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Tropical Resort Story Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Develop Your Own Island Resort

After running a fantasy town and a convenience store chain, you’ve decided to set your sights higher. Banks? Too mundane. Theme parks? So-so. Tropical resorts? That’s where the money’s at!

tropical resort story guide

Tropical Resort Story is the latest in Kairosoft’s chain of business management sims. In this game, you’re tasked with creating an island paradise for a multitude of guests, ensuring that there’s something for everyone and guaranteeing that everyone leaves your resort satisfied and more than a little bit wistful.

Similarly to Kairosoft’s other mobile titles, Tropical Resort Story is a paid game. This also means there are zero ads whatsoever, and no stress to compete with other players (if that’s what you dread). And while Kairosoft always makes fun games, Tropical Resort Story is a bit meatier than its other titles. If you’d like a leg up on what to expect and how to squeeze the most value out of your tiny island resort, read on and check out our comprehensive Tropical Resort Story beginner’s guide!

Raise Appeal and Water Quality

There are two main parameters that you should always focus on in Tropical Resort Story: appeal and water quality. These two attributes are displayed at the upper right of the screen at all times, with appeal as the heart and water quality as the drop of water.

tropical resort story appeal and water quality
358 and 220; good start…but it could be so much more.

Now, while these don’t seem to do much by themselves (especially water quality) they’re actually incredibly important, and continuously bumping up their numbers is a surefire way to get ahead in the game.

Appeal

Appeal is a general measure of how pretty, tempting, and (yes) appealing your resort is. The higher this number is, the more famous your resort is, and the more people will line up to sample what you have to offer.

tropical resort story beach chair
Each facility adds something to the table.

The number that appears on the upper left is the calculated total appeal of all your facilities. This also means that you can bump this number up just by building more stuff, though I advise against wishy-washy building in this game. Furthermore, appeal is actually divided into three sub-elements: attractions, dining, and sightseeing. This will be important to note as down the line, you will need to build towards a specific kind of appeal rather than take a generalist approach.

Each individual facility – yes, that includes accommodations – contributes towards this total appeal score. A high individual appeal score makes your customers more satisfied after using your facilities, thus bumping up their approval ratings and unlocking a slew of goodies, such as new customer types or even unlocking new gifts, as well as progress towards your stamps!

The most efficient way to generate appeal is to create accommodations surrounded by high-quality facilities. This way, you’ll not only gain the flat appeal boost from the facilities themselves, but also get a large lump sum from the accommodation equal to the total appeal of all structures in its area!

Water Quality

A strange term, isn’t it? Yet water quality is actually super important as it determines fish migration and your research point generation rate.

tropical resort story water quality
These fish better appreciate the fact that they’re swimming in 200% mineral water.

The nicer the waters around your resort, the more fish will move in, and the more fish will become available in the fishing segment. Increasing the variety of wildlife in your resort is always a good thing: families, for one, really like animals, and the different kinds of fish will give you even more appeal, and can be key in fulfilling visitor goals.

Tourists also generate research points whenever they swim or surf. Take this as a not so-subtle hint on what you facilities you should race towards. The higher your water quality, the faster swimmers and surfers will generate those sweet, sweet research points that you can spend at the Pumpkin Shop or on other stuff.

Constructing Basic Tourist Traps

tropical resort story start
I’ll be real with you, Marina: I have no idea what I’m doing.

The core gameplay loop of Tropical Resort Story is simple – all you really need to do is ensure that customers have a nice play to stay and have lots of activities to do to ensure a nice vacation.

Facilities and Travel Packages

For your first few accommodations, feel free to just plop them down anywhere (as you won’t really have many options at this point). You’ll start with the default cottage, which occupies a 1×2 space the middle of its 5×6 area (correct me if I’m wrong). This area around the cottage – as well as other accommodations moving forward – denotes the facilities that will be factored into the final appeal of the accommodation, as well as what bonuses and travel packages are available to tourists that stay there.

tropical resort story basic
Hooray, there’s literally nothing to do on this island.

While plopping down random facilities around your first cottage isn’t a bad idea, what you really want to do is activate new travel packages. Each travel package that an accommodation can offer confers passive boosts to it, ranging from increasing the cost of a room in said accommodation to increasing the number of days a tourist can stay (remember: a tourist that stays longer means you don’t need to wait for a new customer) as well as increasing the overall satisfaction that a tourist gains from staying in a specific lodging.

One important thing you should remember is that while nearby facilities improve the appeal of an accommodation, customers can and will use facilities outside of their room’s area. They just won’t get an initial appeal bonus from stores outside their range.

tropical resort story package
You can see you available packages by tapping on a lodging, then going to the third menu via the arrows.

Unfortunately, you can’t see the travel packages an accommodation will have until it’s built. It would be an awful shame if you were stuck with lame lodgings…

Remodeling

…which brings us to the game’s remodeling function.

tropical resort story remodeling
We can rebuild it. Better, stronger, faster, and more bloody expensive.

Your accommodations will inevitably become outdated with all the fancy new stuff you’ll be putting up: gourmet restaurants, fountains, trees, gift shops, and even restrooms! However, an accommodation only calculates travel packages once, when it’s built. So what do we do with an older cottage? We remodel it!

Remodeling an accommodation will cause it to be rebuilt for a flat fee (20,000g for cottages). This will cause said accommodation to recompute its travel packages and appeal, based on its new and/or upgraded surroundings. Remodeling your lodgings will also prompt special requests from customers – one from each category – which will affect that accommodation’s stats until it is next remodeled. Do note that moving a lodging will automatically remodel it, and yes, this will also incur the remodel cost.

tropical resort story visitor requests
Temporary these bonuses may be, but they’re pretty big, and the satisfaction boost is forever.

These special requests cost resource points, and can be a big game changer both because they improve the lodgings with either an increased cost, more guest rooms, or longer (or shorter, if that’s your thing) guest stays. If you decide to proceed with these special requests, you’ll also gain a satisfaction boost from the type of customer that requested these arrangements. Do note that there is no penalty for refusing to cater to a customer’s special request, nor is there a relationship hit for other types of clients if you choose to favor a certain demographic’s requests.

tropical resort story nature hut
The better the base structure, the more expensive the remodeling fees are. Hotels, for example, cost 60,000g.

Because remodeling is a flat fee, it’s advisable to refrain from remodeling until significant changes have been made to a lodging’s surroundings. This way, you’ll get the most bang out of your buck. It’s also a bad idea to remodel your lodgings in the middle of a boom, or when you’ve used a visitor invitation card to gain increased traffic as remodeling will not only evict whatever tourists are staying in a lodging at that time, but also prevent new customers from using said lodging until the construction is complete!

Facility Bonuses

It’s not just your accommodations that gain bonuses from facilities. Your facilities also work in tandem with one another to raise each other’s appeal and provide greater customer satisfaction!

tropical resort story ghost
I am convinced that the haunted “bonus” is there to patch up a game logic loop.

Just like with your lodgings, you can also tap your facilities and scroll through the info tabs to access their feature combo screens. By reading through these bonuses, you can get an idea of what other facilities you can put down so as to maximize the appeal of an area.

Some of these are pretty self-explanatory, such as trees or flowers near benches or beach chairs, but others may not be quite as intuitive. You don’t need to memorize all these bonus combinations either; when you’re planning a new facility, numbers as well as a legend in the upper right of the screen will appear to show you if you can trigger a combination bonus with another object.

tropical resort story link rating
And nary a Link Rating in sight.

Since we’re already talking about using facility bonuses, you may as well take advantage of link bonuses.

These bonuses occur when related facilities are placed near each other. When this happens, a link bonus is activated. In gameplay terms, this means that a customer that uses a facility is much more likely to use its linked facilities as well.

Leveling Up Your Facilities

Stores, trees, decorations, and other stuff you put can also level up, though you don’t have as much control over this as you would like. Whenever customers use a facility, they pay a fee, and once a facility has reached a certain amount of profits, it will level up, increasing not only its appeal but also how much it charges per use.

tropical resort story grill
Propane doesn’t pay for itself, y’know.

While you have minimal control over what facilities your guests use, you can help steer them towards certain areas via link bonuses. This creates a loop where customers spend money at a group of facilities, which levels them up, which increases their appeal, which causes more tourists to come in. Profit!

Do note that facility levels aren’t bound to that single structure. This means that if your juice stand hits level 2, all juice stands anywhere on your island will be at the same level. This also means that all these stores share an experience pool – if customers spend their money at a juice stand, that’ll count as sales for every juice stand on your resort.

Creating More Space

To be perfectly honest, the amount of land you’re given at the start won’t last you long. Sure, you can make a pretty good resort, but without more land, your profits can’t skyrocket as high as you might want.

tropical resort story beach
I did it just because I could. Also because it was free.

Once you’ve bought two islands via the Pumpkin Shop, the ability to buy and use the bulldozer will become available. This massive machine will let you either fill in ocean tiles with dirt or let the ocean in, allowing you to fine-tune your resort and make optimal resort spaces easily!

Booms

From time to time, a random boom will occur.

tropical resort story boom
The racket on the upper left signifies a sports boom.

Booms will greatly increase the popularity of a certain niche of facilities, such as sports facilities, eateries, or scenic areas. While you can’t really do anything about what kind of facility a boom will boost, you can capitalize on it by building and upgrading facilities of that type. This way, you’ll not only rake in extra cash from trendy customers, but you’ll also have better and more diverse facilities when the boom ends.

Running Out of Money

Out of cash? Don’t worry. As with all Kairosoft games (and as I discovered far too late), you can’t actually lose the game. If your savings dip below a certain level, Marina will sell her seashell collection or something to earn you 250,000 gold. While this seems to happen indefinitely, please don’t betray her trust – use that money to get your business back on its feet!

Aggressive Targeted Advertising

I did say that I advised against wishy-washy building, yes? This is because unlike other Kairosoft games, Tropical Resort Story greatly rewards careful construction of your tourist traps. Think about it: would you bring a family along (with horrible screaming children, no less!) to a high-end sushi and sashimi joint? The kids would probably complain about the raw fish and the parents wouldn’t be able to enjoy, thanks to all the fuss. With that in mind, it’s important to build accommodations to suit certain kinds of customers.

tropical resort story after remodeling
Not all cottages are created equally.

There are four categories of tourists in Tropical Resort Story, namely youth, family, celebrity, and globetrotter. Each of these categories encompasses a wide array of individuals, from high schoolers and fresh graduates to helicopter moms, doctors, and sports personalities. By creating specialized zones that cater to each group’s idea of a perfect vacation, you can vastly boost your resort’s performance and rake in all that cash!

To illustrate the point I’m trying to make, let’s have a look at the youth demographic. These customers generally range from teenagers to young adults, so you’ll need to establish facilities to suit their wants. By setting up specialized accommodations for these tourists, we can both improve their experience and get a lot more cash out of them, as well as receive positive feedback and give them great customer value – all of which means we’ll get even more customers in the future!

Each facility has a different target market, meaning that customers that belong to those target markets get a bonus to the appeal they receive from that facility. You can and should handpick these facilities so that you can create ideal areas for all sorts of customers.

tropical resort story globetrotter
No globetrotters allowed!

Assuming you’re playing a new game, you can set up a beach hut near your youth lodgings for them to leave their stuff in as they swim, as well as put up a swimwear store and even a surfboard shop, once you’ve unlocked those. Other services that cater particularly to the youth are the gift shop, beach showers, vending machines, watermelon pinata, and car rental store. Try to squeeze as many of these facilities within the range of their lodgings (and feel free to build claustrophobically).

Here’s an image of what I like to call Cash Cow Island.

tropical resort story cash cow island
♫ Come spend your money here ♫

The facilities, as well as their placement, have been made to maximize the appeal of each lodging to young tourists. Coincidentally, these facilities also draw in celebrities, a group that likes a lot of the same things that the youth do.

Customer Levels and Stats

Building specialized sectors is not only a more efficient way to spend your money and ration your resources, but it also helps customers level up faster.

tropical resort story youth
A generic goal, but it’ll line the pockets all the same.

Yes, customers have levels too. Each time a customer of a specific demographic is satisfied, they’ll contribute to that demographic’s experience bar, and when that bar is filled up, that customer levels up.

When a customer type levels up, you can distribute one stat point to one of three stats: shopping, research power, or enthusiasm.

  • Shopping affects how many items a customer type will buy at a store.
  • Research power affects a customer type’s ability to generate research points while swimming or surfing.
  • Enthusiasm influences the rate at which a customer becomes hyped. Hyped customers are very valuable as they’ll spend a lot more money than usual and are also easier to please, leading to better satisfaction ratings and consequently, faster level ups.

Each of the four customer types comes with their own default stats, too.

  • Youth-type customers start at 1 shopping, 2 research power, and 4 enthusiasm.
  • Family-type tourists start at 2 shopping, 2 research power, and 3 enthusiasm.
  • Celebrities have 4 shopping, 2 research power, and 1 enthusiasm.
  • Globetrotters have 1 shopping, 4 research power, and 2 enthusiasm.

From these stats, you’ve probably inferred that my market strategy is hyping up the youth as much as possible to keep the sales and the cash rolling in. And whenever your customers level up, you can spend the stat point to either patch up a weakness (such as that low enthusiasm that celebrities have) or to further bolster their strengths. The choice is yours!

Visitor Goals

Each visitor also has individual goals – dreams that they want to accomplish while on vacation. Fulfilling these goals not only gives a huge boost to satisfaction (and progress towards customer levels), but also gives you sizeable bonuses in both gold and research points. Win-win all around!

tropical resort story goal
And I wanted to go my whole life without surgery, but I guess we can’t all have our goals, huh?

To see your current visitor goals, go to info -> visitor goals. This screen will pretty much spell out what you need to do for your visitors, whether that’s unlocking new products for them to buy, designing specific lodgings, or just putting up brand-new facilities.

The Port

Different customer types like different transportation, and that’s where the dock comes in.

tropical resort story zoom
Zoom!

By tapping the dock, you can change how customers reach your island. This also has different effects: demographics may like or dislike a certain method of transporation, which in turn will affect how many customers on your island belong to a specific market (hint, hint). The boats also affect initial enthusiasm, which can push people into a hyped state, as well as the chance that they arrive as a party of two, meaning you’ll get even more paying customers per visit!

Establish Long-Term Goals

With so much to do, so much to see, so much to make your customers see, and so much money to make, it’s easy to lose track of what your long-term goals are.

Stamps

If you’re feeling lost, have a look at your stamps menu.

tropical resort story stamp
Stamps are to resort managers what Continental Coins are to the world of John Wick.

Stamps represent long-term goals that will help you keep your resort running smoothly. Stamp goals are usually already stuff you’re going to be doing: increasing the amount of wildlife, increasing your overall appeal (either as one of the three subelements or as a whole), or reaching certain visitor satisfaction levels.

Completing stamp albums not only gives you rewards such as gold, research points, and hats for your staff, but also increases your resort’s rank, unlocking new things to research and buy at the Pumpkin Shop, as well as find new prospective business partners.

tropical resort story stamp 2
Just a little more…

On a side note, you actually do have a time limit, though it’s only score-wise. After 16 years, the game’s scoring ends, but you are free to continue running your resort as you please.

Year End Evaluation

tropical resort story reward
The accolades are nice, but the payroll is why I’m here.

At the end of each year, you’ll be evaluated on your performance – from tourists served, to total appeal, to fishing, and so much more. This is important as you’ll receive a sizeable cash stipend based on how well you did. Aim high and always keep moving.

Better Business via Connections

If you want to travel far, do it with a friend. Or a business partner, if you don’t have any nearby available friends. By making new business partners and availing of their services, you can develop your resort further and faster than you could do it on your own.

Wooing New Investors

Attracting investors to expand your resort’s selection of facilities and products is part and parcel of running a good vacation spot. Before all that though, you’ll need to close the deal with these prospective business partners.

tropical resort story dog
Dogs?! On this island?! Impossible!

Players of Kairosoft’s Convenience Stories are going to find this familiar. Just like in that title, you’ll need to wow your investors, except this time, you’ll need to do it by showing them facilities around your island. After paying an upfront fee, usually in either gold or resource points, you’ll then be asked to schedule the investor’s tour. Pay attention to what the investor says during this screen as this will clue you in on what kinds of facilities they want to see. Aside from the tour of your resort, investors also gain points based on how much wildlife you have as well as how many stamp albums you’ve completed.

tropical resort story facility
If you’ve already failed before, each site that has been tried will be marked with an X for bad and a circle for good. Triangle is neutral.

Don’t worry if you fail – you’ll gain a small permanent bonus to that investor’s opinion bar, allowing you to get a small boost when you try again. Do note, however, that any resources spent will be lost.

Impressive Oculars

Some proposals will call for the investor to actually visit your island and take up lodgings to conduct an ocular to see if your resort is a good spot for them to set up shop. Just like the regular tour, be sure to pay attention to what that investor wants – sometimes it’ll be a large amount of travel packages, sometimes it’ll be high appeal, and sometimes it will be specific appeal, such as a high dining appeal.

tropical resort story investor
I’ll need to butter this investor up with lots of attractions and travel packages.

Once the investor is satisfied, the negotiation screen will appear, and your score will be tallied – and yes, you’ll gain the standard bonuses from wildlife and stamps here. Like regular negotiations, failure will give you a small permanent opinion boost which will make it slightly easier to convince that investor in the future – but you’ll lose the resources spent to start the negotiation.

The Pumpkin Shop

It wouldn’t be a Kairosoft game without this guy! The Pumpkin Shop salesman returns, this time with more tropical-themed goods. This time around, his store accepts three kinds of currency: gold, research point, and fishing medals, which you can get via fishing.

tropical resort story pumpkin shop
He still has wares, if you have coin.

Aside from investors, the Pumpkin Shop is your main source for unlocking new facilities, stocking new items, strengthening your staff, and improving your resort. Take special note of his limited stock, such as Power Upple Juice and Visitor Invitation Cards – they’re very powerful and restock only during limited seasons. For savvy shoppers waiting for the next restock, the year and time are in the upper left of the screen, with the colored boxes indicating how much of the month has passed.

tropical resort story button
There, on the lower left!

One last thing about the Pumpkin Shop – to use the consumable items you buy from it (as well as those you get from events), tap the items menu on the lower left of the main screen.

Use Your Staff Well

tropical resort story staff
I will make you in my image, and it will be hilarious.

To actually get stuff done in Tropical Resort Story, you’ll need to have your staff actually perform tasks for you. The more staff members you have on hand, the more things you can accomplish at once. Do note that each staff member requires their own staff hut – no sharing!

Staff Tasks

Staff are largely in charge of two main functions on your island: lodging construction and finding travel packages.

tropical resort story kenny
C’mon Kenny, work those legs!

Any time you issue a construction order for new accommodations, one of your staff will automatically assign themselves to it. This involves not only hammering the ground enough times to make a building magically appear, but also means that the staff member has to survey the area to add travel packages to it.

However, you don’t need staff to build non-lodging buildings. Those will be built on their own without any input from your or your workers.

Staff Stats, Equipment, and Consumables

Staff members have four stats to keep an eye on: stamina, flair, fishing, and walking speed.

  • Stamina affects how much a staff member can work (either in construction or fishing) before needing to take a break at their hut.
  • Flair is a staff member’s personal sense of style, which they’ll impart to rooms they build. Constructed accommodations also factor in your staff’s Flair when determining their price – the more Flair, the bigger the price bonus.
  • Fishing affects how far a staff member can cast their fishing line, as well as their weight capacity.
  • Walking Speed affects how quickly your staff move around. Why we can’t rent them cars is beyond me. We already have a Rent-a-Car service over at the corner.

As your staff perform activities, their stats will increase on their own. However, you can also use consumables and equipment to push their numbers a wee bit higher. These can be bought from the Pumpkin Shop, and items can be used by tapping the Items menu on the lower left. Equipment, on the other hand, is automatically given out to all your employees once bought.

tropical resort story guys
Trembling silently in anticipation.

Note that staff members don’t have individual stats. An increase to one of them is an increase to all of them. What they do have, though, are traits, which boost a staff member’s performance in a certain category. Hard Workers, for example, recover Stamina much faster than other staff members.

Fishing

The other important thing that staff are in charge of is fishing.

tropical resort story fish 2
Into the wild blue yonder!

While it may not sound very important, fishing is a core part of Tropical Resort Story, and I highly advise that you hire at least one dedicated fishing staff. If you can find multiple copies of staff with the Fishing Fanatic trait, even better.

Fishing is done by casting a line out to a certain distance, then reeling it in. There are three factors at play here: weight, stamina, and distance. A line that’s cast further will naturally reel more stuff in, but the staff member that’s fishing needs to have enough strength to support all that weight, and enough stamina to tug that line back to shore to deposit their catch – if they tire out and collapse while the line hasn’t been fully retracted, you’ll lose everything on it!

tropical resort story fish
Yeah, you’d better.

Finally, you’ll want to measure the distance where your staff cast. You can toggle this distance by using research points to switch between 4 cast styles:

  • Casting the rod normally costs no research point and gives neither buffs nor debuffs.
  • Casting the rod lightly costs 5 research points and decreases casting distance by 5, but increases weight limit by 1.
  • Casting the rod firmly costs 10 research points and increases casting distance by 5 but reduces weight limit by 1.
  • Casting into a targeted area allows you to select how far out you want your staff to cast, but costs 15 research points and drops weight limit by 1.5.

This means that a staff member with good fishing ability can hit far-off areas without sacrificing weight. You’ll need to constantly fish to get to that level though. As fishing only costs gold (and stamina), it’s a good idea to fish regularly – this way your staff will get stronger and bring in more consistent results.

So why would you want to fish? Why, for more wildlife! Any fish that you catch can be released into your waters, which can rapidly increase the amount of fish you have in your waters, leading to better travel packages and even visitor goals! Side note: it can also destroy the local ecological balance faster than you can say “holy invasive species, Batman!”.

If you don’t feel like releasing more fish, you can also opt to release the fish you catch to gain fishing medals, valuable currency items that the Pumpkin Shop salesman wants. Since you already gain fishing medals from fishing (the coins that your fisher’s reel drags in), I’d only advise exchanging your fish if there’s something you really want or need in the Pumpkin Shop, or if you’ve already hit the cap for that species, at which point you won’t have any option but to trade them in.

It’s not just practice that turns a staff member into a master angler. By equipping your staff with appropriate equipment, you can vastly improve their performance and allow them to cast further, reel more fish in, or tire out less easily. Each staff member can be equipped with up to 3 items which can be used to either specialize their fishing or improve its general efficiency.

tropical resort story spot
I believe the red zone indicates where you’re most likely to find those fish at that depth.

Finally, don’t forget that there are different zones to fish in. To change the zone where you’ll be fishing, tap on the Destination panel in the fishing menu. Use this in tandem with the fish radar (bottom of the fishing screen) to see what you have or haven’t caught yet in an area. Remember – quantity is good, but diversity is best.

Attaining Paradise

Ultimately, you’re free to run your resort however you please. As with all of Kairosoft’s games, you have a lot of leeway in deciding the right way forward, whether that’s by catering exclusively to a single demographic or taking a generalist approach. Just don’t forget that you’re here to have fun, no matter how!

tropical resort story end
If only this could last forever…

That wraps up my beginner’s guide for Tropical Resort Story, and I hope that it’ll be of help to you in building your island paradise! If there are some tips you’d like to share, or if there’s anything I missed, let me know in the comments below!