Developed by: Lemonbomb Entertainment
Published by: Maple Whispering Limited, rokaplay, Merge Games
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
AHOY! prepare for an adventure on Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Sails, an open-world island exploration with mysteries yet to unfold. Build up your camp, gather all the crew, solve the mystery island, fight ghost pirates and escape together!
The story begins as you set sail with your father on a new adventure but a heavy storm hits the ship. The player wakes up and finds himself stranded on an unknown island. Your task is to find all your crew members and escape this mysterious island.
The Exploration Begins…..
Starting off on a remote island, you must explore and collect ingredients or materials to build your campsite and help out your crewmate. The game is simple to understand which is good as that means that the game is suitable for the younger gamer or perhaps new to this genre (Just like me!). The tutorials of the game are easy to understand, there no complexity to the controls or commands in the game.
The stamina gauge plays an important role in this game as each player action like farming, digging soil, fishing, rowing boat and etc, will deplete the stamina and once the stamina is used up, players will be teleported to the cabin so you can sleep to regain your stamina. However, I also found that eating food will also recover a portion of stamina. The stamina gauge also doubles as a Health Bar as if you get hit by a ghost pirate, your stamina will take a hit.
Farming plays a crucial part in the game as ingredients are needed for cooking food so you can recover stamina. In the beginning, there is only a small amount of crops you can grow which include corn, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes but as you progress more and more ingredients will be discovered which will allow players to grow more crops and cook higher-level food which recovers a bigger chunk of the stamina. Oh! just as a reminder, please remember to water your crops or it will dry off.
Let’s start cooking! Cooking in this game is easy BUT the process might become tedious and bothersome later on. So the question is why do I say that? To obtain new ingredients the player has to discover new recipes. To discover new recipes, players have to mix and match a variety of ingredients at your disposal to unlock it for cooking and it requires precision and a huge amount of trial and error in order to figure it out.
Finding your crewmates will unlock a few facilities to help you through the story and quests as they will teach you to create new tools allowing players to access more depth into other parts of the island. One of the features “Stew” will unlock once find enough crewmates (4 crews). By increasing the heart levels, random crewmates will give you a quest to either expand the farm, build shortcuts for faster access to places or upgrade your tools just to name a few. To find out your crewmate’s favourite ingredients? Trial and error and a whole lot of guesswork. Having Stew will recover half of your stamina and also give you a buff which reduces stamina depletion with every action taken.
Crafting is quite straight forward as all you need are the materials shown in the crafting list and Voilà Done!!! Of course, you have to explore the island to gain the materials but unlike cooking, there is no trial and error involved.
I just wish the cooking was just like crafting but to be honest, if cooking was the same as crafting the game might become too easy already.
The battles in Stranded Sails is plain and simple, just keep pressing “X” to attack until the ghost pirate disappears as there is no complexity nor skill to perform when engaging the enemy not like “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice”. (I know it is a different genre, but you get what I mean).
The Scenery and lovely BGM…
The sound of the birds, the sound of the sea breeze, and wind when rowing the boat was great with the BGM being suitable and will change accordingly when exploring a different area of the island. It’s quite relaxing but some areas BGM give a more horror feel boosting as much as it can the feeling of dread.
The day-night cycle was implemented in this game but I did not notice any changes or effects in the game (ghost pirates will spawn and attack your campsite perhaps?) as everything is normal except for your crewmates will go inside their own shack and you will be unable to interact with them.
There is a slight framerate drop when there is too much animation happening especially at the campsite but it is not a heavy impact on the gameplay. Progressing through the story, the campsite, and crewmates shack will make you feel at home around the island and the island will show signs of change with the passing of time which makes it feel alive.
What I Liked:
- UI is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Nice BGM which suitable for each different area.
- There no loading screen when exploring the island access into a cave and short loading time for fast travel back to the campsite. (1 – 2 seconds loading time)
- Easy to understand tutorials.
What I Wish Was Improved on:
- Fix camera view can’t be adjusted which a little bit obscures view when exploring the island. The Dev does implement it on a certain island but not all.
- Unable to build relationships between your crewmates.
- The view range of telescope is short at the end exploring on foot is way faster than the view from a telescope.
- Auto travel, once discover the island instead of manually controlling the boat every time I visit the same island over and over again.
- Materials/ingredients are hard to obtain or perhaps obtain late in the game.
I have never played this type of genre game before which reminds me of Harvest Moon but my personal opinion is that the game is definitely more suitable for handheld than on the console as the game requires a tremendous amount of time for gathering those materials and ingredients. At one point I was so addicted that I hoarded all materials on a certain island for hours and continued to the next island because I couldn’t get enough. The game does give a pleasant, and relaxing experience but the one thing that has been bothering me is where is my BACKPACK???!!!