!

You can also befriend the Kraken. For this you will need to have enough lifetime points. Then you can buy the lifetime reward to befriend the Kraken. Once you are friends, the Kraken will never bother your boat when you are on it and you can even influence it to attack someone else's boat. Woah!


In every expansion pack, The Sims Studio introduces at least one new special creature. In this pack it's the mermaid. Mermaids look a bit white, pale and their legs have scales on them. Their legs are also coloured and as I found while playing with my own mermaids, the colour of the scales change when Sims reach a new age. But then again I heard that you can edit the appearance of mermaids (scale colour and top) in CAS.





When a mermaid becomes a teen, they get the scuba diving skill at level 10 and they can go dive underwater:

As a child, my mermaid Sim couldn't scuba dive, but she could do a lot of other fun things in the water:

I also found that my teen got the mermaid tail while swimming. As a child I tried to let her swim to see if she had a tail, but she didn't.

So I think it's safe to say that from teen and up mermaids will have a tail instead of legs when they enter the water.

I had my Rosie Sim hook up with one of the mermaid men from Isla Paradiso. They tried for a baby and succeeded at the first try. It was quite exciting while waiting as I didn't know what to expect and what would come out haha. When it was finally time to go to the hospital, I was ready to see the baby. Well the baby turned out to be quite white as well, just like her daddy. I named her Ariel btw. I know Isla Paradiso already has a (red haired) Ariel, but I couldn't think of a suitable name for a mermaid on the spot so Ariel will have to do. :P

Some characteristics of mermaids. Mermaids have legs when on land, but when they enter the water their legs will transform into a tail. They can eat regular food like any other Sim, but they prefer to eat fish and kelp. Kelp can be harvested on the dive lots or bought in the grocery store. Mermaids are sea creatures and they need to go back into the water from time to time. This can be done by swimming in the sea or in a regular pool. But going into the tub or shower works as well. If mermaids dehydrate they will die. 

But that's not the only problem for mermaids. If mermaids don't swim in the ocean (salt water) they will develop salt water deficiency. And if they don't go back into salt water at all, they will eventually become normal Sims. Their scales and tails will disappear as well.

To become a mermaid, your Sim can either buy the Mermadic Kelp lifetime reward, which will transform regular Sims into mermaids. But there is also a chance to receive a kelp from a befriended mermaid. Either way, there are several ways to become a mermaid. And of course one can hook up with a mermaid and try for a baby, to get new mermaids into the world! That's what I did haha.

When your Sim knows a mermaid, they can signal for them. If and when they are available (and feel like it) they will come to you.

Here are some random screenshots of Rosie's Sim mermaid daughter Ariel:

Shaka Bra

So one of the new fun social interactions is called Shaka Bra. And I've seen something similar in the past in The Sims 2: Bon Voyage. Here's what it looks like:

New Gnome

As with each new expansion pack, there is a new gnome! The gnome in this expansion is called Mr. Mariner Gnome!

An expert in living on the high seas, Mr. Mariner rarely makes an appearance on land. His lifetime experience of undersea diving has made him become attracted to all objects involving water. Not many Sims have seen this diver Gnome, but he's known to be found in caves or hiding among the sea life of the ocean floor.

New plants

For new trees, please check the build mode section. There is a new harvestable plant, which is Kelp. Mermaids can harvest Kelp to eat from the plant. I am not sure if other Sims can harvest it too. And I think you can only find, grow and harvest Kelp underwater. Makes sense anyway.


Isla Paradiso is full of islands. Big and small. Some of the islands are hidden underneath clouds or fog. I think it's fog but it looks like cute fluffy clouds. :P

While playing Island Paradise you can unlock islands. I am not sure how to unlock all of them, all I know for sure is that you need to find four fragments of a map. They will go into your inventory as you find them. Then you can click the fragments and reconstruct the map. Once you have a complete map, it will guide you to the unlocked island. But I know there is a lifetime reward to unlock at least one island. I bought the lifetime reward and it instantly gave me an uncharted island.

Unfortunately I couldn't use the map for a second island. I tried searching coves underwater but no luck there either. It might be possible to find maps in treasure chests (yes, they exist in Island Paradise) or by running resorts. I have no idea! Once you unlock an island, it is yours to keep. You can then keep the island to live on yourself. Or you can open up a resort on the island.

Treasure Chests

As I mentioned above there are treasure chests in The Sims 3: Island Paradise. I found one while playing. It was hidden in the bushes on the uncharted island. When I opened it, I got a lot of uncut gems! There are land chests and underwater chests. So be sure to look around when you go scuba diving! Happy

Lifetime Rewards

Here's a list of all the new lifetime rewards I could find:

  • Strong Stomach - Nausea and seasickness are things of the past! 2,000 points
  • Hotel Mogul - Learn to squeeze every ounce of profitability out of your resorts. Hotel Moguls receive a bonus on all resort income. 15,000 points
  • Mermadic Kelp - Gives you a bite-sized bit of Mermadic Kelp strong enough to bring out the fish in any Sim. 25,000 points
  • Uncharted Island Map - If there is a uncharted island to be found, this map will surely reveal it. 25,000 points
  • Friend of the Kraken - The fearsome Kraken bows to your will! Boats that you are on will never be targeted by the Kraken. You can also order the Kraken to wreak havoc on any boat that you wish. 30,000 points


One of the new traits is Loves To Swim:

These Sims are like fish in the sea and gain a special joy being in the water.

The other new trait I spotted is Sailor:

Sailors love the open sea and would much rather be on a boat than on land. Their aquatic experience means the are better at catching fish and are less likely to get seasick.

Lifetime Wishes

  • Deep Sea Diver: The bottom of the ocean hides treasures and creatures never seen by land dwelling Sims. Only the bravest and foolhardy divers can survive the deadly deep searching for underwater riches. Be sure to bring your oxygen tank!
    - Master the Diving Skill.
    - Earn 40,000 Simoleons from Selling Diving Collectables.
  • Resort Empire: To become a true hotel mogul, your Sim will need to manage employees, maintain a profit, and always satisfy patrons. Once your Sim has created the perfect resort empire, travelers from all around will flock for a chance to stay at your luxurious getaway.
    - Own a Five Star Resort.
    - Collect 40,000 Simoleons in Resort Profit.
  • Seaside Savior: Anyone can be a lifeguard, but a Sim that rescues drowning Sims is a true hero! Be a hero in your town.
    - Rescue 50 Sims as a Lifeguard.


There are two new radio stations in The Sims 3: Island Paradise! Look below for all the new songs. Happy

Island Life

  • David Arkenstone - Beach Party
  • Lars-Luis Linek - Pan Jam
  • David Arkenstone - Sand Dance
  • Lars-Luis Linek - Steelchase
  • Lars-Luis Linek - Sunsplash

Beach Party

  • Sam and The Womp - Bom Bom
  • Katy Tiz - Famous
  • Walk Off The Earth - Gang Of Rhythm
  • Ozomatli - Join The Party
  • Rocky Dawuni - Reggae Carnivale Style
  • The CayMan - Uppsie Bray

Loading screen

Here is the loading screen for The Sims 3: Island Paradise! :D

And here is the loading screen for Isla Paradiso:


We had a Skype session after playing with The Sims 3: Island Paradise, about this expansion and also about The Sims 3: Dragon Valley. All of us mostly had questions about Island Paradise of course and I will answer those questions here:

Q: Can mermaids be eaten by sharks?
A: Nope. One of the perks of being a mermaid is that you do not have to worry about sharks coming after you to eat you.

Q: Is there a limit of houses and lots you can own?
A: No, not really. When you discover those uncharted islands those instantly become yours and you own those. And in this pack you can also own several other lots as well. As long as you have the money for it, you can own as many lots as you like.

Q: Can you build apartments on boats?
A: The University Life apartments can indeed be built on a boat.

Q: Is Create a World going to be updated?
A: Yes, however. There won't be any tools to create hidden islands in your custom world. Technically this is just too difficult so that's why EA decided to exclude this option in future updates of CAW.

Q: Is there a way to be turned into a mermaid, other than by just having a mermaid parent?
A: Yes. If you have enough points to buy the lifetime reward, you can be turned into a mermaid that way. And there are ways to get a kelp from a mermaid which will be very useful to be turned into a mermaid as well.

Q: If you don't own a certain lot on a boat, can you still move it around?
A: No, you have to own them to be able to move them with the controls. But if you really want to move a boat lot around, you can achieve this by using cheats.

Q: Can you edit the dive lots?
A: Yes, you can. But only by using cheat codes.

Q: Can we build diving lots in other worlds as well?
A: No this can't be done. Simply because the oceans in other official worlds, for example Sunset Valley, are not deep enough to place these lots.

Q: Can you change the lot type of the lots you own?
A: Yes the lots can be converted to resorts for example. And you can also convert them back.

Q: Are resorts rabbit holes?
A: Yes and no. The resorts have some of the tiny houses were your Sims can stay in (to sleep or to freshen up), and those are in fact rabbit holes. However the entire resort is not a rabbit hole. You can also build guest rooms yourself. It is what you make it.

Q: How many stories can you build on your houseboat?
A: It's the same amount as on normal lots. With one exception, the basements can only be one level deep, not any lower.

Special Thanks

Well this was our preview for now. It's rather short compared to previous previews. But I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Once the pack is in stores, we will review it for sure. I am loving The Sims 3: Island Paradise and was so excited to play underwater, on boats and with mermaids. And let's not forget resorts. There is yet again so much in this pack that it's just too much to learn and play in the few hours we played. That should give you an idea of what you can expect. Expect many hours of new fun ways for your Sims to spend their lives.

I want to give EA Netherlands a special thanks for inviting us again, and for the wonderful event. I enjoyed it, from beginning to end!

I only used a "few" screenshots in this preview. I did make a lot more and uploaded them to two separate pages: part 1 and part 2. Note that I did not sort the screenshots. I'm way too tired and it's not that important. Wink

I would love to hear what you think about Island Paradise and of course I would love to hear if you enjoyed the preview as much as I enjoyed writing it!


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