Review Code Provided
You and your crew are sailing to new horizons but things go terribly wrong and you all wind up stranded on a mysterious archipelago after a terrible storm wrecks your ship. It’s up to you to gather everyone up and make life comfortable for your stay, all while you try and figure out what’s keeping you trapped there. Taking a page from the book of games like Harvest Moon and Lost in Blue, you have to explore and create things, find or farm food and fight for your freedom from the island’s grasp.
Stranded Sails is fairly straight forward to play, taking an isometric view you guide your person around the island using the left stick and you can interact with X, you have a menu at the bottom of the screen that serves as your inventory and you can either access it by pressing a button and see it in full screen or you can navigate it with the right stick, which is much quicker. Your character has an energy meter at the top of the screen that depletes as you move around and do activities such as cutting down trees, with the more strenuous activities draining more energy, you can replenish your energy by eating food or by sleeping. If you don’t maintain your energy you will collapse and wind up back at the camp after having lost some of the things you’ve collected but you will keep the important things. I only collapsed once near the beginning of the game since maintaining it is a fairly simple task especially later in the game so I can’t say what it’s like when you have an inventory full of items and pass out.
Stranded Sails is very much a back and forth type of game since the crew members will send you out to retrieve things for them and and by doing so you’ll get access to new pieces of equipment and crafting recipes that will allow you to explore even further, one useful thing to note that I made liberal use of was the fact that once you obtain a map you can use it to fast travel back to the camp without expending any energy and it makes it very useful if you’re the type of player that likes to explore to the absolute limit. While you’re exploring you can take a limited number of food items with you to help keep your energy up and the further you get in the game the more food you’ll be able to take, as well as the quality of the food will be improved.
There’s a number of things you can do in Stranded Sails to make sure that you get the most out of your play time, chief among which is the ability to farm and you’ll need to keep up with that if you intend to explore the limits of the game and the further you go, the more food items you can find. As well as farming you can go fishing to round out the sorts of food you can eat, each food item you find unlocks a new recipe so you can make more efficient food. Discovering recipes is done by placing the items in the centre of the food crafting station and the good thing about it is that you don’t use up the food if you’re just discovering the recipe but the bad thing is that you need to get each food item in the right spot rather than just placing in the right ingredients in any place, this makes it take quite a long time to figure it out as you go through all the ingredients you have.
Eventually you’ll get access to a big stew pot which has all of your currently discovered crew members around it and you can add a different ingredient for each one, as you make stews there’s a circle that fills up that levels up the stew pot, with each level you get the chance to get a present from one of the crew members. When you get a present it could be a new tool to make the activities you do more efficient or you’ll start getting space upgrades that do things such as expand the limits of your farm or make shortcuts around your camp, the space upgrades are good in theory but they take so many resources to make them that you might want to save them for something else.
It takes a good long while before you get to the combat in Stranded Sails, you have to get all of your crew members settled and happy before the rest of the game can begin and it’s this portion of it where you can make taking care of them less of a priority and start being able to unravel the mystery of the island. You’ll start to get items that allow you to get to places you haven’t been to yet and the danger of the game opens up when you become able to fight pirate ghosts. The ghosts themselves aren’t too much of a problem to deal with, they’re easy to avoid and the little ones can be interrupted while attacking making combat very easy.
Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is quite a fun game and those of you who enjoy Harvest Moon type games should get a lot of enjoyment out of it. It’s very basic looking but it doesn’t detract from the fun in any way, what might do it is that there’s an awful lot of back and forth and it could be enough to put some people off because it can be very tedious. It’s nice to play in short bursts but it can be very limited in that there’s not a lot of freedom other than the farming and exploration, you can do as much of it as you like but you can’t really make anything of it unless you follow the story.
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