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Stranded Sails - Explorers of the Cursed Islands Review

Gaming article by Robert N. Adams on October 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM
Review

A Fine Choice for a First Survival Game

A short while ago, I checked out an adorable survival game called Stranded Sails - Explorers of the Cursed Islands while my colleague Jeffrey Lerman tried his hand at a Zelda-esque game called Sparklite at a press event in New York City. I only got to experience a short press demo and was keen to see what the full game is like. Now that it arrived, it's time to get on the open seas with my Stranded Sails review!

Your adventure begins in quite a different fashion from my time with the demo. Rather than waking up on a beach, you start in a city, getting ready to leave your home for the first time in search of a new world to settle. Your father is captaining the ship along with a crew of seven capable men and women, each of whom has their own specializations like carpentry, engineering, or cooking.

 
Stranded Sails Review Stew for the Crew
The "Stew for the Crew" minigame unlocks upgrades for your tools and the camp by making delicious food for your companions.

Stranded Sails Review — A Streamlined Experience

One of the most notable ways that Stranded Sails decomplexifies the survival experience is in the energy bar. This is a survival game, but there are no separate bars for health, hunger, thirst, or stamina. Instead, everything is combined together into one energy bar. Running, rowing, chopping down a tree, swinging a sword, or taking damage will all lower your energy bar, and sleep or food will restore it.

There isn't some expansive list of things to acquire for crafting, either. In fact, the cooking portion of the game is arguably more in-depth than the crafting portion — there are nine finished products in crafting and sixty possible recipes in cooking. Some of these recipes will give you temporary buffs like more efficient tool usage.

 

The simplification of this game isn't all downsides, though. There's absolutely zero inventory management to worry about. Normally, a game like this would involve a lot of juggling items in various chests and constant trips back to base because your inventory is full. As far as I can tell, you never run out of inventory space.

Generally speaking, Stranded Sails is a survival game, but it isn't a complex or difficult one. One of the other casualties of this lack of complexity is, consequently, a lack of freedom for the player.

 

Review Summary

6.5
Stranded Sails is a great survival experience for young gamers or people new to the genre, but experienced players will find little in the way of appreciable challenge.

Pros

  • Mechanics Are Easy To Learn
  • Compelling Story With Clever Writing
  • Adorable Art Style And Catchy Music

Cons

  • Gameplay Lacks Challenge
  • Building System Is Too Rigid
  • Death Has No Real Consequences

About the Author

A photograph of Robert N Adams

Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!