Underrated Nintendo Switch games are a dime a dozen. Casual farming games? They have oversaturated the market as gaming has become mainstream for everyone. In 2019, developer Alchemist Interactive and publisher Merge Games worked together to put out Stranded Sails, a survival farming game on the Nintendo Switch. Would we find a paradise of farming and exploration? Keep reading this Stranded Sails review to find out!
Stranded Sails Plot:
Stranded Sails starts at a dock, as a crew of about 10 people are leaving port soon. You play as the Captain’s son and quickly are tasked with various missions to get the boat ready for sea. The people aboard the ship are leaving town for good in search of a better life. Sounds like the pilgrims, but the timeframe seems more like the 1800s.
Once at sea and midway through the journey, a huge storm comes and ravages the ship destroying it. Everyone is washed up upon a few islands that are scattered close by. As the protagonist, it’s your job to round up everyone and look for the survivors. When you find your father, he looks to be in grave danger. He’s badly wounded and needs to be transported to a cabin that was washed ashore.
After turning some of the islands into farm lands and building shelters for the crew, you start to unravel the mystery behind the islands. Running into the Ghost Pirate Captain, you learn he put a curse around the islands that crash any ships that try and sail by. By appeasing him and doing errands for him, he lifts the curse for you and the crew to safely leave the islands after rebuilding your ship.
Stranded Sails Gameplay:
At 20 hours to complete the game, this Stranded Sails review was perfect for my wife who loves casual gaming. It’s a mix of exploration, farming, and some very light combat. Let’s dive a little bit further into this Stranded Sails review for gameplay.
Farming: This aspect of the game is one of the most popular subgenres of gaming. Lovers of Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, or Stardew Valley will feel right at home turning some of the islands in Stranded Sails into production fields for the crew. You’ll be able to grow many different crops by finding seeds throughout the islands and you’ll need to water them to keep them growing. Once the food is ripe, you can make stews with it to power yourself up.
Exploring: This is key to progressing the story. There are various islands to explore each with some secrets or objects for you to do. You can find other crew mates that have washed ashore or find valuable objects to help build shelters. There are also fishing spots and plenty of treasures to find by exploring every corner of the island. Sometimes you’ll run into a monkey and will need to corner it to get a valuable item, other times you may find a crypt where there are ghost pirates which leads to my next aspect of this Stranded Sails review.
Combat: There’s a light element of battling enemies in Stranded Sails. Combat is not challenging and if you know how to move a joystick and swing the sword, you’ll be able to defeat the Ghost Pirates and other enemies. Ghost Pirates can shoot objects at you or attack you in hand-to-hand combat but it’s easy to see their attacks coming and you can restore your health by carrying food around. You will need to defeat pirate ghosts in certain areas to complete an objective or find a key item.
The gameplay for Stranded Sails is as casual as it gets and you’ll be able to progress the story at your pace. If you want to farm the land for 100 hours you’re free to do so but whenever you want to advance the plot you’ll have that option. There’s also a strange decorating aspect to Stranded Sails that involves customizing the shelters for the crewmates. You can pick up hammocks or dressers by building them with the pieces of wood, rope, and other items you find scattered throughout the island.
Stranded Sails looks fine but it’s not going to blow any players away. The style of graphics reminds me a bit of Windwaker but a little more polished. I’m just so used to seeing these types of aesthetics that they’ve lost their touch on me and I associate this style with children’s games. Stranded Sails isn’t a children’s game, but it’s close.
A few years ago, I was researching games to buy my wife for Christmas. She loves her Nintendo Switch and also loves farming games. She’s beaten a handful of Harvest Moon games, but I try and get her outside her comfort zone with other farming simulators. Stranded Sails popped up and I looked into it. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just for kids and that there was some substance to the experience. It didn’t review the best but I know my wife doesn’t care about reviews, so I thought I’d give it a shot and buy it for her.
After Christmas was over, she picked Stranded Sails to play first out of the handful of games that I bought her. She ended up beating it in a week as she couldn’t put it down. She really seemed to enjoy herself, and I was delightedly surprised.
Stranded Sails Review Score:
My wife was able to complete her playthrough of Stranded Sails in 20 hours. The game allows you to move at your own pace giving you the option to play through how you want. There are plenty of small quests for farming, collecting, and building but if you want to advance the plot you’ll need to get into the light combat. It’s a casual game that offers a little bit of everything. It’s a good game for players who just want a chill experience without stress.
Stranded Sails scores a 7.5 out of 10.
What would you write in your Stranded Sails review? What other great farming simulators are out there besides Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Stardew Valley? Is there another game that has a perfect mix of different genres? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Stranded Sails, I’d love to read them.