The Earth’s land has sunk. The ocean has swallowed everything. You must survive, starting with only four pieces of wood, floating in the ocean’s breeze, drifting. The ocean is littered with wood, palm tree leaves, and plastic. With these items you can grow your raft. Find small islands to gather food, then plant your own. Raft is simple and relaxing, and does have a story if you look for it. The game left Early Access last month (June of 2022).
Story and Mechanics
Crafting is not overly complex, and rather easy. If you don’t want the hassle of dealing with the shark constantly, you can play in peaceful mode. This has the shark swimming around, but never attacking you. In the other game modes, if you fall into the water, the shark will attack. Better hope the shark is far enough away to give you time to jump back aboard.
If you just want to build, they’ve got a Creative Mode just for that. In this mode, the raft doesn’t move, you never see land, and the story can’t be started.
Speaking of story, this was a major problem. The story only starts once you build a receiver and THREE antennas. The fact that you need three is not immediately obvious. The game does not tell you and neither does crafting one of each, until you look at the bottom of the receiver. There you can see three slots. No matter where you place the first antenna, it connects to the first slot. Not only do you need three antennas, but all four items have to be on at least the second floor. Otherwise the receiver will constantly say “need higher altitude” when turned on. On top of that, they need to be so many squares apart.
Once the story does start, it is quite the story. It begins at the Radio Tower, where you hear about what happened to Earth through several transmissions that come through from various places. A “mayday” on a boat, a call for help from a group of rafters who settled down on land, rumors of a place called Utopia. At each of the story locations you find blueprints that expand your raft and introduce new ways for you to survive.
The research table is a great start to the game. It shows you what kind of materials to research to unlock various survival items to continue in the world. The hardest part of the game is keeping up with the raft, the plants, and so on. Thankfully, that’s where your friends come in! You can have up to eight players on one server, making good on keeping up with food, collecting materials in the ocean, and navigating.
There is one location that people say should not be done alone. While a crew is best for this, you can solo it.
The graphics are great. The water-to-raft physics are a bit off once your raft grows close to 100 blocks. The storms don’t affect gameplay, but are well done in sound and visuals. I personally wish they’d included lightning. The animals seem to function well – be careful of the bears and the warthog. The details are plenty but not overly done. Aside from the waves and the flags, nothing really “blows” in the wind. The game is not that graphics-intensive, so you don’t need a top-of-the-line graphics card to play.
Overall I enjoy crafting, building, and playing this game. I do tend to lose track of time playing as the drifting can take a long time to get from place to place. Once I got the engine, I didn’t have to drift and paddle anymore. Not being able to experience the story in Creative Mode made me disappointed. I hope you pick up the game and enjoy it. Comment if you’ve finished the storyline solo!