Stranded Sails is what happens if you mix Robinson Crusoe with Old MacDonald, farming from necessity as you find yourself washed up on a rather green desert island.
The farming and subsequent using of the food you grow makes up the bulk of the game, with exploring of the island a means to find more recipes or materials to build things with. After building a cooking pot you can gather new recipes and find food to use to cobble together a meal for your fellow islanders. Farming is fairly laid back and quite a fun, if basic experience but creating meals from the ingredients you need to grow and find is far less relaxing as the game doesn’t really hold your hand when it comes to showing you what to cook and how.
Meals remain important throughout the game as they fuel your energy meter. Without food this starts to deplete at an alarming rate and any travel to other destinations becomes hamstrung by this reliance on food. If making meals itself was as easy as just popping a bunch of home grown veg in a pot then this wouldn’t be such as problem, especially if you could then ensure that you stored enough of these in an inventory to carry with you on your journey to provide enough stamina for all the things you needed to do there, but cooking is a right pain and the results really don’t give you as much energy as they should.
Dying will set you right back at the camp which means any travel time will be lost. This was pretty frustrating to me and marred what could have been an interesting laid back adventure. It’s a shame because the rest of the game is quite a pleasant, if basic, town management style affair until you start to discover the real mysteries of the island.
The adventure aspect of the game comes from the mystery in the ‘Explorers of the Cursed Isles’ sub-heading and is a welcome change of pace. It would actually be a great addition to the game if it arrived a little earlier and wasn’t defeated by the energy draining element but if you persevere with this it is at least a little rewarding. You even get to fight some monsters later in the game but getting to this point is a slog.
While the solid farming and adventuring aspects of Stranded Sails are entertaining in their own right the annoying cooking and the subsequent reliance on it for health mar the experience. I’m hoping the developers can perhaps patch the cooking to make it easier or provide much more of a health boost, this would really make Stranded Sails easier to recommend. As it is, though, it’s just okay.