Amazing Island is a video game that was released for the Nintendo GameCube on August 25, 2004 by developer Hitmaker Games.
The game is, as the back of the box will inform you, basically a cross between Pokemon and Mario Party. It's not really that easy to define, though, as while it takes elements from each game, it also has enough uniqueness to not be simply written off as a derivative of its source material. It's not original enough, however, to merit a large amount of praise.
The storyline takes about 3 minutes to introduce, and about 10 seconds every now and then is spent fleshing it out. If you want to think of it the the other way, then there really isn't a story to speak of. An 11-year-old boy or girl (who you name) finds a picture book describing a magical land called Amazing Island that was lost ages and ages ago... in his/her sleep, he/she is called to rescue the people of the island, who are being turned evil by the Black Evil. (Incidentally, the townspeople you save look an awful lot like octoroks from the Legend of Zelda series.)
The story isn't the focus, though... the focus is on creating your own unique little monsters to fight the Black Evil with (more on that later). The first time you create a monster, a guy that looks like a tiki mask on legs asks you a few questions which generate your monster for you... somehow. Think of it as similar to the opening sequence of Ogre Battle (SNES), only with about 1/5th the amount of questions.
While this option is available to you the rest of the game, too, what you'll really want to do is draw your monster yourself. You receive various base models from completing objectives in the game, and it is from these that your monster is born. There's one that's shaped rather like a praying mantis, another like a human, and another like a bunny rabbit. All of these feature various areas that you can "draw" your monster into, such as body, head, and the like. What drawing around a specific part does is create an outline of where that particular part (body, etc.) is going to fill in. It's hard to explain in words, but basically if you draw a sickle shape around an arm base, your monster's going to have sickles for arms. You can create any shape you wish; even have the thing look like a giant lump of fat. It's all up to you, and the possibilities are really endless as to what you can create using these bases and the various tools provided. For example, my sister so far has created a praying mantis, a pair of cats, and a TV. That's right, a TV.
After creating the basic shape of your monster, it's time to give it some personality. Anything, from eyes to stars to flashing lights, can be placed anywhere and everywhere on your monster, allowing for some truly bizarre creations. It's fun to put a huge, gigantic cyclops eye right on the belly of a monster. It's creepy.
Once you've finished creating your monster (trust me, playing around with all the possibilities can keep you attentive for a while), you get to use him to fight the Black Evil... in a series of minigames. While this premise is never explained to a logical satisfaction, it's nevertheless fun, for the most part, to watch the monster you spent so long creating doing 100 yard dashes and shooting basketballs. The problem with these minigames is that some of them either have funky control schemes, fail to explain themselves well enough, leaving you completely clueless as to what you're supposed to be doing, or both. Some of the games just take trial and error to figure out the exact way to beat it, which means that the difficulty can be annoyingly jumpy. For the most part, they are rather fun to play.
Another quirk in the game comes from the rather weird save system it has. It allows you one monster at a time, and when you create a new one the one you had previously is deleted. However, if you save a monster beforehand, you're able to load it up in either the singleplayer or multiplayer modes at a later time. Island seems to be unable to track whether you've saved a monster or not, as it's possible to save your monster, then choose to leave the game and have it remind you that you need to save your monster. It's a bit asinine that it does this.
The multiplayer in the game is rather rudimentary... pick your monsters, play either a course of games or just a single game, and the winner... wins. Not much to see there.
The game, like many others for the GCN, has a gimmicky connectivity feature involving the ability to trade monsters through your GBA, or actually fight them between GBAs. Again, it's not anything impressive, and doesn't add anything to the game.
Amazing Island features graphics that can only be described as "OK." They feature lots of bright colors and cutesy designs, and the framerate is either a steady 30 or 60 fps depending on the situation. There's just nothing truly inspiring about any of the graphical designs.
I might get crucified for saying this, but I really enjoy the music in this game. It's upbeat, well-made, and tends to fit the situation rather well. It's not annoying to listen to at all, as you might expect from a cutesy game like this.
All in all, Amazing Island is a game that is great for a laugh if you have people around that are willing to sit and try some weird things with the monsters, and/or are willing to enjoy a few minigames, which appear to be videogaming's guilty pleasures these days. It's fun, but not too fun, creative but not too creative... but it's not bad by any means.