Enlarge / Raft is developed by Redbeet Interactive and printed by Axolot Video games.Redbeet Interactive
My co-op gaming group has logged a number of hundred further hours in Deep Rock Galactic since I wrote about it a 12 months and a half in the past, however we’re at all times in search of one other recreation to fall in love with.
We have tried a bunch of issues within the final 12 months, guided by a mix of optimistic opinions and “no matter is on sale in Steam on the time.” We have logged time in Again 4 Blood, Payday 2, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Sea of Thieves, Diablo III, Threat of Rain 2, and Borderlands 3, and every has had its charms. However the one which has caught with me essentially the most known as Raft, a recreation about constructing a raft.
Raft is not new—it went into Early Entry in 2018—however its formal 1.0 launch occurred this previous June. The pitch: You start the sport drifting throughout an countless ocean on a tiny picket raft cobbled collectively from flotsam and jetsam. Armed with solely a trusty throwable plastic hook, it’s essential to comb the ocean for planks, plastic, and different bits of scrap that you need to use to broaden your raft and keep alive. And when you’re now not in fixed hazard of ravenous to dying (and as soon as you possibly can steer your raft as an alternative of simply letting it drift), you possibly can start crusing to the world’s remaining islands to determine what occurred to everybody else.
Enlarge / Bits of trash dot the water round you—from these, your empire might be painstakingly constructed.Andrew Cunningham
The surest signal that you will like Raft is for those who like Minecraft (or if you wish to like Minecraft however discover its basic aimlessness irritating as an alternative of liberating). Constructing is all accomplished on a grid system, you are consistently combining and recombining supplies to construct and enhance your instruments, and the best way the sport steadily advances from an early survival-horror section to a extra free-form building-and-exploration section is distinctly Minecraft-y. The sport contains fight, and what’s right here feels high quality (it flows a lot higher than the clunky, boring fight in Sea of Thieves), nevertheless it’s all subordinate to constructing, exploring, and useful resource gathering.
Enlarge / The crafting UI and stock administration are dense and sort of clunky, in a (principally) endearing, Minecraft-meets-Animal Crossing sort of method. Andrew Cunningham
Within the early recreation, you may be pushed nearly solely by starvation and thirst. The 2 meters are ticking down on a regular basis, and ravenous or dehydrating will sluggish you down and finally sap your well being till you die (you possibly can at all times revive or respawn, however the former requires a teammate to haul you to a mattress in your raft and the latter comes at the price of 2/3 of your stock at regular issue). Additional complication circles you within the type of an aggressive and omnipresent shark, which is at all times able to chew you for those who hop within the water (or to take a chew out of your raft, for those who’re out of its attain).
You can play solo, however the recreation is much less intimidating with buddies—it means extra mouths to feed, however you additionally needn’t cease amassing treasured planks and palm leaves so you possibly can take a break to fish or refill your water desalinization rig. There are not any particular character lessons, however there’s sufficient to do this you and as much as three of your mates can discover a distinct lane relying on what you want essentially the most. I focus totally on precise raft development and caring for our steadily rising menagerie of domesticated animals, whereas others in our group desire navigating, amassing meals and supplies, and advancing the sport’s tech tree.