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Sail Forth Review

Published: December 22, 2022 12:00 PM

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There are a plethora of naval-based games out there, as it’s a genre that seems to continuously inspire new additions. From pirate games to sailing games to trading games, if you’re interested in sailing the virtual high seas, there’s undoubtedly a game for it. The latest addition to this genre is Festive Vector’s Sail Forth, published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild.

In Sail Forth you play as Captain Toot, a sailor tasked by the Northstar with saving the Deepblue. Yeah, the whole game pretty much uses language like that. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a cute way to set the game apart, but can be a little difficult to decipher at times, especially when characters are throwing out phrases like “I snuggle in an eternally itchy blanket of regret” and “Knots before mast, by jeepers a ship!” After you pick up your stranded first mate Goose, you play through a little bit of the combat tutorial and then the game opens up for you, though you are still guided through a loose tutorial of some of the other game mechanics for a little while longer.

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One of the game's minimaps for an area, with helpful locations and notes about wind direction.

One of the biggest strengths of Sail Forth is the freedom that it offers. While yes, you do have to engage in some naval combat and fight the Skull Clan in several locations, your main focus doesn’t need to be on fighting if you don’t want it to be. The huge map offers plenty of room for exploration and discovery, there are mysteries to solve, merchantry to try your hand at, fish to catch, pictures to take, races to win, fleets to build, and giant sea monsters to deal with. The game’s world is fairly open and you have your pick of what you’d like to do and when, to a reasonable extent. Again, you do need to keep your boat in shipshape and be able to fight off any enemies, but beyond that, the Deepblue is yours to explore.

My favorite thing to do, once my boat was a bit more sturdy, was set out on some explorations. Each part of the map that has islands and things to do is given its own area name, and to find an area you either need to find a map fragment, be told about it by an NPC, or just sail out and find it yourself. There are different biomes in the game to explore, but beyond that, it’s just incredibly relaxing to meander along on the high seas and see what you can find.

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Well shoot, when you put it like that, I can't say no.

Speaking of sailing, the sailing mechanics in the game are absolutely top-notch. While not an actual sailor myself, I do know a thing or two about it, and it can get frustrating when games portray sailing the same way that they do driving a car. Sail Forth has little gauges on the screen and shows you wind direction, your sailing direction, and how to trim your sails and it explains all of it to you in ways that are simple and easy to understand for beginners. Your boat will not turn on a dime, which can be both a realistic blessing and a curse, but really that means that you need to plan out your actions and keep an eye on your location. If you get too caught up in where you’re going as opposed to where you are, you might run aground.

The biggest drawback to the game is that, if you're playing on PC, the keyboard and mouse setup is not ideal. While it's certainly playable, Sail Forth feels much more natural and intuitive with either a controller or a Steam Deck, which it plays perfectly on.

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You shallst.

Sail Forth’s music and art, its general aesthetic, is a great deal of fun. With a cartoony art style that verges on minimalist, with bright colors and colorful dialogue, Sail Forth creates a fun and adventurous world to explore. The music as well as the sound effects are cheerful and upbeat, combining with the art to create a really positive atmosphere that encourages exploration.

If you’re looking for a good, single-player sailing game, Sail Forth is an excellent choice. While it doesn’t deliver the height of realism and the dialogue can be slightly unintuitive, its cartoonish nature really is all part of the fun. With plenty of options for you to focus your efforts on, Sail Forth delivers a big blue ocean that’s open for you to explore.


TechRaptor reviewed Sail Forth on PC with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Review Summary

Review Summary

9.0
Sail Forth is full of naval fun, letting you traipse around the high seas, with plenty of distractions and activities to keep you busy, as well as enemies to fight and a top notch sailing system.

Pros

  • Excellent sailing system and mechanics
  • Wide open world to explore
  • A plethora of activities and things to do

Cons

  • Feels clunky when playing with keyboard and mouse
Courtney
Author: | Staff Writer
Courtney Ehrenholfer is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, and current journalist who greatly enjoys video games, especially those of the point and click and JRPG varieties. Having previously… Read More