PREVIEW: Stranded Deep

Another survival game. Yay. We’ve already had a slew of games come out dealing with first-person survival. There’s Rust (from Facepunch, the makers of the ever-popular Garry’s Mod), Minecraft (by Mojang), The Forest (made by the indie Endnight Games), and several others each dealing with a different situation where you have to survive. Out of all of these games, I don’t think any of them having a setting like a tiny sandy island in the middle of the friggin’ ocean. Indie developer Beam Team Games brings a fresher, more natural setting with their upcoming survival simulator Stranded Deep. The game starts with the player on a private jet at night, which serves as the tutorial level and the introduction to crafting by using a few ingredients to make a cocktail on the plane. Soon after, though, a problem with the plane causes it to crash, killing your pilots. Miraculously, you escape the submerging, flaming wreckage onto a life raft. The following morning, you drift within landing distance of your first island, a miniscule sandy beach filled with rock, palm trees, a few fallen sticks, and crab nests. Now, it isn’t the only island because you can see other islands in the far-off distance to paddle to, journeys that take roughly ten minutes to paddle towards as exploration is encouraged. The reason for this is because the resources on your island are very limited, the only exceptions being the yucca bushes for rope lashings (which take roughly ten minutes of real time to regrow, provided you’re still on the same island) and the crab nests, which provide a good source of food provided you cook them first; eating them raw will cause you to get sick and puke.

The crafting system takes experimenting to do, which makes for added realism as you figure out how to build certain items. You can build some simple tools like a crude axe to chop down the trees on the current island or a hammer to construct some basic shelter or the necessary parts for it. The better survival tools can only be discovered, and the various ship wreckages around the islands are great for exploration. In these shipwrecks you can find some neat stuff, including a machete and an actual axe. Both are for easier cutting trees but curiously the machete takes more hits to chop stuff than the crude axe, for some reason (the crude axe takes ten hits to chop a tree; the machete, eleven) Other items you can find are flashlights, torches (the giant flashlights, but neither work because of the water damage), rolls of duct tape, and motor parts. The last of these items allow you to build a motor engine, which can only be attached to a constructed raft (the life boat doesn’t have any attachment points). The motorized raft helps out a lot on travel! travel time is significantly cut down, provided you have a jerrycan (already filled with fuel when you find one) in your inventory for refueling purposes. The motorized raft also helps to avoid the dangers of the deep.

The dangers of island survival are all natural. The main threats to look out for are sharks. The tiger sharks will encroach your position in the water closer to shore, but the real shark danger comes while in transit between islands: the great white. Not only are these things hardy, but if one bites you, it can potentially carry you off a short distance and give you the bleeding status. The life boat doesn’t do much against them because the sharks will circle the boat until they cut in front of your path, flinging the boat away while dumping you in the drink. You can build weapons against them, like the spear, but the sharks are incredibly tough. Killing one, though, has its rewards. Killing a shark causes it to float in the water as you need a cutting tool to butcher it. A butchered shark gives up to four large fillets of meat (two fillets, a fin, and a chunk, when I butchered a tiger shark), which greatly fills your hunger meter when cooked. Other dangers in the water include a zebra fish, which poisons you on contact. You can try to spear it, but as of the latest build it also counts as contact and poisons you. The visual representation of damage you take is beautifully represented. When I played it, I ran into a fairly tense shark fight. Needless to say, I took some hits from the shark but the thing I noticed when I looked at my watch for my vital stats, I noticed I had new cuts and scratches on my arm (nice!). Touching a zebra fish gave me white pustules all over my arm, which I have no idea how to get rid of them, currently. In spite of all this, the game is only in v0.2 at the moment so there’s still a lot of content to come. In the meantime, though, Stranded Deep was fun to play through and when more content comes out, I’ll be sure to check ’em out. Stranded Deep is $14.99 on Steam.

Preview Advice: Bask in It

Realistic dangers of survival | — More content to come | — Finding better survival items in wreckage feels like treasure diving | — Shark hunting is tough but well worth the rewards.


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