Spotlight: Stranded Sails

Spotlight: Stranded Sails

Stranded Sails is a life sim developed by Lemonbomb Entertainment and published by Merge Games. Like a handful of previously released and upcoming games, you wake up shipwrecked on an island and have to make a home there for the time being while finding crew members and unlocking new things along the way.

Stranded Sails has all the types of management you expect from an island-based life sim, meaning you have to eat or sleep to keep your energy up, find seeds and develop farmland so you can plant and harvest food. The first thing you have to do after learning the basic walking and talking controls is climb the ship to open the sails. This was where the first problem came in. For some reason, you had to climb up to the sails using the ropes but only at a certain angle, otherwise, you’ll constantly jump on and off. The slow walking and running cycles doesn’t make this simple task any easier either. Once you finally set sail, you’re soon shipwrecked on an Island, not knowing where your crew members are. As you explore the island, you find various crew members that assign you with different tasks after they’re found, but you’re typically only doing one task at a time due to the lack of needed items and the slow pace. Stranded Sails really doesn’t mind taking its time, which some may find more relaxing, particularly in comparison to the beginning of Stardew Valley, while others will just wish everything could happen faster.

As you complete these tasks, you gain different items to help. Unfortunately, item selection isn’t as easy as in similar titles. There are different wheels you have to select from for each item, and while this sounds relatively normal, the controls for it are much more finicky, so you more often than not find yourself selecting an item when you don’t need it. I’m guessing these types of controls work better on mobile devices, and since Stranded Sails is multiplatform, I’m not too surprised they kept the controls the same for all versions.

As I mentioned earlier, eating and sleeping is necessary to gain energy. You lose energy when you walk and lose it even faster when you run. Different types of food restore different amounts of energy, so it’s best to have some variety in your diet. Having food is essential when completing tasks around the island if you don’t want to be interrupted. If you run out of energy, you’ll wake up in your bed and will have to get back to whatever you had been doing previously. Sleeping completely restores your energy, so if you’re close enough to a bed and low on food it’s a decent alternative, but having food on your person is still a better option overall.

To build things, you don’t need as many as supplies as in other titles. Building a house only requires a couple of planks of wood, rather than several different types of wood and various other supplies. Some may think this is too simple, while others may appreciate how much faster building is. It almost manages to make up for the slow pace of everything else, but unfortunately doesn’t quite succeed.

 

The graphical style, while not hideous, is semi-reminiscent of Playmobil toys, but with a bit less charm. Again, I’d chalk it up to be released on multiple platforms and not having the optimization or budget that other games in the genre might. Nothing too offensive, but also not all that notable, so I feel like most interested in playing Stranded Sails won’t mind. The music is similarly unremarkable, and I’d much rather listen to another soundtrack or a podcast.

Overall, Stranded Sails doesn’t do much to separate itself from other games in the genre. While it is more easily available than those other games, its flaws might be what deter most from playing it. It would probably be best recommended for younger players due to its simplicity and slow pace.

Stranded Sails is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC via Steam, and iOS devices.

A code was provided by the publisher.

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