The farming simulator genre is on the rise. And I actually don’t mind this. I adored Stardew Valley! Yonder has its fair share of playtime as well on my account. So obviously, when I heard about what kind of game Stranded Sails was? I jumped to the occasion to try this one out as well! I mean, you’ve got mysteries to uncover, a crew to maintain and a base camp to expand. What could go wrong, right? So did Lemonbomb Entertainment knock this one out of the park? Or was it, just like the ship in this game, a wreck? Let’s find out in our review of Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands!
What we liked!
- Looks absolutely amazing: If anything Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is one of the best-looking farming simulators out there! Its graphics are top-notch for all I could see. The colors are vibrant and the environment is detailed. Everything has its own unique little charm to it and I could not see any sort of graphical distortion anywhere. The way the ocean looks to how each of the different islands has its own appeal? Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is truly a game to bewonder!
- Swaying soundtrack: While the in-game music isn’t diverse? It does makeup itself by the quality of its music. It’s never in your face (or ears) but if you focus on the music, you will hear it. And that’s exactly how it should be in a calming game like this. It doesn’t need to be over the top Michael Bay-style kind of stuff in every game. No, sometimes it’s okay for a game to be minimalistic. And that’s just exactly what it does. During the normal moments, you’ll have the songs just play in the background. For you to notice but not take over the entire experience. While during the combat scenes the music becomes more dominant. Giving you that right amount of adrenaline boost that you deserve!
- Diverse crew: While this is mostly a solo game, you actually have quite a bit of interaction with your supporting crew! Most of the times these NPCs are just throw away characters that you talk to once or twice. But not here. They are actually a part of the regular storyline and have their own say about things. Okay sure when they’re not meant to be interacted with, they’ll constantly spew out the same stuff when you talk to them. But it’s nice of the developer to actually include them more!
- Very Linear: Stranded Sails plays out like a huge rollercoaster ride. It takes you to all sorts of places and it doesn’t sidetrack. I felt as if I was blazing through big chunks of the game, while I was playing it at a feverish pace! And sure that was fun at the start of it, but after a while, it just became a bit more tedious and boring. But, mind you! I enjoyed myself the entire time, I still felt as if I was missing some bumps along the way, something to sidetrack myself from the overall pace of the game. Which actually consists of the following things. Tend to your crops, cook food, go to sleep and then embark on your next story mission. No unforeseen things that could ruin the journey or delay your departure…
- Cooking: And while I’m on the subject of cooking? Another part of the game that is fun at the start but then just teeters off the longer you play it? It just has to be the cooking part. With every new ingredient that you find, you’ll also increase the number of dishes that you can cook. But these aren’t automatically learned. No no, you’ve got to discover them. You do this by placing different ingredients in the pot and trying to discover the meal. If you’ve got the right ingredient in the right place (because, yes, they HAVE to be in the right spot!)? You’ll get a green checkmark. If you’ve got the right ingredient, but you need to move it around, you’ll get the turn around symbol. And if it’s not correct? A red X. It’s up to you to find out which one is what and replace them where necessary. And this would be fine… If there weren’t 4 ingredient meals. That’s a lot, and I really mean A LOT of jumbling ingredients around. Fun at the beginning, tedious and annoying when you’re at the end game!
- Stamina: Your first few hours of Stranded Sails will have you sleeping very often. This is because there aren’t a lot of things you can cook yet, and what you can cook? It doesn’t replenish a lot of energy at all. Add to this that you can’t really hold a lot of meals in your pack yet? And you’ll understand why you’ll spend a lot of days just sleeping in, in-game. Stamina is used for everything. Walking, tending to the crops, chopping wood,… So much so, that I had a set plan. First do my crops, rest, and from there go chop some wood. Return, rest again, go to the crops… Making Stranded Sails a sleeping simulator instead of a farming one! Though you’ll unlock stuff that makes your daily tasks less Stamina intensive, it will still take you a while before you get these unlocks.
What we disliked
- Nothing: There is actually nothing bad that I can say about Stranded Sails. It’s just that good! If you were into stardew or anything else that resembles this? Then you’d be wrong to let this one pass!
Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands is an amazing game! It looks beautiful, the gameplay is smooth and very straightforward and it just takes a break from games that otherwise rush you through everything. You can really play this game at your own pace. Don’t feel like continuing the story? Then go ahead and just be the happy farmer/fisherman you always wanted to be. I know that I did! I spent hours just farming away, growing my yard and getting as much of the upgrades that I could. So if you’re looking for that next Stardew Valley to complete your collection? Then be sure to give this one a try!