Sink or Swim with “Raft Download”
As survival games grow in popularity their worlds seem to grow more niche. “Raft” places the nameless, story less character on four pallets in the midst of a misty sea with nothing but a hook on a string.
The player must keep himself hydrated and well fed whilst avoiding attacks from the stalker of a great white who never strays far from the raft. This is accomplished by collecting the infinite garbage, which floats by to assemble all manner of devices; from water purifiers to spears. (for shark defenses!)
The learning curve is steep, with no directions or tutorials the controls must be figured out quickly, because the castaway’s thirst is voracious. I died a few times before button mashing the keyboard in frustration. After stumbling upon the crafting and inventory menu I rushed to improve my living conditions before time wore me down.
Progressing Through The Game – What You Can Expect
Once the player gets their sea legs, with nets trawling, halibut cooking, and even palm trees growing, the focus of the game shifts from survival to construction. The feel is like playing a first person Sims game with limited driftwood and thatch building options and the ever-looming threat of a shark attack.
Pallets of raft are added to the “foundation” and then with pillars and ramps our little cast away can live large on a Multi-Decker raft that defies physics in its continued buoyancy and balance. That is not to say the danger ever subsides! For example, I was backing up from my second floor potato garden and fell into my first level garbage nets where I couldn’t swim or jump back onto my raft. Within second the shark was on me and I lost everything in his gnashing teeth. The player runs the risk of absent-mindedly starving to death as the baser physiological and safety needs are replaced with a newfound passion for carpentry.
My Thoughts On The Game
The game is a fun and simple little sandbox of your own construction. My only issue is that once you reach a level of self-sufficiency, and your watercraft is the size of Trump Towers, there is nothing left to accomplish. Without a story or achievements to unlock, your accomplishments feel empty. For though the castaway may live forever on his luxury raft there is no hope of a rescue or any human contact in their future. They live on for fear of dying and nothing more, compulsively eating cooked shark meat and drinking coconut milk without hope of change.
Do they not also need love and companionship on their way to self-actualization? All the while the shark is kept at bay, but never out of sight like some inner demon you pretend you’re not obsessing over while at dinner parties. The game feels like a sort of purgatory or dream for the castaway, where nothing is proven but his resistance to his own demise.
But the game is still in development, and the developers may take this pyramid of Maslowian needs wherever the currents guide them. Give raft download a try, it’s worth a play.