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Crossroads Inn Launches on PC and GOG on October 23rd

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Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 29 - 2019

Surviving on an island.

 
If I were a video game character, the one thing I would never do, aside from befriending a princess of course, would be getting on a boat. Long boat journeys in video games inevitably end in a ship wreck on a deserted or cursed island, often with a case of amnesia. Still, I am not a video game character, and so all of these foolish characters that decide to travel by sea provide ample opportunity for gamers to save them. The thrill of an unexplored island and eventually escaping is often fun. This is the premise for Lemonbomb Entertainment’s Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands, although the approach is far more relaxed than I would be if stuck on an island.

 


 
Stranded Sails will see the player, whop can choose to be male or female at the beginning of the game, having to explore the archipelago that they have been stranded on, looking for other members of the crew, while ensuring that everyone can survive by providing food and crafting tools, all while working towards a way of escape. The game does a good job of teaching the player everything they need to know in the first few hours, which admittedly isn’t much, and so the work begins.

 
Early on, the player will find their first crew member who has set up a basic camp, thus allowing the player to start farming food. The most important aspect of the game is keeping on top of the players energy, and this involves either eating or sleeping. Everything in the game uses energy, but thankfully running out will result in waking up back at the camp. Anyway, when it comes to the farming, it really is quite simple, with the player planting what few seeds they have available in the farming area, and then watering them with water collected from a nearby source. Then they grow, and so the cycle begins.

 
Once a cooking station is built, which will require the gathering of some materials, the player will be able to combine their ingredients to make mouth-watering dishes. Of course, very few of these will be restaurant quality, but the crew members found stranded on the island seem to have simple tastes and as the player finds more ingredients, they will be able to create more dishes that will offer to replenish more substantial amounts of energy. The cooking mechanic is as simple as combining ingredients, but the game can be a little vague when it comes to combining the right ingredients to create a dish, and so a little trial and error will be involved. Still, as energy is needed for almost everything, and the player exploring further afield will require a decent stockpile of food to prevent passing out and being zipped back to camp, preparing food will take a lot of the players time.

 


 
To start with, the player will be busy trying to find all of the crew members, while also farming and cooking, and finding them will open up various requests as none of them seem capable of doing anything for themselves. Finding the crew members to start with is a long task, and one potentially filled with frustration as the game is deliberately vague in where they actually are. With multiple islands to explore, running out of that energy is a common occurrence, and so the player will have to plan their journeys carefully.

 
Crafting is another major aspect of the game, and so the player will find themselves gathering all manner of materials as they explore. The crafting is simply a matter of getting the required materials, and then whatever the player has been tasked with building will be done, from huts for the crew members to stay in, to the final boat to escape the islands.

 
Of course, these being cursed islands, there is a mystery to unravel and some threat to face. Armed with a sword, the player will be able to fight back against any threat they find, although the combat is nothing more than button mashing for the most part. Again, the real threat is running out of energy. Still, the fighting is essential to building the narrative which, as it happens, is quite interesting.

 
Visually, the game has a low poly charm that looks quite nice. It is colourful and easy-going, matching much of the game itself. Even the soundtrack feels laid back and calming, as if getting the player ready for the slow and steady pace of the game. There have been a number of bugs in the game, such as objects just disappearing until the game has been reloaded, but the developers seem to be on top of things and getting fixes out as quickly as possible.

 


 
There is a simplicity to Stranded Sails that suggests the targetted market may be a bit on the young side, but for the more casual gamers that happen to have a Switch, this is no bad thing. The energy system does artificially limit what the player can do, at least in the early game, but the farming and cooking is quite satisfying, and there is an interesting mystery to uncover further in. More seasoned gamers may need to look elsewhere, but for the casual crowd Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is a pretty laid back farming survival title.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 



 

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