The Sims 3: Island Paradise EP – Hands-on Preview

The Sims 3: Island Paradise

Now that The Sims 3: Island Paradise EP is loaded (like the new loading screen?) what can we expect from it?

This is the penultimate Expansion Pack for Sims 3 with only Into the Future remaining before we jump into the brave new world of The Sims 4 in the first quarter of next year. So let’s dive in, as that’s what your Sims will be doing soon!

There were several other fansites at this, and other events held around the world, so information about what this EP contains will be plentiful after today I’m sure. So, as usual, I’ll be trying to bring you some different material which includes lots of screen grabs of the new content in game in detail you probably won’t see elsewhere (if that’s your thing).

The Headliners

Island Paradise iconHere’s the new icon for Island Paradise.

The EP offers some very different gameplay opportunities including the ability to own houseboats which are basically Lots that you can build on in just the same way you can on land, so the sky is the limit (don’t try basements, that could end in tears). These can be driven around the game world between the many islands that make up the new world, Isla Paradiso. Sims can suffer seasickness on these and any other boat though, so care may be needed when creating seafaring Sims. Luckily there are 2 new Traits: Loves to Swim and Sailor.

New activities include driving these boats around the islands, snorkeling and more importantly, diving. When Sims drop below the water surface they start to use the new Scuba Diving skill, looking for shells which are a new collectible item, treasures, fish and other underwater goodies (and baddies). Look out for sharks, as being mauled underwater is a new way to die!

If your Sim really likes the ocean they might want to take up the new Lifeguard Career, spending their days patrolling the beaches and saving lives, though they need to know when they are being duped as if our Lifesaving hero is a hottie, the victims may actually be faking it to get attention!

Island Paradise Mermaids

Mermaids are the newest addition to the collection of abnormalities that EPs tend to thrust on our perfectly formed Sims. These already exist in the waters of Isla Paradiso and befriending one might enable you to invite one into your household. If you aren’t that lucky (or sociable) you could spend some Lifetime Reward points on some Mermadic Kelp to send your existing Sim spinning in a wet haze, emerging as a full blown Mermaid/man. I have to admit though, it looks a bit weird when Mermaids exit the water and switch their beautifully flowing tails for some scaly looking colorful legs and feet which I guess is needed if they are to spend time on land, but I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed there. You can drag your Mermaid into CAS and change their scale colors if you want to.


Mermaids are exotic sea creatures who have adapted to life on land. They differ from regular Sims in several important ways.


Island Paradise mermaids

Mermaids can eat regular food but they prefer things that come from the sea, like fish and kelp. Kelp can be harvested on dive lots or purchased at the grocery store.

Island paradise Mermaids

Mermaid skin dries out easily and requires constant hydration. Frequent baths, showers and dips in the pool or ocean are a must! If their hydration motive drops too low, Mermaids start to dry up and eventually become dehydrated. If a Mermaid is dehydrated for too long, they’ll get a visit from the Grim Reaper!

Island Paradise

Mermaids’ natural habitat is the ocean. They need to swim in deep water regularly or they will develop a salt water deficiency. Mermaids who do not swim in salt water regularly will eventually lose their scales and tails and turn into regular Sims.

Island Paradise Resort Ownership

My favorite aspect of Island Paradise is Resort Ownership. I used to love Sims 2: Open for Business and Resorts allow me to effectively run my Sim’s own business. You can’t really micro manage the Resort but you can manage the staff, even pick and design their costumes, add new features and set fees for either staying or visiting. It’s a buildable Lot, so you can be as creative as you like in the way the resort looks and feels. You don’t have to stick to the idyllic paradise theme that the existing ones come in, so why not go grungy or medieval? Be different! I’m looking forward to pairing this with Seasons to try and built a winter Ice hotel complete with staff in furs and animal hats! What’s your story? Tell us in the comments at the end.


Island paradise resort ownership

Earn some money on the side or choose to run your own high powered mega-resort. Resorts allow your Sims to have the opportunity to run their own business. There are different ways to obtain a resort. Select “Become a Resort Owner” from your phone and chose a lot that you want to build a resort on. If you already own a private residential lot or island, click on the map tag and choose “Convert to Resort.”

Now that you own a resort, it’s time to build it out and customize it. Use Build and Buy Modes to build structures and place down key resort amenity objects. Resort specific catalog sorts allow you to find objects that allow business operational options. Decorations also contribute to your resort rating. If you’re looking for a quick way to build your resort, you can try using Blueprint Mode. There are new resort-specific blueprints to choose from.

When using Island Paradise blueprints to build out your resort,be sure to read the special instructions or hints for each type. Some blueprints will require you to set additional settings in Live Mode in order for them to work properly.

VIP door locks are specific to resorts and will need to be set for each guest room whether built through a blueprint or build/buy. In Live Mode click on a door to add new or unique VIP door lock key to all doors that load to a guest room. Note that resort towers don’t need door locks as they’re automatically managed by the resort.


Customize employee uniforms to fit the theme of your resort. Choose a preset theme for all resort employees from the front desk or change it for each worker by selecting the option directly from the amenity object. A higher level of customization is available by clicking on a worker and choosing to create customized uniform. Custom uniforms are assigned per Sim so hiring a new employee will force the default outfit.

island paradise resort ownership

Before you can open a resort to the public, here are a few tips on how to keep your resort profitable. One of the main goals for managing resorts is to maintain a healthy occupancy level. The happiness of your resort guests are a big part of what makes sure that they keep coming back for more. Provide a good amount of amenities for your guests to enjoy and make sure your pricing is appropriate to your current star rating. Finding this balance is key to a profitable resort!

Open your resort from the front desk and guests should start immediately filling in. Some resort amenities will allow you to make business decisions. Choose wisely as there are benefits and drawbacks to every decision. Employees will automatically be hires for your front desk, bar, and food stand but you always have the power to replace them.

resort ownership

Busy Island Paradiseresorts will require maintenance. Hire maintenance workers from the front desk or save some money and do all of the cleaning and fixing yourself. Higher level workers are more efficient in doing their job. Keep your resort clean. Nobody likes a dirty resort.

Amenity workers such as the ones you hire to operate the front desk, food stand and bars are permanent employees. Thus they are listed individually in your finance panel. However maintenance workers are temporary and can be swapped out with another NPC without you even knowing about it so don’t be surprised if you see a new worker cleaning up your resort. This is why they are all lumped in as a single category called “Maintenance Workers” in your finance panel.

Keep tabs on your resort operations by viewing the Finances menu. This can be found on the front desk or on any wall or roof on your resort. Here you can view key statistics such as occupancy, revenue and expenses. Choose to update amenity business decisions or hire new employees directly from this panel. Keep your finances balanced to prevent your resort from being closed down.

Get feedback about how your resort is performing by checking out the Resort Reviews panel. This selection can be found on the front desk or on any wall or roof on your resort. Here you can review your current star rating and read comments from your guests about their recent stay. Improve your resort based on reviewers’ feedback or keep things just the way they are. It’s really up to you. Hey, if you’re making money, why change anything?

Island ParadiseUncharted Islands

Uncharted Islands are hidden around the game world in a shroud of fog and can be found and even claimed by your Sims.

Island paradise uncharted islands

While traveling around various islands, you’ll come across treasures and bottles with pieces of a map. If your Sim finds four pieces, check their personal inventory, click on the map fragments and reconstruct it! Not all uncharted islands can be found with a map, but if there is one, a completed map will show your Sim the way!

island paradise uncharted islands

Island Paradise Uncharted Islands are discovered in a variety of ways. Play with resorts, scuba dive, and get involved as a local lifeguard for a chance to unlock these secret hideaways. Who knows, the locals (and maybe even a Mermaid?) may also help you out.

This next screen shows my Sim arriving on an uncharted island via water taxi! There is a trashcan and mailbox at the jetty area, suggesting that this place is ready to be converted into a lot for whatever purpose you choose!

Island Paradise

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