Darlin' it's better, down where it's wetter.
Something was missing from The Sims 3 World Adventures. Sure, you could explore the simulated ruins of Egypt, smash grapes into wine in France, and become a Sim Fu master in China, but where was the water? If I'm going on a vacation, my first choice is somewhere like Hawaii or Okinawa, and that's exactly what you're going to get with the latest The Sims 3 expansion, Island Paradise.
After moving to Isla Paradiso from another town or importing your household straight into one of the island's open lots, you're notice the shiny blue waters amid the archipelago. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink, at least in the digital sense. Traversing between islands is a simple matter of taking the handy, free speedboat from one shore to another, purchasing one of the many boatcrafts available, or going bigger with a houseboat where an All-In-One Bathroom is recommended to save space. Another cool touch is that houses can now be built on stilts, allowing them to go over water (thankfully, there are no Sim Tsunamis… yet).
Complementing this aquatic environment is the Scuba Diving skill, which allows you to wander the ocean floor and explore reefs and underground caves at various dive spots on the map. Here, you can catch unique fish and shells, find treasure chests, and even punch a shark in the face if it's trying to eat your Sim's face off. The only trouble is that there's no tutorial, not even a Lesson, for this skill so you have to figure out how to earn the skill for yourself, and it takes two skill points before you can even scuba dive at a dive spot. The Scuba Diving skill also isn't that useful on any other map other than Isla Paradiso.
Raise the Scuba Diving skill enough and you'll soon encounter mermaids underwater, who can help you turn into one of their race if you are so inclined, as there is no option to be a mermaid in the Create a Sim mode. While mermaids are natural divers and can explore the ocean floor with natural ease, they require constant maintenance by swimming in saltwater oceans. Perhaps if they could talk to aquatic animals or have more substantial bonuses, mermaids would be a more welcome option to the fray.
Joining the new Lifeguard career doesn't earn a lot of money, but you do save lives with some welcome CPR. But if you want the real big bucks, it's all about resort management. By building your own resort or purchasing an existing resort outright, you must improve the environmental score, add amenities, upgrade towers, have high-quality buffets, and hire the best maintenance crew to maintain a steady stream of income from a high occupancy rate. Follow the mock user reviews your hotel, nab a five-star rating, and you earn upwards of $10,000 Simoleans every day. That's almost enough to make my Sim quit his dream Game Developer job.
As an extended bonus, there are eight uncharted islands covered in mist that will only dissipate after completing various objectives, like earning a five-star resort, saving many lives as a lifeguard, gaining the trust of a mermaid, or exploring a secret passageway in an underground cave. Most of these islands are barren lands with only a few spawns for items, but at least they provide open space to create even more resorts.
While the total sum of the additions doesn't quite match the $39.99 asking price at the moment, Island Paradise comes with a gorgeous environment, plenty of areas to explore, and lucrative resort management. Wait for it to drop in price a bit, and it's an expansion worth getting your feet wet.